Chicago Neighborhoods: Bronzeville

Jazz legend Louis Armstrong, civil rights leader Ida B. Wells and aviatrix Bessie Coleman were among the many prominent African Americans who lived or worked in Bronzeville and left an indelible mark on this South Side community’s development. Today, this former ‘Black Metropolis’ is a treasure trove of historical and cultural landmarks and experiences – a living monument to the generations of African Americans who emigrated here from the South during the Great Migration at the turn of the 20th century.

This is more than a neighborhood. When the Great Migration brought African Americans from the South to jobs in the North early in the last century, many found their way to Bronzeville.

In this South Side community were the entrepreneurs and the musicians and the novelists and playwrights and poets who defined the black urban existence, not only in Chicago but in much of America, rivaled only by New York’s Harlem.

The names are familiar: Richard Wright, Louis Armstrong, Lorraine Hansberry, the blues men – Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy and more – publisher John Johnson, all lived here or worked here, often both, in what we call Bronzeville. All left a legacy.


Alison Saar’s Monument to the Great Northern Migration

  • Art & Architecture

Alison Saar’s sculpture is a testament to the thousands of African Americans who migrated to Chicago in the early 20th century in search of greater freedom and opportunity.

Free Admission | Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. & 26th Place

Bronzeville Visitor Information Center

  • Art & Architecture,
  • Cultural Centers

The Bronzeville Visitor Information Center is the primary location for discovering attractions, destinations and travel accommodations in the historic Bronzeville communty

3501 S. Martin Luther King Dr., Suite 1 East | 773.373.2842

Chicago Defender

  • Other Attractions

The Chicago Defender began in 1905 as a weekly African American newspaper. It has showcased and successfully rallied readers around many African American achievements, plights and movements including the Great Migration.

Free Admission | 4445 S. King Dr. | 312.225.2400

Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville

  • War Memorials & Military Monuments

The Chicago Military Academy at Bronzeville is the nation’s first public high school run by the Army’s Junior Officer Training Corps (JROTC). The school is housed in the Eighth Regiment Armory, a renovated Chicago historic landmark.

3519 S. Giles Ave., Former Eighth Regiment Armory

Faié African Art

  • Art & Architecture

Faié African Art gallery specializes in quality African art and education.

Free Admission | 4317 S. Cottage Grove Ave. | 773.268.2889

Former Residence of Bessie Coleman

  • Historical Landmarks

Determined to become a pilot, Bessie Coleman (1892-1926) travelled to France for training. In 1920 she became the first black woman licensed to fly. Coleman lived with her family at 41st Street and South Park Avenue (now King Dr.). Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 41st St. & King Dr.

Former Residence of Comedy Act Butterbeans & Susie

  • Historical Landmarks

Butterbeans & Susie, one of the top comedic music acts on the black vaudeville circuit, was made up of Jodie Edwards (1895-1967) and Susie (Hawthorne) Edwards (1896-1963.) They are considered the model for the bickering husband/wife act. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 3322 S. Calumet Ave.

Former Residence of Daniel H. Burnham

  • Historical Landmarks

Architect Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912) guided the design of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and pioneered the field of city planning. The 1909 Plan of Chicago reflects his advice to “make no little plans.” In the 1880s, he lived with his wife and young family here at 4300 S. Michigan Ave. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 4300 S. Michigan Ave.

Former Residence of Ida B. Wells-Barnett

  • Historical Landmarks

Journalist and social reformer Ida B. Wells-Barnett (1862-1931) advocated for civil rights, women’s suffrage and economic justice. Her anti-lynching campaign stirred the nation and the world. In 1893, she came to Chicago to report on the Columbian Exposition. In 1895, she married Ferdinand Lee Barnett, founder of Chicago’s first black newspaper, the Conservator. She was instrumental in the founding of such civil rights groups as the NAACP. She and her family lived at 3624 Grand Boulevard, now King Drive, from 1919-1930. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 3624 S. King Dr.

Former Residence of Louis Armstrong

  • Historical Landmarks

Bandleader Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong (1898-1971) developed a creative form of melodic improvisation that popularized jazz and transformed modern music. In 1925, he married pianist and composer Lil Hardin and they bought a home at 421 East 44th Street. His concerts, recordings and movie appearances entertained millions. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 421 E. 44th St.

Former Residence of Nat “King” Cole

  • Historical Landmarks

Nat “King” Cole’s (1919-1965) velvety voice made him a best-selling recording star. In 1956, he became the first African-American to host a network television program. Born Nathaniel Coles, he gained fame as a piano player while living at 4023 S. Vincennes Ave. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 4023 S. Vincennes Ave.

