Key DOI Staff Tour Civil Rights Sites in Illinois, Including Till Legacy Sites

May 12, 2022

On Tuesday, May 10, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Shannon Estenoz toured several sites in Illinois that honor individuals and events that advanced the Civil Rights Movement. This visit continues the effort to tell a fuller story of the struggle for civil rights in America, building on Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Assistant Secretary Estenoz’s visit earlier this year to several sites and communities in Mississippi.

As part of her trip, Assistant Secretary Estenoz visited sites associated with the lives of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, where she met with Till relatives, historians, local and state historic preservation advocates, and other community leaders working to preserve those sites. The National Trust’s African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund team, the Till Institute, National Park Conservation Association, and the Emmett Till Interpretive Center were part of these meetings and discussed the shared mission to tell America’s full story.

Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) joined Assistant Secretary Estenoz during her visit to Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ (listed on the National Trust’s list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2020) on Chicago’s South Side. Bipartisan legislation is pending in Congress to designate Roberts Temple, a City of Chicago Landmark, as a unit of the National Park System. The delegation continued its tour by visiting the Emmett and Mamie Till Mobley House, Burr Oak Cemetery, and sites associated with the Till family in Summit, Illinois.

The Emmett Till Interpretive Center, in partnership with the Till family, launched an Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Park Campaign in March 2021 to support the creation of a National Park with multiple sites across the Mississippi Delta and at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago. To learn more about the Till National Park Campaign, visit TillNationalPark.org.

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