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"Obama Library In Bronzeville" Campaign

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Bronzeville advocate says bid for presidential library is not a tug of war

By: Stacia D. Smith, Medill News, Mar 6, 2014. The only remaining piece of the Michael Reese...

U. of C. says it's deferring to Obamas on library

President should pick Chicago location, university official says March 07, 2014|By Dahleen Glanton...

Mayor Emanuels Moves To Control Selection Process

POSTED ON JANUARY 22, 2014 Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Chicago needs to put forth a unified bid...

Presidential Library Sought for Bronzeville

Presidential Library sought for Bronzeville Residents living in one South Side community said they...

Black Metropolis Presents Bronzeville's Case

Bronzeville pitches Michael Reese site for Presidential Library The Black Metropolis Convention...

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Bronzeville Visitor Information Center Activities

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Celebrate the Arts in Bronzeville

Celebrate the Arts in Bronzeville! in a weekend of events at the Bronzeville Visitor Information...

Illinois Governor's 2014 Conference on Travel & Tourism

Illinois Governor's 2014 Conference on Travel & Tourism

The Illinois Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism The Illinois Governor’s Conference on...

Discussing The Book "High Rise Stories"


Reliving Bronzeville's "Jazz Age"

Jazz @ BVIC Approximately 80 avid jazz lovers converged on the Bronzeville Visitor Information Center...

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African-American Heritage Tourism Initiatives

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Bike Share in Bronzeville

Bike Share in Bronzeville

  Bike share, not white share: can Chicago’s program achieve diversity? - The Community expresses its interest.   Eboni Hawkins (standing right in photo) from provides...

43rd St. El

News from the Alderman regarding  Heritage Entertainment Zone 3 I am happy to announce that the 43rd Street El Station will be the  first station on the Green Line to receive a facelift as part of...

A Green Rosenwald

This is an innovative, creative vision of the Rosenwald Building becoming a self-contained green building project anchoring the western end of the 47th Street commercial business district in Bronzeville....

U. S. Travel Promotion Initiative

Published on Department of Commerce ( The travel...

Job Fair

Written by Romell Downer Thursday, 21 August 2014 14:32

Beyond the Loop

Written by Romell Downer Friday, 25 July 2014 14:11

Beyond the Loop: Bronzeville

Courtesy of Choose Chicago

This episode of Beyond the Loop explores the historic Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. We get things started appropriately at the annual Gospel Music Festival, after all, the community is considered by many as the birthplace of Gospel Music. Holly and Edgar head over to Gallery Guichard to learn about the history of Bronzeville through this African diaspora art gallery. Holly goes to taste some of Chicago’s finest chicken and waffles while Edgar heads over to Pearl's Place to try the soul food with local musician JC Brooks from the band JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound.

Click the link to view the video: Beyond the Loop Adventure

Obama Presidential Library

Written by Romell Downer Tuesday, 24 June 2014 14:45

HOK Proposes Obama Presidential Library for Bronzeville site in Chicago


To read more about the design and the proposed plan click the link below.




Obama Library Bid

Written by Romell Downer Monday, 23 June 2014 13:59

Obama Presidential Library Bid


Check out Paula Robinson as she talks about the Obama Presidential Library bid.

CBS NEWS: Chicago

FOX NEWS: Chicago

BVIC Celebrates Gospel Fest

Written by Romell Downer Monday, 23 June 2014 13:45








Harold Lucas


E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Web site:

BVIC Celebrates Gospel Fest at Ellis Park

BRONZEVILLE- Bronzeville Visitor’s Information Center will be celebrating one Chicago’s biggest summer events this upcoming weekend. The Chicago Gospel Music Festival is one of the city’s oldest music festivals, dating back to the early 1900’s. The Chicago Gospel Music Festival keeps tradition alive June 27-29 with multiple stages around the city including the Chicago Cultural Center. The main stage will be at Ellis Park located in the beautiful, historic Bronzeville. Some of this year’s acts include Mary, Mary’s Erica Campbell, the Mississippi Mass Choir, and Kurt Carr

BVIC will continue its efforts in community outreach at this year’s Gospel Festival. BVIC has secured a table and will be passing out traffic safety literature and speaking to young African-American men ages 17-34 about the organization’s “Be Street Smart” campaign. The “Be Street Smart” campaign is a continued partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation and the University of Illinois-Chicago. In addition, BVIC will also be offering information on their walking and bus tours.


For more information, participation or reservations for this historic event, please call Harold Lucas at 773-819-2055.

On The Table

Written by Romell Downer Monday, 16 June 2014 09:51


On The Table

Conversations courtesy of the Chicago Community Trust Foundation


On May 12, community leaders across the Chicago region gathered friends and colleagues to participate in an initiative spawned by the Chicago Community Trust called "On the Table". As part of the Chicago Community Trust's 99th and 100th anniversary celebration, the Trust decided to do a little something different. The "On the Table" initiative was designed to bring Chicagoans together to discuss and share ideas on how to make Chicago better. The "On the Table" strategy was designed to engage people all over the community from youth, to community leaders attempting to reach everyone and give a diverse audience the opportunity to have their voice heard....