Former Residence of Politician Oscar Stanton DePriest

  • Historical Landmarks

Politician Oscar Stanton DePriest (1871-1951) was Chicago’s first black alderman and the first black congressman elected from a northern state. In 1929, De Priest made national news when first lady Lou Hoover invited his wife, Jessie Williams De Priest, to a tea for congressional wives. During his three consecutive terms (1929-1934), De Priest fought for civil rights and introduced several anti-discrimination bills. His residence from 1929-1951, is at 4536-38 S. Grand Boulevard (now King Dr.) Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 4536 S. King Dr.

Former Residence of Robert S. Abbott

  • Historical Landmarks

Newspaper publisher Robert S. Abbott (1868-1940) founded The Chicago Defender and built it into one of the nation’s most influential and widely distributed African American newspapers. He purchased a house at 4742 South Grand Boulevard (now King Drive) in 1926 and lived there until his death. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 4742 S. King Dr.

Former Residence of Surgeon Daniel “Dr. Dan” Hale Williams

  • Historical Landmarks

Surgeon Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (1858 -1931) founded Provident Hospital, the first hospital in America established and fully controlled by blacks. He also established training programs and organizations to benefit black nurses and physicians. His efforts led to the opening of schools and hospitals in over 30 cities. “Dr. Dan” lived at 445 East 42nd Street from 1905-1929. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 445 E. 42nd St.

Former Residence of The Marx Brothers

  • Historical Landmarks

The Marx Brothers: Julius Henry (Groucho, 1890-1977), Leonard (Chico,1891-1961), Adolph (Harpo,1893-1961), Herbert (Zeppo,1901-1979), Milton (Gummo,1904-1977) lived at 4512 Grand Boulevard (now King Dr.) when they moved to Chicago to tour the vaudeville circuit in the 1910s. They entertained millions around the world with vaudeville acts, Broadway shows, and movie comedy classics like The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, A Day at the Races and Duck Soup. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 4512 S. King Dr.

Gallery Guichard

  • Art & Architecture

Showcasing art from the African Diaspora (Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S.), Gallery Guichard houses paintings, ceramics, blown glass, sculptures and photography.

Free Admission | 3521 S. King Dr. | 773.373.8000

George Cleveland Hall Branch, Chicago Public Library

  • Historical Landmarks

This was Chicago’s first public library for the African American community and beginning in 1932 was headed by Chicago’s first African American branch librarian, Vivian Harsh (1890-1960). From 1933-1953, the library hosted a thriving African American salon culture with such writers as Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston. The Collection named after her is now at the Woodson Regional Library at 95th and Halsted. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 4801 S. Michigan Ave. | 312.747.2541

Groveland Park

  • Parks & Gardens

This cul-de-sac of historic townhouses and private park constitute the last remaining portion of the original Douglas neighborhood, named after Stephen A. Douglas.

Free Admission | 33rd St. & Cottage Grove Ave.

Illinois Institute of Technology

  • Universities & Colleges

This technological, Ph.D.-granting research university is known for engineering, architecture, the sciences, humanities, psychology, business, law and design. Architect Mies van der Rohe taught and designed buildings here.

Free Admission | 3300 S. Federal St. | 312.567.3000

Jokes and Notes

  • Theater & Dance

A hip comedy and music club with premier arts and entertainment.

4641 S. King Dr. | 773.373.3390

Location of Claude Barnett’s Associated Negro Press

  • Historical Landmarks

Entrepreneur Claude Barnett (1889-1967)founded the Associated Negro Press, the largest wire service for the national network of African American newspapers. Claude was married to actress and vocalist Etta Moten Barnett (1901–2004), who became the first black woman to sing at the White House in 1934. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 3507 S. King Dr.

Meyers Ace Hardware (formerly the Sunset Cafe)

  • Historical Landmarks,
  • Music

The landmark Meyers Ace Hardware in the Bronzeville neighborhood was formerly home to the Sunset Cafe, a legendary jazz venue where Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and other historical figures once played.

Free Admission | 315 E. 35th St. | 312.225.5687

Olivet Baptist Church

  • Art & Architecture

The Olivet Baptist Church was the first African American Baptist Church in Chicago.

