June 22, 2024

Emmett Till’s childhood home among finalists for Adopt-A-Landmark grant

Earlier this year, the Chicago home of Emmett Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, was designated as a landmark. Now, the historic estate where the teenager lived before his death could receive massive renovation funding.

Planning department officials announced Monday that the city’s Adopt-A-Landmark fund has tentatively awarded the owners of 12 Chicago landmarks more than $4 million to help spruce up their properties, Block Club Chicago reports.

Plywood covers windows on the first floor of the two-flat building where Mamie Till-Mobley and her son, Emmett Till, lived in Chicago, Illinois, before Till’s brutal murder in Money, Mississippi, in the summer of 1955. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“Whether it’s for a house of worship, a corner commercial building or a neighborhood tavern, the grants will help preserve these structures for generations of neighborhood residents to come,” planning Commissioner Maurice Cox said in a statement.

Till’s Woodlawn home, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church and the Muddy Waters House are among the list of finalists selected from 16 applications. The funds aim to cover “exterior renovations that are visible from the street or interior renovations that are publicly accessible,” the outlet writes.

Per the report, the full list of finalists and their grant amounts are: 

The finalists will be presented to the city’s landmarks commission on Dec. 2. The City Council must approve grants of $250,000 or more.

The grants are funded by downtown developers through the Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus program, with 10% of the payments put toward Adopt-A-Landmark grants, according to the report.

The home on South St. Lawrence Avenue is where Till lived with his mother before he traveled to Money, Mississippi, that fateful 1955 summer to visit relatives. He was lynched after reportedly whistling at a white woman, a heinous murder that sparked America’s civil rights movement because of Till-Mobley’s decision to hold an open-casket funeral to expose the brutality of the crime. 

Till’s home, the brick two-family flat located in West Woodlawn, will ultimately be converted into a museum, theGrio reported

Previous restoration efforts had often stalled. The building was purchased in 2019 by a developer who had no knowledge of its history. Blacks in Green, a nonprofit, purchased the building from the developer in October. 

“Achieving landmark status for the Till-Mobley House is an important step in recognizing that Black cultural heritage sites long overlooked by the city are a vital part of Chicago’s past, present and future,” Naomi Davis, founder and chief executive officer of Blacks in Green, the building’s nonprofit owner, told The Chicago Sun-Times back in January. 

This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Biba Adams.

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