Miss. Senators Sponsor Bill to Establish Till’s Funeral Location as a National Historic Site
U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., on Wednesday joined Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth to introduce legislation that would establish Chicago’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, the site of Emmett Till’s funeral in 1955, as a national historic site.
“I am pleased to support this legislation directing the National Park Service to establish the Roberts Temple Church of God as a national historic site,” Wicker said. “Emmett Till’s murder and the courage of Mamie Till-Mobley roused people of goodwill to action, leading to one of the most significant movements in American history. This commemoration would help preserve the Till family’s legacy for future generations.”
“Bestowing historic landmark status on Chicago’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ represents a great honor for the Till-Mobley family. This designation will help build on work to ensure the atrocities done to Emmitt Till, his family’s heartbreaking story, and their importance to the Civil Rights Movement is not ever forgotten,” Hyde-Smith said.
“The Emmett Till Interpretive Center wants to thank Senator Wicker and Senator Hyde-Smith for their support of an Emmett Till and Mamie Till Historic Site. Working together with the Till family, we hope to save and preserve sites in Chicago and the Mississippi Delta,” said Patrick Weems, Executive Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center.
Till, a Chicago native, was violently murdered in the Mississippi Delta in 1955. His mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, insisted on a public funeral with a glass-topped open casket for her son, so the world could see his mutilated body. Thousands attended the service, which became a turning point for the civil rights movement.
Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley, and Roberts Temple National Historic Site Act (S.795) would establish the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ as a historic site managed by the U.S. National Park Service. The bill also includes provisions to stabilize and restore the structure, which was included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2020 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
This legislation is another step in expanding Emmett Till’s story across the country. Currently, the National Park Service is conducting a Special Resource Study of Mississippi sites that contribute to Emmett Till’s legacy and the civil rights movement. This study is expected to be completed later this year.