Free Admission | 3101 S. King Dr. | 312.528.0124

Pilgrim Baptist Church

  • Religious locations

A Chicago Landmark, Pilgrim Baptist Church was designed as a synagogue by Adler & Sullivan in 1890-1. It became a Baptist church in 1922, and its congregation played a role in the development of gospel music in the 1930s.

Free Admission | 3300 S. Indiana Ave. | 312.842.4417

Public Art along King Dr.

  • Art & Architecture

Commissioned to help rejuvenate the neighborhood, these artworks are part of the City of Chicago’s Public Art Collection. Catch Alison Saar’s bronze, “Monument to the Great Northern Migration,” at E. 26th St. & King Dr.; The Walk of Fame from 25th-35th St.along King Dr.; the Victory Monument and Historic Bronzeville street map at 35th St. & King Dr., and Bench Sculptures along King Dr. bus stops and median plazas.

Free Admission | King Dr. & 25th | 312.742.1161

Richard Wright’s last residence in Chicago

  • Historical Landmarks

Richard Wright’s (1908 – 1960) novels and essays described poverty and racism in America. Born in Mississippi, Wright moved to Chicago in 1927. In the decade he lived in Chicago his writing drew heavily on his Chicago experience. Wright lived at several South Side locations; his last residence in Chicago was the “La Veta” apartment building, 3743 South Indiana Avenue. Native Son (1940) shocked readers with its violent realism and Black Boy (1945) recounted Wright’s childhood in the South. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 3743 S. Indiana Ave.

Roloson Houses

  • Art & Architecture

The Roloson Houses were one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s earliest architectural commissions, and the only row houses he designed that were actually built. The homes extend from 3213 S. Calumet Ave. through 3219 S. Calumet Ave.

Free Admission | 3213 S. Calumet Ave.

South Side Community Art Center

  • Art & Architecture

Established under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) and key to helping develop many Chicago African American artists, this Chicago Landmark also possesses rare New Bauhaus-style interiors.

Free Admission | 3831 S. Michigan Ave. | 773.373.1026

Stephen Douglas’s Tomb

  • Historical Landmarks

US Senator Stephen Douglas’ (1813-1861) powerful debates with Abraham Lincoln helped crystallize national policy on slavery. He was also an important Chicago land speculator and civic leader. He bought thousands of acres, with his most prized property along the lakefront in the Douglas neighborhood. He donated ten acres of this land to the original University of Chicago, which survived for three decades here at 35th Street and Cottage Grove Avenue. During the Civil War, part of the land became Camp Douglas, an army camp and prison for Confederate soldiers. The Stephen Douglas tomb and Monument Park are nearby. Selected as a Chicago Tribute Marker of Distinction.

Free Admission | 35th St. & Cottage Grove Ave.

The Wall of Daydreaming Mural

  • Art & Architecture

Originally painted in 1975 and restored in 2003, “The Wall of Daydreaming and Man’s Inhumanity to Man” is a very provocative and powerful mural depicting the artist’s interpretation of the surrounding community. It was also one of the first examples of urban public art in the country.

Free Admission | 47th St. & Calumet Ave.

Washington Park

  • Parks & Gardens

Washington Park, which is listed in National Register of Historic Places, serves as a recreation hub for the Woodlawn and Hyde Park communities and its surrounding area. This beautiful park is heavily used by patrons throughout the year. Attractions include: Fountain of Time, the famed 102- long sculpture built around a large reflecting pool, which was created by Lorado Taft in 1922, DuSable Museum of African American History, an aquatic center boasting a 36-foot waterslide, Bynum Island (home to Adventure Rec, an exhilarating adventure course), Refectory, National Guard Armory, various multi-cultural festivals, and the most famous back-to-school parade, Bud Billiken parade.

Free Admission | 5531 S. Martin Luther King Dr. | 773.256.1248

World War I Black Soldiers’ Memorial

  • War Memorials & Military Monuments

One of the most famous landmarks of Chicago’s African American community, “Victory” was erected after a lengthy campaign led by the Chicago Defender. African American soldiers formed the 8th regiment of the Illinois National Guard, which became the 370th Infantry of the 93rd Division upon the start of World War I. The unit saw action in France as the last regiment pursuing retreating German forces in the Aisne-Marne region, just before the war ended.

E 35th St & S King Dr


Abundance Bakery

  • Food Retail: Bakeries

Their pastries gained a lot of attention from being included in Mayor Daley’s bet against Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLI in 2007, and even though the Bears lost our end of the wager, Abundance Bakery has been going strong ever since, serving up everything from pies to cobblers to danishes in this south side neighborhood.

