- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 22, 2005

CHICAGO (AP) — In a small, nondescript church, the mutilated body of 14-year-old Emmett Till was put on display in an open casket because his mother wanted the nation to see what racism looked like.

Now there is a movement to turn that church, the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, into a historic city landmark.

“This is part of the civil rights trail,” said Jonathan Fine, president of Preservation Chicago. “The civil rights trail begins in Chicago, and it began in this church.”

Mr. Till was tortured and killed in Mississippi. His body was brought back to his hometown, but before he was buried, his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, let the nation see what had been done to him.

Tens of thousands of mourners filed by the casket Sept. 3, 1955, and millions more saw the photographs in Jet magazine.



Mr. Fine said few people even knew the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ still existed. It was not until federal prosecutors reopened the investigation into Mr. Till’s death that the church returned to public attention.

A proposal to give the church landmark status is likely to come before the City Council next year.

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