Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till traveled from his home in Chicago to visit family in Mississippi in the summer of 1955 before being brutally murdered for allegedly flirting with a white woman. Now the home on Chicago’s South Side where Till lived with his mother, Mamie Till Mobley, will receive a portion of a grant intended to help preserve African American history.
The home of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley will receive part of a $3 million grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The grant will be distributed to 33 sites and organizations by way of its African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. (AACHAF). 2022 marks the fifth year the grants have been distributed. And in that time, the fund has awarded a total of $12.4 million to 160 organizations.
According to Brent Leggs, executive director of the AACHAF and senior vice president of the National Trust, the grants are meant to help people gain a better understanding of the Black experience in America and fill “some gaps in the nation’s understanding of the civil rights movement.”
“The cultural landscapes and historic buildings featured in this year’s list showcase the breadth and depth of African American life, history, and architecture across generations,” he said. “At the National Trust, we aim to broaden the public’s understanding of the Black experience in America while also underscoring the very urgent need to identify and protect these sites for the benefit of the communities they have long served. These often-overlooked places hold aspects of history that must be protected—and used to draw inspiration and wisdom for the benefit of all Americans.”
Other sites and organizations receiving grant money include the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston, Texas, James Weldon Johnson’s writing cabin in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona, New York.
“This house is a sacred treasure from our perspective, and our goal is to restore it and reinvent it as an international heritage pilgrimage destination,” said Naomi Davis, executive director of Blacks in Green. The Chicago nonprofit bought the Till’s home in 2020. The home received landmark status in 2021 and there are plans to turn it into a museum. Davis says they are planning to complete the restoration project by 2025 to coincide with the opening of the new Obama Presidential Library.