Named after Chicago’s first Afro-American Mayor, Harold Washington Cultural Center is a 1000 seat performance theater located in the Grand Boulevard community area of Chicago. It was originally to be named the Lou Rawls Cultural Center, but Alderman Tillman changed the name without telling Rawls.
The Center is located on a historical corner in the historical Bronzeville neighborhood. The intersection at 47th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive (formerly South Park) was at one time one of the most storied intersections in the Afro-American culture. As the location of the former Regal Theatre, it played host to the most prominent icons in African-American music such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington regularly. The corner provided fodder for national gossip columnists and for the dreams of Black American youth. The Bronzeville neighborhood was at one time the city’s center of Black cultural, business and political life. It was also the former home to famous musicians such as Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller, as well as legendary blues artist Willie Dixon and many more.