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Emmett Till's home designated as a Chicago landmark

Turning points: Emmett Till and George Floyd
How the killings of Emmett Till and George Floyd sparked 2 movements 65 years apart 15:39

Chicago's city council voted Wednesday to designate the home where Emmett Till lived before his brutal death as a landmark. The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House, located in the city's Woodlawn neighborhood, will now be converted into a museum.  

The nonprofit Blacks In Green, which develops eco-friendly, mixed-income, sustainable "walk-able villages in communities owned and populated by African Americans" purchased the home in October. Blacks in Green will turn the home into a museum. 

The home at 6247 S. St. Lawrence Ave was built in 1895, CBS Chicago reports.

The Emmit Till house is up for landmark status
The former home of Emmett Till at 6427 S. St. Lawrence Ave., in Chicago, seen on Nov. 9, 2017. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) Chicago Tribune

Till and his mother lived there in 1955, the year that 14-year-old Till was lynched in Mississippi where he was visiting family. He allegedly whistled at 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, a white cashier at a grocery store.

Her husband and brother-in-law were charged with Till's murder after his body was discovered badly beaten. During trial, Bryant claimed that Till had made lewd verbal and physical advances.

Decades later, Bryant recanted her claims, according to author Tim Tyson, who interviewed her for his book "The Blood of Emmett Till."  

At the time of Till's death, his mother insisted on having an open casket funeral to highlight the brutality of her son's slaying, ultimately sparking a larger civil rights movement. Rosa Parks famously said it was Till's face she saw when refusing to give up her seat on an Alabama bus, while Martin Luther King Jr. invoked Till's memory during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Preservation Chicago executive director Ward Miller echoed that sentiment in a statement to CBS Chicago.

"We've been working toward this honor and Chicago Landmark Designation for many years, recognizing the importance of this home and its associations with the tragic death of Emmett Till," Miller told the station. "Emmett Till's brutal death was part of the profound 'spark' that influenced so many leaders in the efforts towards equality and confronting injustice in America, from Dr. King to Rosa Parks and so many people in between. It was a turning point in the struggle for Civil Rights and equality for all Americans."

"The lynching of Emmett Till, a 14 year-old child from Chicago, on a summer trip to visit his relatives in Mississippi, and the brave efforts of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley that followed, were a call to action," Miller continued. "We should never forget the brutality of his death, the lifelong efforts of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley to show the world these injustices, and also her courage to also forgive, but to always remember too."

"We are hopeful that this Chicago Landmark Designation of the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House will serve as a monument to the Till Family," Miller said. 

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