105 E. 47th St. | 773.373.1971

Ain’t She Sweet Café

  • Dining

Ain’t She Sweet Café is a unique sandwich shop, serving its own signature food as well as desserts from other Southside establishments, including Jimmy Jamm, Leo’s and Angelica’s, and showcasing African and African American artwork.

4532 S. Cottage Grove Ave. | 773.373.3530

Bronzeville Coffee and Tea

  • Dining

A Feng Shui–designed shop, this local hot spot’s atmosphere is alternative and soulful, and hip and intellectual. Try signature drinks like Black Eye, a coffee and espresso combo, or delicious pastries.

528 E. 43rd St. | 773.536.0494

Chicago’s Home of Chicken & Waffles

  • Soul Food

Popular with locals and visitors, Chicago’s Home of Chicken & Waffles serves delicious specialties in a stylish, efficient dining room. Diners are encouraged to discover the delicious affinity between chicken and waffles.

3947 S. King Dr. | 773.536.3300

Le Fleur de Lis

  • Southern

Opened by New Orleans natives on a mission to bring real New Orleans food to Chicago, this Bronzeville restaurant features a weekly Sunday jazz brunch, and authentic gumbo, po’ boys, jambalya and other Creole classics for dinner.

301 E. 43rd St. | 773.268.8770

Mississippi’s Ricks

  • Barbeque

Located in the back corner of a strip mall, this unassuming barbeque joint serves up some mean ribs doused in their signature sauce or with jerk spices. They also do a selection of other staples, like chicken wings and catfish.

3351 S. King Dr. | 312.791.0090

Mother Butter’s Popcorn Confectionary

  • Dining

New to the neighborhood, Mother Butter’s is serving up great homemade popcorn in all sorts of flavors as well as candies and fudge.

17 W. 35th St. | 773.548.7677

Pearl’s Place

  • Soul Food

Serving up ‘southern soul food with a creole touch’, Pearl’s is known for their golden fried chicken, barbeque ribs and other comfort food.

3901 S. Michigan Ave. | 773.285.1700

Rick’s Munchies

  • Sandwiches

For fresh, healthy eats in Bronzeville, Rick’s Munchies is the place for adults and families conscious of their food choices.

3511 S. King Dr. | 773.536.3500



  • Men’s Clothing

A partner store to Kenwood’s Fort Smith, Agriculture is classic yet hip and above all, sharp. A warm smile and—get this—an antique motorcycle display greet visitors and young professionals. Come mingle at the wine tastings on Fridays (5–8 pm).

532 E. 43rd St. | 773.538.5500

New Age Chicago Furniture

  • Home & Garden

A fourth-generation home furnishing store opened by Russian immigrants, New Age boasts a huge selection and competitive prices.

4238 S. Cottage Grove Ave. | 773.285.3765

Sensual Steps

  • Shoe Stores

Sensual Steps carries contemporary and quality women’s shoes and accessories by American and Italian designers.

4518 S. Cottage Grove Ave. | 773.548.3338


Chicago Poetry Tour

  • Audio & Self-Guided

The Chicago Poetry Tour, produced by the Poetry Foundation, is a chance to experience the history of the city through poetry. Featuring a range of Chicago poets past and present—Gwendolyn Brooks, Carl Sandburg, Li-Young Lee, Haki Madhubuti, Lisel Mueller, Stuart Dybek, and many more—and addressing a variety of neighborhoods and landmarks—the Loop, Bronzeville, Bucktown, Maxwell Street, Haymarket, Pilsen, and New Chinatown among them—the tour includes archival and contemporary recordings of poets and scholars, local music, and historic photographs. The tour can be experienced virtually online at, or downloaded into an mp3 player. FREE.

Free Admission | 78 E. Washington St. | 312-787-7070

The Great Migration: African American Heritage

  • Bus,
  • Walking

This Chicago Neighborhood Tour takes you to historic Bronzeville to see hallmarks of arts, music and culture in this vibrant community that generations of African Americans built following the Great Migration from the South in the early 20th century.

77 E. Randolph St. | 312.742.1190 (TTY: 312.744.2947)


Bud Billiken® Parade and Picnic

  • Kid and Family Events,
  • Parades

The Bud Billiken® Parade and Picnic is nation’s largest such event. It will have more than 350 units comprising of floats, marching bands, dance teams, vehicles, bands and national celebrities.

Free Admission | King Dr. & 39th St. | 773.536.3710

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