This month, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced legislation (S. 795) that would establish Chicago’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ as a national historic site in the National Park System. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) joined as original cosponsors. Civil rights activist Mamie Till Mobley was a member of Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, which was the location of the historic funeral of her 14-year-old son who was brutally murdered in August 1955 during a visit to Money, Mississippi for offending a white woman in a country store. The death of Till and his subsequent open-casket funeral, attended by tens of thousands of people, became a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
The National Trust placed Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ on its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2020 and has provided grants and technical assistance to restore and preserve the site. The Trust will continue our work at this historic location in partnership with members of the Till and Roberts families, The Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Latham & Watkins LLP pro bono program, and other interests committed to the longevity of this historic landmark.