Avalon Park | Best of the South Side 2017 | Chatham | Greater Grand Crossing

Best of Chatham, Avalon Park, & Greater Grand Crossing 2017

Jason Schumer

I’ve lived in Chatham since the fifties. My aunt and uncle were one of the first African American couples who lived here. It was an all-white area at the time. Within two years, white flight took place. African American middle class professionals moved here. Doctors. Policemen. Judges. Politicians. Dentists.

Chatham | Politics

Looking for Economic Revival in Chatham

Vidura Jang Bahadur

This summer, Nedra Fears moved from Atlanta to Chicago’s South Side at a time when affluent blacks are more likely to do the opposite. Sixty-year-old Fears is living at her mom’s house in Chatham and looking for a home to buy in the historic black community, whose fortunes have declined in the past several decades.

Best of the South Side 2015 | Chatham | Greater Grand Crossing

Best of Chatham & Greater Grand Crossing 2015

Luke White

The first thing you might notice is the lawns: carefully manicured, they bring to mind a preserved vision of the ideal American suburb of the 1950s. It’s not an accident. Block clubs in Chatham maintain a genial atmosphere and preserve a long-standing community within the neighborhood. It’s a feel that neighborhood citizens work hard to preserve in a time when the families of Chatham have begun greeting newcomers, renters, and unaffiliated buyers who nevertheless want to be a part of what is one of the most tight-knit communities in the South Side.

Chatham | Music

Call It Soul-Pop

Nola Adé takes the stage

Soul singer and Chatham native Nola Adé doesn’t like to box herself in. When we sat down to talk, she had just performed a sold-out opening show at Hyde Park’s Promontory. “I grew up just listening to the voice of Ella Fitzgerald,” she told me. “I’ve always loved her voice, but some of my influences go from Lauryn Hill to Asa—she’s a Nigerian artist—to Amy Winehouse—I do so many of her covers—to Mali Music, one of my favorite artists today. And I still have some traditional Afrobeat artists that I really love too.” Continue reading

Best of the South Side 2014 | Chatham

Chatham

LUKE WHITE

Lanisha Byron steps out of Target and into the early evening on 86th Street and South Cottage Grove Avenue, laden with bags of back-to-school supplies and worry etched into her face. “All I’m saying is that if he doesn’t do his homework on time this year, there’s gonna be consequences,” she laughs. Cottage Grove is busy at this time of day—with places like the strip mall here, Walgreens down the road, and a multitude of local businesses, it’s been one of Chatham’s commercial lifelines since the early 1940s. Even along relatively quiet stretches, Byron passes by people who greet her cheerfully on the sidewalk—the smiling men outside the neighborhood mosque, mechanics taking a break outside the auto shop, and Houston Myers, her neighbor and a resident of Chatham for three years. Continue reading

Chatham | Interviews | Music | South Shore

Return of the Student

Jazz musician Marquis Hill plays for the hometown crowd

MarquisHill

Trumpeter Marquis Hill, originally from Chatham, returned to the South Side two weeks ago for a show at the House of Bing in South Shore, and also played at WHPK’s annual Black History Month concert last Saturday at the University of Chicago’s International House. Continue reading

Chatham | Food

Come for the Coffee

Flecks Coffee of Chatham

LUKE WHITE

LUKE WHITE

Tucked into a corner on bustling 79th Street in Chatham, Flecks Coffee Company brings in customers of all stripes for a solid breakfast and a cup of coffee with some company. “I wrote a play sitting right there,” says Sati Word, a regular. He points to a wooden table and chair against the far wall. The wall is painted deep red and embossed with the words “Dream Big” in large-font calligraphy. Flecks Coffee is “something different, that the area didn’t have before,” Sati explains (it opened in June). “It brings in a crowd I didn’t know was here, neighborhood folks.”

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