Emmett Till’s Home, a Launching Pad for the Civil Rights Movement, Deserves Landmark Status

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tags: civil rights, historic preservation, Chicago, memorials, Emmett Till

A humble two-flat at 64th and St. Lawrence played a central role in one of the most important moments in U.S. history — and there’s an effort to keep it from being lost before most people even realize it’s there.

Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Chicagoan whose 1955 murder at the hands of Mississippi racists sent shockwaves around the world, lived on the second floor of 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave., with his mother, Mamie, at the time of his death.

Last Thursday marked the 65th anniversary of Till’s murder, and now Till’s family and architectural preservationists are renewing a push to win city landmark status for the building, citing its link to history.

Their work could pay off this week. On Thursday, the city’s Commission on Chicago Landmarks will decide whether to grant the building preliminary landmark status.

We urge the commission to vote in favor of the Till home. Landmark status would further honor Emmett and Mamie Till’s tragic but critical role in 20th century America. And given that the building has fallen into disrepair, landmarking would help protect the two-flat from demolition or ham-fisted renovation attempts.

This building must be saved and put back into action. And to make that happen, the city must throw its protective arms around it.


The Till residence is falling apart, to put it bluntly. It’s been in Building Court for at least the past 19 years, cited for everything from plumbing violations to a crumbling exterior.

There are no exterior markers indicating the home’s history.

A 2017 effort to win landmark status for the house failed. The non-profit group Preservation Chicago is working with the Till family — which no longer owns or resides in the building — on a new attempt to get the structure landmarked.

As Sun-Times reporter Maudlyne Ihejirika reported last week, the organization filed a landmark proposal for the building last week with the city’s Department of Planning.

Read entire article at Chicago Sun-Times