Communications Manager, Landmarks Illinois
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2021
Skyline Council hosts ‘heart bombing’ on Valentine’s Day Weekend at historic Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville
CHICAGO – Landmarks Illinois’ young and emerging professionals committee, the Skyline Council, is partnering with the congregation of Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ to create a “heart bombing” public art display at the historic church in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood this Valentine’s Day weekend. The goal of the heart bombing is to show the Chicago Landmark some love and bring attention to the culturally significant church that has severe structural issues and is in need of restoration work.
“Heart bombing” is a public display of love to historic sites and local landmarks by showering the site with physical expressions of affection, such as paper hearts and other artwork. It is used often as an activation of a space that is often underutilized, showcasing its potential and bringing public awareness to the special place.
Heart Bombing details – How to get involved
Skyline Council and Roberts Temple encourages members of the community to engage in the socially distant heart bombing display at the church. Paper hearts, signs and other artwork made by members of Skyline Council and the Roberts Temple congregation as well as students from nearby Bronzeville Classical Academy will be displayed outside the church beginning at 12 p.m. Saturday, February 13, 2021.
Members of the public are welcome to stop by Roberts Temple any time after 12 p.m. on February 13 through the Valentine’s Day weekend to view the heart bombing and to add their own works of art to the display. Individuals can take a photo of themselves and their artwork at the church in front of the art display. Those who cannot or do not wish to travel to Roberts Temple can still participate in the heart bombing campaign by creating hearts and signs at home and sharing photos of their artwork on social media.
All social media posts should use the hashtags #SkylineHeartBomb and #IHeartSavingPlaces. You can also tag Landmarks Illinois @landmarksill on Facebook and Twitter and @landmarksillinois on Instagram, Skyline Council @LISkylineCouncil on Facebook and @skyline_council on Instagram, and Roberts Temple on Facebook. All artwork will be removed from the church grounds on February 16.
History of Roberts Temple & its significance in the Civil Rights Movement
Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, located at 4021 S. State St., was the site of the 1955 open-casket funeral of Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered at the age of 14 while visiting family in Mississippi. Mamie Till-Mobley’s courageous choice to show her son’s body is seen as a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement. Roberts Temple was originally a one-story structure, with a second story added in 1927.
Landmarks Illinois is collaborating with Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ’s congregation, The Mamie Till-Mobley Memorial Foundation and National Trust for Historic Preservation to help assess the condition of the property, determine priority of repairs and develop a phased rehabilitation plan. The Trust included Roberts Temple on its 2020 11 Most Endangered List. Skyline Council will provide technical assistance and opportunities to bring attention to the church and its restoration efforts.
“Our annual heart bombings at historic sites are typically large public events where community members come together to collectively decorate and activate a special place,” said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “Despite the pandemic preventing us from gathering, we still want to bring attention to Roberts Temple and its dedicated congregation as well as provide resources for this critical preservation project and allow the community to show the historic site some much needed love, especially during Black History Month.”
“We are humbled and honored Skyline Council has chosen Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ to heart bomb,” said Sharon J. Roberts, Granddaughter of Church Founder and Preserve Roberts Temple Team Member. “So many people love the church, understand its significance and want to see the site restored. From its beginnings as the First Church of God in Christ in Chicago built by Bishop William Mathew Roberts, to playing a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement, with partners like Landmarks Illinois, Roberts Temple will continue to serve and soar.”
Previous Landmarks Illinois and Skyline Council heart bombings have taken place at the Harley Clarke House in Evanston and Donda’s House in South Shore. Stay tuned for future updates on the restoration partnership project at Roberts Temple church! To learn more about the restoration and to support the church in its effort to preserve its historic home, click here.
About Landmarks Illinois
We are People Saving Places for People. Landmarks Illinois, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary, is a membership-based nonprofit organization serving the people of Illinois. We inspire and empower stakeholders to save places that matter to them by providing free guidance, practical and financial resources and access to strategic partnerships. For more information, visit www.Landmarks.org.
###Learn more about the heart bombing