“Blacks in Green, a Woodlawn-based environmental and community revitalization nonprofit, has received a $150,000 grant from an African American history preservation fund as it seeks to transform the two-flat where Emmett Till lived into a West Woodlawn community space.
“The home, 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave., became a Chicago landmark last year. Blacks in Green bought it in 2020; Executive Director Naomi Davis told the Tribune the plan is to open it in 2025, when the Obama Presidential Center opens in Jackson Park.
“In 1955, the 14-year-old Till’s brutal murder in Mississippi was a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement, galvanizing opposition to Jim Crow, especially after Till’s mother, Mamie Till, insisted on having an open casket funeral for her son in Bronzeville to exhibit the barbarity of his lynching.
“Davis told the Tribune that the goal is for the in-need-of-repairs Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House to be “an international heritage pilgrimage destination.” With the grant, a project director position will be created within Blacks in Green to guide the home’s restoration, as well as focus on programming projects for once the museum opens.
“The grant was awarded by the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, a project of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This year the fund awarded more than $3 million to 33 historic sites and cultural organizations nationwide.
“The National Trust has granted money to several Black South Side cultural attractions in recent years, including the planned Mojo Museum at Muddy Waters’ North Kenwood Home, 4339 S. Lake Park Ave., the Sweetwater Foundation in Washington Park, 5749 S. Perry Ave., the South Side Community Arts Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave., and The Forum theater, 318 E. 43rd St.” (Monaghan, Hyde Park Herald, 7/19/22)
We’re thrilled, after all these years of advocacy, that the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley home is protected with a Chicago Landmark Designation and that the museum reuse project is gaining momentum. 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.
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 continue to actively support of the effort, including testimony to help secure Adopt-a-Landmark funding for renovation.
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.
Emmett Till childhood home now an official city landmark; The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House in West Woodlawn became an official Chicago landmark after an expedited City Council vote Wednesday. It culminates years-long efforts to landmark the home of the teen whose 1955 lynching sparked the Civil Rights Movement, Maudlyne Ihejirika, Chicago Sun-Times, 1/27/21
Landmark Designation Report, Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House, 6427 S. St. Lawrence Avenue, November 5, 2020, City of Chicago. Research and writing by Mary Lu Seidel, Preservation Chicago; and Jonathan Solomon, Architect, Associate Professor, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (volunteers) & Matt Crawford, City of Chicago (Project Manager)
Emmett Till’s Former Home, Now A Chicago Landmark, Will Become A Museum; Till’s brutal death at the hands of white supremacists helped spark the Civil Rights Movement. The Woodlawn home where he lived with his mother was designated a Chicago landmark Wednesday, Maxwell Evans, Block Club Chicago, 1/27/21