Roberts Temple

4021 S State St.

Roberts Temple Church Of God In Christ has been one of the key South Side hubs for Black Pentecostal worshippers who began arriving to Chicago in large numbers during the Great Migration of the 20th Century. One of those migrants was five-year-old Rosabell Atkins who moved to the city with her evangelist mother Katie Atkins in 1920. As a child, Rosabell Atkins sang and played guitar in the church. This was unusually as traditionally boys handled musical instruments while girls were restricted to vocal duties. Later known as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, her stinging electric guitar style became foundational for rock ’n’ roll. Roberts Temple also played an important role in the civil rights movement in 1955 when Mamie Till held an open-casked funeral for her 14-year-old son, Emmett Till, who was murdered in Mississippi.


– A.C. 


Caption: Roberts Temple. 


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