Chicago’s Historic Roberts Temple COGIC Receives Landmark Status

From a press release on the City of Chicago website, 3/30/07:

Mayor Richard M. Daley today applauded the Chicago City Council for passing an ordinance giving official landmark status to the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ building, the site of the 1955 visitation for Emmett Till.

For four days in September 1955, Roberts Temple, 4021 S. State St., was the center of the civil-rights movement. Till, a Chicago teenager, was lynched that August while visiting relatives in Mississippi. His murder and his mother’s decision on an open-casket funeral called national attention to the plight of African-Americans in shockingly graphic detail.

“The events that took place in this building showed the world the grave injustices and inhuman treatment to which African-Americans were subjected in the 1950’s and demonstrated the need for civil-rights legislation,” said Mayor Daley.

Built in 1922, it was the first church of its denomination to be established in Chicago and was considered the “Mother Church” in northern Illinois. [Editor’s Note: Before it was renamed Roberts Temple, the church was known as “Fortieth” because of its location at 40th and State Streets].

The original building was designed by Chicago architect Edward G. McClellan with simple ornamentation and red brick. By 1927, the building was expanded to include a large second-floor sanctuary.

In 1953, the church was renamed after its founder, Bishop William Roberts. In 1992, the building was refronted with tan brick and the sanctuary was remodeled.

****

The Roberts Temple Landmark Celebration will be held on Sunday, April 15, 2007 with a reception at 2:00 p.m. and a service at 4:00 p.m.

Elder Mack C. Mason, author of Saints in the Land of Lincoln and Make Room for the Holy Ghost, will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

15 comments

  1. my nameis Roseann Herte and I am Bishop Robert’s Great grandaughter, I currently attend Southern Illinois University and getting my Master’sin Workforce Education and Development, I would really like to expand on my great grandfather’schurch. If any body is intrested email me at Herte8@aol.com

  2. My name is anthony cole and i am bishop Roberts Great grandson i recently just met this side of my family last summer at a picnic….

  3. My name is Modette Garrett i am Bishop Roberts GreatGreatGranddaugther i live in Las Vegas. My greatgrandmother was Sis Minnie Pearl “Mother” i like to get to know my family my email is modette4garrett@yahoo.com. I need to know if we still have the family reunion in july ?

  4. Hi My name is Jamena Jones, My Grandfather is Bishop Isaiah Roberts. Im trying to find more information on him, as well as meet family members that I have not yet met. If anyone have any information on him, can you please contact me at JamenaPjones@aol.com
    Thank you!

  5. Hi, Jamena — I have passed your information along to the family.

  6. My name is Debbie Thomas Ilive in Tacoma Washington my grandmother was Minnie Pearl Thomas. Bishop Roberts was her brother.

  7. Hi, Ms. Thomas – how cool! Thanks for commenting here.

  8. I know this is so late name is Trina I too am a great granddaughter of Bishop “Poppa” Roberts as I knew of him. I currently live in Mn and have been asked to write a memoir of my life my grandmother was Alberta and my life would be nothing without theirs. I would love to be in touch with more family ldyt4@hotmail.com

  9. Hey you can email me anytime you would like to @ Jamenapjones@aol.com

  10. Naming one’s church or denomination after its organizer or early pioneer is not a good idea. The Bible clearly states that we are to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). The Bible also says that there is no other foundation that can be laid other than that which is laid upon Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). Naming one’s church “Lutheran” after Martin Luther, “Calvinist” after John Calvin, “Wesleyan” after John Wesley, “Hutterian” after Jakob Hutter, Mennonite after “Menno Simmons”, or even “Roberts Temple” after William Roberts demonstrates a disregard for these admonitions.

  11. Naming one’s church or denomination after its organizer or early pioneer is not a good idea. The Bible clearly states that we are to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). The Bible also says that there is no other foundation that can be laid other than that which is laid upon Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). Naming one’s church “Lutheran” after Martin Luther, “Calvinist” after John Calvin, “Wesleyan” after John Wesley, “Hutterian” after Jakob Hutter, Mennonite after “Menno Simmons”, or even “Roberts Temple” after William Roberts demonstrates a disregard for these admonitions.

  12. Amen! Exactly one church, one body, one baptism! Nothing should be personalized, GOD OWNS IT ALL!

  13. Hi All,

    My name is Allegra Martin>> My great grandfather is Isaiah Roberts and my Grandmother is Isaiah’s daughter > Ruth Roberts (Dabney). I attended my great grandfather’s church as a kid back in the 80’s.
    Please reach out if anyone gets this message. Thanks!

    allegramartin@yahoo.com

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