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.”

Best of the South Side 2015 | Bronzeville

Best of Bronzeville 2015

Luke White

Millions of African-American migrants came to Chicago, and their descendants carry the pride of Bronzeville. There is no other place in the world like Bronzeville. Within a five-mile radius you can find historical sites of interest that chronicle the explosion of gospel, blues, jazz, abolitionism and grassroots civil rights activism. Bronzeville’s history spans from the late 1880s to present day as the most documented landscape of political, economic, art, and cultural influence. Blacks who lived in the early days of Bronzeville survived the 1919 Chicago race riots. The generations that followed withstood restrictive covenants, the dismantling of public housing, and the closing of more than forty schools. The tenacity of the families and stakeholders who call Bronzeville home is unmatched. In spite of every conceivable tactic to eradicate Bronzeville’s rich legacy and its people, Bronzeville lives on as the testament of what champions can do.”

Bronzeville | Faith

The Gospel of Albertina Walker

Bronzeville church remembers a legendary singer

Anna Belle Newport

West Point Baptist Church, the longtime home church of gospel legend Albertina Walker, sits squarely next to Ellis Park in Bronzeville. Just a block north at 35th Street, a commemorative street sign reads “Albertina Walker and the Caravans Drive,” marking this span of Cottage Grove a homage to the “Queen of Gospel” and The Caravans, the gospel group with which she grew to international acclaim.  Continue reading

Bronzeville | Visual Arts

Don’t Be Misled

“Perception/Reality” at Blanc Gallery

Lauren Gurley

This fountain is a satirical look at the big myth of a post-racial America,” said Raymond Thomas as we looked at one of his sculpture installations, a sleek, copper water fountain labeled “Post Blacks Only.” This piece, along with thirteen other aesthetically beautiful but thematically horrific sculptures, paintings, and assemblages, is part of Thomas’s most recent multimedia exhibition, “PERCEPTION/REALITY (In the Age of Deception),” currently showing at the Blanc Gallery in Bronzeville. Continue reading

Bronzeville | Housing | Visual Arts

Bronzeville Artist Lofts offer a new live-work space

Brad Pogatetz

As the sun sets on 47th Street and Vincennes Avenue in Bronzeville, small groups of people trickle into a commanding brick building that occupies the majority of the block. A grassy vacant lot to its right is illuminated by the soft lighting from an adjacent art gallery. Inside the brick behemoth, a thin corridor lined with images of the building’s decline and rebirth leads into an open space. This, the ground floor incubator space of the Bronzeville Artist Lofts, currently houses an exhibition called The Doll Project, a series of photographs depicting roadside memorials from across the United States. The exhibit is a component of Chicago Artists Month, a five-week, city-wide celebration of local artists. Continue reading

Best of the South Side 2014 | Bronzeville

Bronzeville

MAIRA KHWAJA

A walk on the main boulevard of Bronzeville, Martin Luther King Drive, brings sights of grand stone homes that are slightly chipped around the edges, tree-lined parking lanes, and detailed murals—both fading and fresh, on the same block—of poetry and religion. From Ida B. Wells’s former home to the Sunset Cafe where Louis Armstrong frequently played to the grandiose Cultural Center and carefully landscaped street dividers, Bronzeville has an air of historical grandeur. Continue reading

Bronzeville | Music | Uncategorized

Recreating the Equator

Matchatcha and Dibala at West Point Baptist

Despite the visible age of the West Point Baptist Church in Bronzeville, there’s a sense of vitality there, of coming together. Fluorescent bulbs plugged into old chandeliers and other recent renovations give a sense of the reinvigoration of the old, of the rekindling of extinguished flames in new ways. That’s something the South Side African immigrant community wants to promote with the long-awaited return of Diblo Dibala and his current backing band, Matchatcha, to Chicago. Continue reading