A Denison Texas teen admitted to making a false rape claim. Eighteen-year-old Breana Talbott entered a Denison police station, bloodied, bruised and wearing only a bra, underwear and a tee shirt. She claimed she was raped by three black men. Talbott was reported missing by her fiance after her car was found abandoned in a park. After an intense investigation the teen admitted to lying about the rape.
This story reminds me of the Emmett Till case. Till was a 14 year old black kid from Chicago who went to Money, Mississippi during summer vacation to visit family. Till went to a local grocery store and made the fatal error of speaking to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, the married proprietor of the grocery store. Several nights later, Bryant’s husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam went armed to Till’s great-uncle’s house and abducted the boy. They took him away and beat and mutilated him before fatally shooting him and sinking his body in the Tallahatchie River. Three days later, Till’s body was discovered and retrieved from the river. Roy Bryant and Milam were acquitted by an all white jury after just one hour of deliberation. Till’s body was returned to Chicago for burial. Till’s mother, Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley, refused to have a closed casket funeral because she wanted the world to see what the men had done to her son. The Till case played a defining role in the civil rights movement.
Just two weeks ago Carolyn Bryant now well into her 80’s, admitted that it was all a lie. Carolyn Bryant Donham, spoke to Timothy B. Tyson, a Duke University professor — possibly the only interview she has given to a historian or journalist since shortly after the episode — who has written a book, “The Blood of Emmett Till,” to be published next week. Bryant- Donham expressed sorrow for her role in Till’s death and said, “Nothing Emmett did deserved what happened to him.”
In the Talbott case we can be thankful that she didn’t accuse three random black men of a false crime like in the case of Emmett Till, but it serves as a reminder that certain regions of America haven’t resolved and evolved the issue of race.