The building may now be turned into a museum.
On January 27, 2021, Chicago’s City Council voted to designate the Woodlawn home where Emmett Till lived as a landmark. The property, known as The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House, was built at 6247 S. Street Lawrence Avenue in 1895 and is now owned by Blacks In Green.
Blacks In Green is a nonprofit organization that serves as “a bridge and catalyst” to develop self-sustaining, mixed-income, walkable-villages in communities owned and populated by African Americans. After purchasing the South Side home in October 2021, the organization worked with Till’s family to see that the building was granted landmark recognition.
Now, with the building protected from demolition or alterations, they aim to develop a museum, theater, and programs on the site.
14-year-old African American Emmett Till lived on the second floor with his mother Mamie Till-Mobley while his cousins and uncle lived on the first floor of the Woodlawn home. Born and raised in Chicago, Till and the family traveled to visit family members in Mississipi in 1955 where Emmett Till was tortured and murdered on August 28.
A 21-year-old white woman by the name of Carolyn Bryant accused Till of flirting with her in a Mississipi grocery store. Despite Bryant’s testimony being ruled inadmissible by a judge, the woman’s husband and brother beat and killed Till four days later before throwing his body in Mississipi’s Tallahatchie River from where he was later retrieved.
The brutality of young Emmett Till’s murder, and the acquittal of the two men who later, protected against double jeopardy, admitted to killing him, became a symbol of the injustices suffered by blacks in the United States. Emmett Till’s mother insisted on an open-casket funeral to show the world what had happened to Emmett Till which helped spark the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
Jeanette Taylor, the alderman of Chicago’s 20th ward, said that assigning the Emmett Till house with landmark status is important in preserving African American history that is often forgotten about and marks a key moment in Black history.
Blacks In Green founder and CEO, Naomi Davis, stated that this will allow Chicagoans to “celebrate Black History Month with this greatest of African American icons at the forefront.”
[Featured Image from Twitter / @wttw]