Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Missing Emmett Till Trial Transcript

Sep 8, 2005 1:59 pm

The Missing Emmett Till Trial Transcript

The Greenwood Commonwealth has a fascinating story on the missing transcript from the trial of Emmett Till's accused killers, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant (shown above with their wives). While it would be great it the transcript of the trial was found, I don't think it would fundamentally change our understanding of the case.

The trial testimony was widely reported at the time in both black and white newspapers. The main benefit of an official transcript is that it might reconcile some contradictions, and perhaps fill in a few gaps, in the original newspaper reports. I doubt that it would lead to any major revisions, however.

My wife (and co-author) Linda Royster Beito and I were able to make good use of these newspaper accounts for our recent articles on a possible conspiracy in the murder of Emmett Till. See here for our original article and here for our critique of the recent, and very flawed,"60 Minutes" report. This research will appear in our upcoming book on the life of civil rights leader, T.R.M. Howard.

Many thanks to David Holmberg for calling this to my attention.

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David T. Beito - 9/7/2005

I'll send Devery a note on this. Thanks for calling this to my attention.

Cecelia Nora Joyce - 9/7/2005

I have been reading through the resources and articles as well as personal insights on offer on Devery Anderson's website on the murder of Emmett Till. I was very interested in the impressive amount of information he has put within our reach, but have been brought to a distressing hault in my research on that site. Each time I have tried to access the website at
in the last few days, I have only succeeded in bringing up an entirely different website from the one mentioned above, and indeed one that, although it has the title, has nothing to do with the case. Is there anything I can do to continue viewing the original site? I would be obliged if anybody could shed some light on my failure to continue being able to avail of this invaluable source.

David Timothy Beito - 3/19/2005

Devery Anderson has single-handedly done more to publicize this case than just about anyone else. His website is an essential resource on the case which shows diligent research:

Devery Scott Anderson - 3/19/2005

I had always wanted to get a hold of the trial transcript because most of the newspaper accounts of the trial to not mention all of the witnesses for each side. Finally, I found the names--mentioned in only one paper that covered the trial--of the five "minor witnesses" who served as charater witnesses for Milam and Bryant. I have posted them on my website,, if anyone is interested. I am adding to my site and have just updated my who's who page. I have some interesting facts about Roy Bryant. I have also added photos of Money and Sumner today (I was there in February), as well as having added Bryant and Milam's obituaries and photos of their graves. I am making some more corrections and will be adding more stuff over the next few days, including more articles from the 50s. Check it out, and if anyone has any idea on how to get the site to move up to the top of Google, let me know. I want to have everything up and running before the 50th anniversary of the case in August.

Stephanie L Wright - 2/25/2005

i am glad that they are re-opening the case.I happy they are contacting Carolyn Donham & Frank Bryant.