Share the Story of the Spark That Ignited the Civil Rights Movement

When Rosa Parks was asked why she refused to give up her seat on the bus in 1955, she said, “I thought of Emmett Till and I couldn’t go back." Emmett Till’s kidnapping and murder served as a spark that ignited the movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Representative John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hamer, and the everyday local citizens who stood up for the first time.  

We at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, together with our partners at the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, believe it is necessary to preserve, protect and interpret the locations associated with the death of Emmett Till and activism of his mother, Mamie Till Mobley. Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, included on the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2020, tells the full story of Emmett’s murder, his open-casket funeral, and the subsequent “trial of the century." This site should be protected as a national historic site under the National Park System.

Preserving and interpreting this Roberts Temple Church of God provides an opportunity for visitors to engage with our shared past and interrogate our present. Creating a national historic site under the National Park Service promotes the cause of restorative justice and honors Emmett's mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, who dedicated herself to ensuring her son did not die in vain.

Sign your name to support the creation of a national historic site honoring Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley.

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