The former home of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, cleared the final hurdle in a bid for landmark status Wednesday, when the proposal received approval from the Chicago City Council.
The red brick two-flat, at 6427 South St. Lawrence Ave., is now protected from demolition and any significant changes to its exterior.
The Tills were living in the Woodlawn home when Emmett traveled with extended family from Chicago to visit relatives in Mississippi, where he was savagely murdered in 1955. Till-Mobley’s decision to hold an open casket funeral to show the world the violence her son had suffered galvanized the civil rights movement in the U.S.
Till-Mobley continued to live at the St. Lawrence Avenue house until 1962.
Speaking during Wednesday’s City Council proceedings, Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th Ward) said it was important for the city and the country to acknowledge the brutality perpetrated on Black people.
“We will repeat history if we don’t address it,” Taylor said.
Despite the importance of the Till home — preservationists have characterized the Till-Mobley house as “modest architecturally, but of monumental historic and memorial significance” — the building fell into increasing disrepair as the decades passed, racking up numerous building code violations.
In the midst of the landmarking process, it was announced that the home had been purchased from a developer by the nonprofit organization Blacks in Green.
Naomi Davis, founder and CEO of Blacks in Green, previously told WTTW News that ownership of the building represents “more than a real estate transaction.” It’s the realization of a dream years in the making, the impact of which will be felt by generations to come.
Her plan is to transform the property into an international heritage pilgrimage site, one that will lift up the story of the Great Migration as told through the lens of the Till-Mobley family.
Heather Cherone contributed to this report.
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