Emmett Till's home declared a landmark in Chicago

The home of Emmett Till was granted historical landmark status on Wednesday by the Chicago City Council. 

The brick, two-story building was home to Till and his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, in 1955 when he traveled to Mississippi at age 14.  

While visiting relatives in Money, Miss., Till was brutally tortured and lynched after being accused of offending a white woman, Carolyn Donham, in a grocery store. His body was found in the Tallahatchie River. 


Two white men were acquitted on murder charges in the Black teenager’s death. Years later, Donham admitted to lying about the events that led up to Till's death. 

“Upon his body’s return to Chicago, Till’s mother, Mamie, held an open-casket funeral to show the world the horrifying violence her son had suffered. Though two men were acquitted on murder charges, Till’s death became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement,” the city of Chicago said in a statement Wednesday.

“Mamie Till-Mobley continued to live in a three-bedroom apartment on the home’s second floor until 1962 while she worked to honor the legacy of her only child by devoting her life to eradicating racism and improving the quality of life for people of color,” the statement continued. 

The 2,400-square-foot structure was built in 1865, according to the Wednesday statement. The building was granted preliminary landmark status in September.

The historical designation shields the building from demolition or significant alterations, according to the Chicago Tribune

Alderman Jeanette Taylor, who represents the ward in which the house is located, commended the move to the council Wednesday.

“Last year, we celebrated the 65th anniversary of the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till and a lot of times history that happens for African Americans are forgotten about,” Taylor said following the vote to approve the historical designation, according to multiple reports. “So before there was Trayvon Martin, before there was Eric Garner, there was Emmett Till. We still have a real problem in this country of not addressing the brutality that has happened to Black folks, but also making sure we apologize and recognize it and do things to move forward."

A nonprofit group, Blacks in Green, purchased the house last year. The organization shared on Facebook following the purchase, “We aim to transform the Emmett and Mamie Till-Mobley home into an international heritage pilgrimage destination that celebrates America’s Great Migration Story of courage, fortitude, creativity, labor, and love that built our great American cities.”