The South Side church where the 1955 funeral and visitation for Emmett Till was held has been named to a list of the most endangered places in America.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation puts out a new list each year, highlighting the places that shaped the nation that are also in danger of disappearing. This year’s list has locations from Alaska to Puerto Rico, and includes the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ at 4021 South State Street in Bronzeville.
The congressionally-chartered non-profit explains the location’s importance:
The funeral and extended visitation for Emmett Till held September 3-6, 1955, at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ were pivotal events in American history. Mamie Till-Mobley’s insistence on an open casket funeral at Roberts Temple—allowing mourners to see the condition of her 14-year-old son’s body, brutally murdered in Mississippi after being accused of whistling at a white woman—appalled and angered the thousands who waited in long lines to pay their respects, and helped catalyze the Civil Rights movement.
We last wrote about the Roberts Temple almost a year ago, when it became eligible for preservation grants from National Fund for Sacred Places. The recent listing by the National Trust helps bring more attention to its plight. According to the New York Times, “less than 5 percent of the listed sites have been lost.”
Earlier this month, Emmett Till’s home at 6427 South Saint Lawrence Avenue in the Woodlawn Neighborhood was granted preliminary landmark status by the Chicago Commission on Landmarks.