The tragically short life of Emmett Till became a tipping point for the Civil Rights Movement, and his enduring legacy serves as a reminder not much as changed in America. However, the nation will recognize the church that held his funeral will be listed as one of the Most Endangered Historic Places in the United States.
According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, the Roberts Temple Church of God In Christ in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood was the site of Till’s funeral, with the 14-year-old’s badly beaten and bloated body on display for the world to see the horrific crime and shame his murderers publicly. According to lore, it was a three-day event that was attended by thousands and received national media recognition.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation added the church to 11 nationwide sites, which 95 percent have been officially restored near to their former glory and now serving as historic sites.
From the Sun-Times:
The endangered list ranges from the Alazan-Apache Courts public housing development for a Mexican-American community in San Antonio, Texas, to Harada House in Riverside, California, owned by a Japanese family forcibly incarcerated in Japanese Internment Camps in 1942; to the historical capital of the Monacan Indian Nation in Columbia, Virginia, Rassawek.
“Mamie Till Mobley’s courage — and Roberts Temple’s willingness to open its doors to anyone who wanted to bear witness to the ravages of racial hatred — changed our nation forever. The National Trust believes that we must work together to ensure that this place, so important to our country’s history, is preserved to tell its powerful story for future generations,” said the Trust’s Chief Preservation Officer Katherine Malone-France.
The outlet also spoke to Till’s cousin, the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., now 81, and is the last living witness to the crime that took Till’s life.
““His mother’s wishes and dream was, ‘I hope he didn’t die in vain. I hope he didn’t die in vain.’ Mamie asked me to carry on, along with my wife, the legacy of her son, and I just thank God that I was able to do that,” Rev. Parker said of Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley.