“The South Side house of Emmett Till, whose brutal murder helped spark the civil rights movement, has taken key steps toward becoming an official city landmark and a museum.
“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks on Thursday unanimously approved a recommendation to the City Council that the house, at 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave., be granted landmark status. That would protect it from demolition or insensitive alterations.
“Separately, a local nonprofit seeking to turn the house into a museum confirmed Friday that it has purchased the property. The house will become an ‘international heritage/pilgrimage destination,’ said the group’s leader, Naomi Davis.
“Built in 1895 in the West Woodlawn neighborhood, the two-flat was the home of Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, before he traveled to Mississippi in the summer of 1955 to visit relatives. The 14-year-old was tortured and murdered Aug. 28, 1955, for allegedly whistling at a white woman at a convenience store. Till’s mother chose an open-casket funeral at a South Side church to show mourners and the world the horror and violence her son endured.
“Concern about the house, officially known as the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House, rose in September when the landmarks commission voted to give it preliminary protected status.
“Preservationists expressed fear that the house’s then-owner, real estate developer Blake McCreight of Chicago’s BMW Properties might demolish the property or dramatically alter it, destroying its historic value. McCreight buys distressed properties and sells them to investors that want rental income, according to his website.
“Blacks in Green has taken an active role in celebrating African American history in Chicago. It already owns a nearby parcel at 6354 S. St. Lawrence, home to the Mamie Till-Mobley Forgiveness Garden, and could acquire land to the north of the Till house as part of the museum’s campus, Davis said.
“Davis said it will take millions of dollars to convert the house, which she said had a string of building code violations and was occupied by squatters, into a museum. ‘We’re undaunted,’ she said. “We’re absolutely confident we’ll be able to raise the funds.”
“Blacks in Green has consented to landmark designation for the house, said Ward Miller, executive director of the advocacy group Preservation Chicago. (Kamin, 11/6/20)
Preservation Chicago has been advocating for the Chicago Landmark Designation of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley home since 2006. More recently, in 2017 we led another push for landmark designation. We’re thrilled that, after all these years of advocacy, the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley home will be landmarked. Preservation Chicago played an essential role in coordinating all the stakeholders and ensuring that all the pieces were in place to allow the process to successfully move forward. A special thanks to Naomi Davis of Blacks in Green, 20th Ward Alderman Jeanette Taylor, Maurice Cox Commissioner of Chicago Planning and Development, and the Chicago Landmarks Division Staff. Additional thanks to Mary Lu Seidel and Jonathan Solomon for researching and writing the outstanding Chicago Landmark Designation report.
Read the full column at the Chicago Tribune.
Column: Emmett Till house makes strides toward becoming an official city landmark and a museum, Bliar Kamin, Chicago Tribune, 11/6/20
Emmett Till home, under new ownership, passes landmarks commission, Christian Belanger, Hyde Park Herald, 11/5/20
65 years after Emmett Till murder, his family urges landmark status for Woodlawn home; Preservationists and the family of Emmett Till are urging landmark status for the Woodlawn home where the teen lived before a visit to family Down South ended with his brutal lynching on Aug. 28, 1955 — for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The home has many building code violations, has changed hands several times in recent years and now is believed to be vacant, Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times, 8/27/20
Emmett Till’s childhood home granted preliminary landmark status; The Commission on Chicago Landmarks granted preliminary landmark status Thursday to the home of Emmett Till, at 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave. in Woodlawn, Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times, 9/3/20
Emmett Till’s house gets landmark panel OK; The next step: Chicago’s City Council, Dennis Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 9/3/20
Commission on Chicago Landmarks to weigh designation for Emmett Till childhood home; Preservationists and the family of Emmett Till are a step closer in efforts to landmark the Woodlawn home where the teen lived before the trip Down South that ended with his brutal lynching on Aug. 28, 1955. The alderman wrote a letter supporting the designation, which Thursday goes before the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times, 8/31/20
Emmett Till’s home, a launching pad for the civil rights movement, deserves landmark status, Landmark status would further honor Emmett and Mamie Till’s tragic but critical role in American history, Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, 9/1/20
Column: Emmett Till House takes first step toward landmark status as questions are raised about its future, Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune, 9/3/20
Emmett Till’s Chicago Home Given A Preliminary Landmark Status, Carlie Porterfield, Forbes, 9/3/20
A ‘small but necessary step’: Emmett Till’s Chicago home granted preliminary landmark status, Grace Hauck, USA Today, 9/3/20
Column: Emmett Till house poised to take first step toward official landmark status, Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune, 9/1/20
Emmett Till’s Family Home Given Preliminary Landmark Status, Patty Wetli, WTTW Chicago, 9/3/20
Vision for Emmett Till’s Woodlawn Home Goes Beyond Landmark Status, AJ LaTrace, WTTW Chicago, 8/29/20
Emmett Till House Moves One Step Closer To Landmark Status; The home at 6427 S. St. Lawrence is where Till lived with his family at the time he was killed in Mississippi in 1955, Bob Chiarito, Block Club Chicago, 9/3/20
Groups renew push to landmark Emmett Till’s Woodlawn home, as Taylor says she will support effort, Christian Belanger, Hyde Park Herald, 8/10/20
Commission Board to vote on Emmett Till’s Woodlawn home becoming Chicago Landmark, Karen Jordan, ABC 7 Chicago, 9/3/20
A Matter of Urgency; Preservationists push for the landmarking of Emmett Till’s Chicago home, Matt Hickman, The Architect’s Newspaper, 8/31/20