2 Chicago area African American landmarks awarded national grants

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund has awarded $3 million of grants to preserve 40 African American landmarks across the country, including two in the Chicago area.

The church that hosted the funeral of Emmett Till, Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ on Chicago's South Side, will receive $150,000.

The 14-year-old from Chicago was killed by a white mob for allegedly whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955.

Till was the cousin of Marvel McCain Parker's husband. She said the grant money will be used for structural repairs.

"We certainly want to preserve the memory and the legacy of Emmett Till," said McCain Parker, a management consultant for the project.

The African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

"The Action Fund was created in the aftermath of Charlottesville and it was an opportunity for the National Trust to demonstrate the power of historic preservation as a tool for equity and racial justice," said Brent Leggs, the executive director of the fund.

The Robbins Historical Society and Museum in Robbins is receiving $80,000 from the fund. The historical society and museum is restoring the former house of SB Fuller to be their future home. At one time, Fuller owned the largest Black-owned company in the country, which included a cosmetics line and newspapers.

"We have been struggling trying to find ways to raise money to get it open so we can move our museum in there," said Tryone Haymore, the executive director of the Robbins Historical Society.

McCain Parker says the goal is to eventually transform Roberts Temple Church into a museum.

"One of the things about preserving history is that history that is forgotten is sometimes repeated," she said.
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