Best of the South Side 2017 | Bronzeville

Best of Bronzeville 2017

The interior of aplomb, a vintage store celebrating African American culture at Boxville (Jason Schumer)

Historically, Bronzeville is known for its high volume of Black residents, many of whom originally came to Chicago during the Great Migration, between 1910 and 1920. I know Bronzeville best for what these residents did once they got here, making the neighborhood a mecca for arts and culture. Colorful tributes made through murals, statues, and structural art can be seen driving along popular boulevards and avenues. The architectural structures found in Bronzeville are just as breathtaking as its tribute to art and culture, with many mansions, three-flats, and greystone homes to admire as you make your way along the streets. Many valued and well known contributors to African American history have called these buildings and this neighborhood home: Gwendolyn Brooks, Ida B. Wells, Nat King Cole, Dr. Margaret Burroughs, Bessie Coleman, Louis Armstrong, Robert Abbott, and Dr. Daniel Hale Williams top a constantly growing list of brilliant people.

Bronzeville | Development | Features | Housing | Politics

Redeveloping the State Street Corridor

After the high-rises came down, the CHA pledged to rebuild thousands of units of public housing in Bronzeville. But more than a decade later, construction is behind schedule and below expectations.

Patricia Evans

This investigation is the first in a series of projects that will document and explore public housing on the South Side. If you have tips or suggestions about coverage, email editor@southsideweekly.com.

Bronzeville | History | Housing

Home Histories: Elam Home

Natalie Gonzalez

The wide boulevard where the Elam Home sits in Bronzeville has had many names, and the mansion, in place since 1903, has known all of them. The ornately carved windows—these days shuttered by gray boards—have peered out at over a century of history in an ever-changing city, watching as Grand Boulevard become South Park Way in 1923 and then Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in 1968. As the neighborhood became majority Jewish and then quickly became majority black; as the surrounding area earned a new moniker, Bronzeville, and a new reputation as a thriving black cultural center.

Bronzeville | Development | Englewood

Food for Thought

Design of two new grocery stores falls short on neighborhood integration

Denise Naim

Abuilding’s design tells you a lot about who it’s for. The new faux-Parisian townhomes in Lincoln Park appeal to people who want to imitate the prestige and sophistication of a European capital. The large, bright windows of a traditional commercial storefront ask everyone in the neighborhood to come in and check out the merchandise.

Bronzeville | Lit Issue

On the Block

Ravyn Lenae, sidewalk chalk, and neighbors at Crescendo Literary’s poetry block party

Sarah Claypoole

Ravyn Lenae’s demands for her audience were simple. In between the R&B singer’s spacey electro-soul verses, she would say: “Dance,” or, “Y’all can just close your eyes, okay?” She electrified the crowd—all from onstage while sitting down. Listeners mumbled “okay” in response, and started moving their bodies; people who had been sitting on the ground to just listen became active participants in the performance.

Bronzeville | Education | Features

The New Dyett

As CPS reopens and reimagines a neighborhood school, Bronzeville residents push for greater community involvement

Olivia Adams

“If Dyett does not work, we view it as further disinvestment in the quality of life and the basic quality of life institutions of a particular population of people.”

—Jitu Brown

Bronzeville | Food

This Side of Kingston

Bronzeville Jerk Shack, the first Bronzeville Cookin’ venue, opens.

Sylvia Wei

“If we can inject food, quality food, into the area, then we’ll be able to feed people quality food, encourage people to come back [to Bronzeville], and bring jobs into the area as well.”