Metropolitan Community Church


Chicago Church Tour 3/3:
The role of black churches in the Civil Rights Movement was crucial. Black churches were economically connected to their black communities through tithes and association. This situation created a level of black autonomy, where other black organizations were clandestinely controlled or hindered by links to white society. Consequently black churches flourished and evolved into not only a place of worship but as a center for political activism. Civil rights leaders, ministers, and union organizations utilized this platform with remarkable results within their black communities.

The Metropolitan Community Church on 41st and South Park Way (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive) was such a platform. A. Phillip Randolph, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, held meetings and gave numerous speeches there. For example, on July 1, 1943 A. Phillip Randolph presided over a meeting of 500 delegates of the March on Washington Movement at this church. This movement was established to address the concerns of segregation and discrimination within the United States government. Other Civil Rights leaders who spoke that day were Dr. Lawrence M. Ervin, an eastern director of the March on Washington Movement and Lawrence D. Reddick, the curator of the Schomburg collection of Negro literature in New York City. In addition, on March 18, 1945, A. Phillip Randolph presided over a rally sponsored by the Chicago citizens fair employment practice committee, and on March 14, 1943, Congressman William A. Rowan before the Chicago Citizens Committee of one thousand people assured that a newly introduced civil rights bill was legitimate; both of these events were held at the Metorpolitan Community Church.

To begin this tour see Woodlawn A.M.E. on 65th and Evans Avenue.

Labor Trail




E 41st St & S Dr Martin L King Jr Dr

Labor Trail

The Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies (CCWCS) is proud to present the Interactive Labor Trail, made possible by a generous grant from the Illinois Humanities Council. This on-line history resource builds on “The Labor Trail: Chicago's History of Working-Class Life and Struggle,” a map of 140 significant locations in the history of labor, migration, and working-class culture in Chicago and Illinois. The Labor Trail is the product of a joint effort to showcase the many generations of dramatic struggles and working-class life in the Chicago area's rich and turbulent past. The Trail's neighborhood tours invite you to get acquainted with the events, places, and people -- often unsung -- who have made the city what it is today. In addition, the statewide map is just a starting point for further exploration of Illinois' labor heritage. This Interactive Labor Trail expands the number of locations and provides a greater depth of information, while giving map users the chance to add their knowledge of locations and events in the Chicago area’s working-class history.

We invite all individuals, groups, and institutions interested in the labor and working-class history of Chicago, Cook County, the Calumet Region, and Illinois to contribute to the map. Users can add new sites, edit or build upon existing entries with additional text, photographs, primary sources, audio and video files, as well as links to related websites.

Easy-to-use instructions for adding to the on-line version of the map are available at

More information on the Chicago Center for Working-Class Studies is available at:

The Labor Trail: Chicago's History of Working-Class Life and Struggle

Project Director:
Leon Fink, University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Advisors:
Tobias Higbie, Newberry Library
Lisa Oppenheim, Chicago Metro History Education Center
Liesl Miller Orenic, Dominican University

Administrative Director:
Jeffrey Helgeson, University of Illinois at Chicago

Project Assistants:
Aaron Max Berkowitz, University of Illinois at Chicago; John H. Flores, University of Illinois at Chicago; Erik Gellman, Northwestern University; Dan Harper, University of Illinois at Chicago; Emily LaBarbera-Twarog, University of Illinois at Chicago

Web Design:
William Atwood and Melissa Palmer