Presiding Bishop J. Drew Sheard (COGIC) Issues Statement Regarding National Monument Honoring Emmett Till

On yesterday, Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ J. Drew Sheard issued a statement celebrating the establishment of a monument honoring Emmett Till. The Till family was served by Roberts Temple COGIC as many in the nation saw for the first time the horrors of lynching in America. As noted on a site dedicated to the preservation of historic Roberts Temple COGIC, the Church of God in Christ has significant ties to civil rights history in America. Besides Roberts Temple hosting the visitation and funeral of Emmett Till, Malcolm X was funeralized at Faith Temple Church of God in Christ in Harlem, New York and most famously, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his final speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” from the pulpit of COGIC headquarters, Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee.

Chicago landmark at Robert’s Temple COGIC Photo Credit: Robert’s Temple (Facebook) taken by Jacek Boczarski

Current presiding bishop Sheard is the eighth in succession and stands on the shoulders of gospel giants who have helmed one of the largest Pentecostal denominations in the world. At the time of Emmett Till’s heinous murder, the Church of God in Christ was still under the leadership of its founder, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason.

Biden honors Emmett Till and mother with a monument

At a fraught time in the U.S. over matters concerning race and history, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation creating a national monument honoring Emmett Till, a Black teenager who was abducted, tortured and killed in 1955, and his mother.

The Presiding Bishop had this to say about the monument and what it means to America and the Church of God in Christ:

On July 25, 2023, what would be Mr. Emmett Till’s 82nd birthday, I am delighted that our nation, under President Joe Biden’s leadership, will honor Mr. Till and his mother, Mrs. Mamie Till-Mobley, with a national monument established across three locations in Illinois and Mississippi, in an effort to protect the actual places that tell Till’s agonizing story. The monument will serve as a reminder of the atrocities that occurred in August 1955, when two white men abducted, tortured, and killed Till, a 14-year old Black boy, accused of offending a white woman. The monument also allows for reflection of the valiant activism demonstrated by his mother, determined to keep the story of her son’s senseless murder alive.

For today’s generation, the monument is a critical symbol of the tribulation endured by African Americans during the harrowing, culture shifting years of the Civil Rights era in America. As the funeral of Mr. Emmett Till was held at Robert’s Temple Church Of God In Christ in Chicago, Illinois, the Church Of God In Christ, Inc. is incredibly humbled to have been a haven for Mrs. Mamie Till-Mobley and her family, as they courageously displayed the injustice inflicted upon the young Emmett Till. This brave family has been a part of the Church Of God In Christ for many generations”.

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