emmett tillCHICAGO – After calls from advocate groups and state legislators, the Chicago City Council finalized a vote Wednesday to make Emmett Till’s home an official landmark. State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), who was among those calls several months ago, is celebrating the council’s decision.

“I am proud to see that the City Council voted to preserve Emmett Till’s childhood home as a landmark,” Hunter said. “Though heartbreaking, Emmett Till’s lynching must be remembered, especially as we navigate race relations in these times of racial unrest.”

Till lived at the home at 6427 S. St. Lawrence in West Woodlawn with his mother, Mamie, until August 1955, when he traveled south to Mississippi to visit family. There he would fall victim to the terrorism of a white mob for allegedly whistling at a white woman.

His young, 14-year-old body was recovered from a river brutally beaten, lynched, and unrecognizable. Mamie’s decision to hold an open casket changed the course of the Civil Rights Movement.

“It is important that we remember this tragic history, so that we can learn and grow from it,” Hunter said. “Emmett’s story was one of the most brutal examples of racism this country has seen, and he was from the district I now represent. May his legacy live on to remind us how far we have come, and how far we still need to go.”

The vote to make Till’s childhood home an official landmark was set to happen on Feb. 24, but preservationists urged the council to move sooner after receiving approval from the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards Tuesday.

The decision comes just in time for Black History Month.

“We cannot heal from what we won’t acknowledge,” Hunter said. “When we call for unity, we must also call for accountability and justice. We must sit in our grief, and work toward solutions together, so that Emmett Till’s murder will no longer be comparable to the unjust killings we continue to see in the 21st century.”

Category: Social Justice

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