Where to Learn Black History in Chicago

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Black History Month is right around the corner. Whether you want to find your Black roots, want to be an informed ally, or are simply curious about black history in Chicago, these places will bring you back in time and show you the most authentic narrative of black history in our beloved windy city. There are also other historical landmarks across Chicagoland.

DuSable Museum of African American History

740 E 56th Pl, Chicago, IL 60637

DuSable Museum is one of the most famous, and best places to learn about black history in Chicago if you are not sure where to get started. As the nation’s oldest independent African American museum, DuSable Museum is now officially 60 years old. With comprehensive programming, ample amount of online and offline resources for scholars and the general public alike, and a unique, personable narrative, DuSable’s rotating exhibitions, online articles, and archives have always been a treasure land for those truly wanting to learn about Chicago’s past.

As always, museums have faced some challenging times due to the pandemic. Therefore, if you enjoyed your time at DuSable Museum, don’t hesitate to check out their donation page and make a contribution.

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Posted by National Museum of Gospel Music on Saturday, April 11, 2020

National Museum of Gospel Music

3301 S Indiana Ave, Chicago, IL, Chicago, IL 60616

Formerly Pilgrim Baptist Church, this congregation ground marketing Chicago’s history has been transformed into the new National Museum of Gospel Music. Featuring multigenerational programming and educational exhibits, the Museum is here to rejuvenate Gospel Music — an inseparable cultural piece in black history.

The Museum’s auditorium holds up to 350 people and is perfect for a digital concert stream. You’ll also find exclusive video archives and collections of the Stellar Gospel Music Awards programming, and an audio library for those wanting to research more about Gospel Music.

Bronzeville Visitor Information Center

411 E 35th St, Chicago, IL 60653

Overseen by the Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Council, the Visitor Information Center is here to promote and preserve black culture and history within the Black Metropolis National Heritage Area. Therefore, this is another great place for those wanting an overview of black history in Chicago. The information center also hosts educational tours to historic landmarks in Bronzeville from time to time.

Monument of the Northern Migration

345 E Eastgate Pl, Chicago, IL 60616

Created by Alison Saar back in 1994, the Monument honors the African American population who migrated from southern regions to Chicago from 1910 to 1970. This migration involved over six million African Americans and is itself the very proof of what our country believes in: that people have the natural right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

When looking closer, you’ll notice the male figure of the monument is dressed in worn soles, indicating the distance and hardship of the migration course.

Victory Monument

3500 S Martin Luther King Dr, Chicago, IL 60653

The Victory Monument was created by Leonard Crunelle honoring an African-American unit that served during WWI — the 8th Regiment of the Illinois National Guard. The monument has been standing since 1972. There is also an annual Memorial Day ceremony held at the Monument.

Bronzeville Walk of Fame

The Bronzeville Walk of Fame begins at 25th Street and ends at 35th Street. The 10-block-span sidewalk along King Drive has been turned into an honorable walk for influential African Americans and Bronzeville residents, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Sam Cooke, Ida B. Wells, and more. The walk consists of 91 bronze plaques in total and each tells you a few achievements acquired by that individual during their lifetime.

The Historic Chess Studio

2120 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Now occupied and maintained by the Blues Heaven Foundation, the Historic Chess Studio was where Dixon made musical history. This small studio helped propel a Chicago record label into a first-class, top-tier label in the music world. According to many musicians, Chess Recording changed the course of music history by introducing blues music to the world.

MLK Day at Chicago History Museum

1601 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614

And finally, let’s not forget the Chicago History Museum and their annual MLK Day family event. Come honor and celebrate significant moments and figures in history, and lift up Dr. King’s accomplishments. This event is free to Illinois residents, or free with general museum admission for non-residents.

Featured Image Credit: DuSable Museum of African American History

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