Bronzeville by Night, Archibald Motley
The large expanse of Chicago’s South Side today called Bronzeville (“the Black Metropolis”) evolved into one Chicago’s most dynamic and elegant communities in the late 1800s. Fairly affluent and solidly middle class by the mid-30s, it was the site of Chicago’s version of the Harlem Renaissance and was home to many famous African-Americans, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Coleman, Ida B Wells, Andrew Foster, and many more.
In the last decades of the 20th Century the community fell victim to the patterns of urban struggles that afflicted many South Side neighborhoods, as well as other major urban centers (e.g. Detroit, Philadephia, New York City) at that time. Today, however, the neighborhood is seeing major community-driven revitalization efforts, mostly by wealthy and entrepreneurial African-Americans who value the neighborhood’s historic importance. Historic clubs are reopening, and there are a handful of nice coffee shops and restaurants that have opened in recent years. More so than the present, however, the principal attraction remains the neighborhood’s rich history.
Check out the following resources for more information on Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood: