Bronzeville Neighborhood Tour


The Bronzeville community areas (primarily Douglas and Grand Boulevard) became Chicago's first majority African American neighborhoods during the Great Migration between World War I and 1929. Black migrants formed successful institutions, including civic associations, churches, and some businesses to cater to their newfound community. The Depression led many African Americans to seek more radical solutions to racial discrimination in employment and housing, and to create a cultural renaissance that embraced a black working-class artistic perspective. The loss of industrial jobs and the departure of many African Americans who could afford to seek better housing in other areas contributed to the neighborhood's decline in the 1950s. At the same time, community groups and real estate interests persistently worked to sustain their neighborhoods, and recently have endeavored to revive the once thriving "Black Metropolis."

Important sites in Bronzeville include:

*Chicago Urban League offices
*Home of Harold Washington
*Chicago Defender Building
*Giles Armory
*Victory Monument
*Associated Negro Press/Supreme Life Insurance Co.
*Soldiers’ Home
*Sunset Cafe
*Bronzeville YMCA
*South Side Community Art Center
*Ida B. Wells Homes
*The Forum
*Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
*Liberty Baptist Church
*Benjamin Franklin Store
"*Cigar Store" Policy Wheel

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