Dr. Vincent Harding

Written by Romell Downer Tuesday, 03 June 2014 10:37

Dr. Vincent Harding Calls to Make America America

By: Marian Wright Edelman

Dr. Vincent Harding, author, activist, and a close friend of Dr. Martin Luther King.

When my brother friend Dr. Vincent Harding passed away May 19 at age 82, we lost a beloved historian, theologian, social justice activist, and visionary who never lost sight of the “beloved community” his friend and colleague Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. believed our nation and world could become.

During the Civil Rights Movement Vincent Harding was a close confidant of Dr. King. He helped draft several of Dr. King’s speeches, including the landmark 1967 antiwar sermon “Beyond Vietnam” and later served as the first director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center in Atlanta. His books include the powerful essay collection Martin Luther King: The Inconvenient Hero, where he reminded us that too many enshrine Dr. King the dreamer and ignore Dr. King the “disturber of all unjust peace.” Vincent Harding taught at Pendle Hill Study Center, the University of Pennsylvania, Spelman College, and Temple University and spent more than three decades at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado, where he founded and chaired the Veterans of Hope Project. The project’s mission is to encourage a healing, intergenerational approach to social justice activism that recognizes the interconnectedness of spirit, creativity, and citizenship—a mission he passionately embraced.

Click the link to read the full article.

The Case for Reparations

Written by Romell Downer Saturday, 24 May 2014 12:54

To check out the full article provided by The Atlantic click the link below.

Feature: The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates


Chicago Blues Museum Exhibit

Written by Romell Downer Monday, 12 May 2014 14:37

Museum Displays Blues, ‘Soul of Bronzeville’



Blues lovers and history fanatics can sway to the smooth sound of saxophones, and the soulful voices of famous blues singers playing softly in the background, as they view the Chicago Blues Museum’s latest exhibition, “The Soul of Bronzeville.”

The exhibit tells its story, mainly of how music played a major role in the lives of African Americans in Chicago, through text, photographs, film and memorabilia from the museum’s archives. The set-up of the room encourages visitors to first learn about the Great Migration that more than 6 million Blacks made from the South to the North, Midwest and West between 1916 and 1970. And then from there, learn the role of the Black press, including the Chicago Defender, and of the city’s nightlife, record producing and radio stations.

This can all be seen at the University of Illinois-Chicago through Aug. 1. The exhibit is free and open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the African-American Cultural Center located on the second floor of UIC’s Addams Hall, 830 S. Halsted St. After-hours tours can be accommodated if scheduled in advance.

Lori D. Barcliff Baptista, director of the university’s African-American Cultural Center, said that many southerners brought their musical skills to the North during the Great Migration, which over time, became the Blues. Their skills were “honed” in Bronzeville, she told The Defender, because segregation kept them from performing at other venues.

“We had to start with some context about Bronzeville as a city within a city, and tell a little bit of the story of the Great Migration and how Chicago Blues was really created here, coming out of migrants [who] brought with them certain forms and styles, but really developed them here,” Baptista said.

UIC’s theme this year has been “migration and transformation,” so finding ways to look at different cultures and their diverse experiences was important, she added.

Patrons can expect to learn how nightclubs and the blues played a significant role in African-Americans’ lives. Newspaper articles and photographs of historical buildings like the Regal Theater, where entertainers like Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday and Ray Charles performed are spread throughout the open space.

Bronzeville was once home to famous clubs like club DeLisa (1935), which provided many up-and-coming Black entertainers a platform to get their name and talent out in front of the public. Photographs and a chronological timeline are available for visitors to view.

Longtime residents like eminent historian Timuel Black said the exhibition succeeded in capturing how music played a significant role in many African-Americans’ lives.

“I think in a very general sense, it does a very good job,” he said. “It tells the story of those in Chicago and what [music] meant to residents of the South side, in particular, those that were listeners and supporters of the Blues.”

Even though people were affected by the Great Depression, the music kept many souls lifted during the difficult time, Black said.

“Jazz, blues and gospel were part of that spiritual part of our lives; it gave [us] joy, hope and dreams,” he said.

But the exhibit isn’t just for students and faculty, Baptista said.

“Earlier in the planning process, when we decided we were going to work with the Chicago Blues Museum to present the exhibition here, I convened a meeting with folks from some of the major community organizations and institutions,” she said.

Some of those organizations included Centers for New Horizons, the Bronzeville Visitor Information Center and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Gregg Parker, founder and CEO of the Chicago Blues Museum declined to comment. Harold Lucas, 72, is the executive director at the Bronzeville Visitor Information Tourist Center and he said the exhibit might also bring more people to Bronzeville, which will help with tourism.

Lucas also said his organization supports the exhibition because it showcases what Blues was to African-Americans in the 1930s through the 1950s.

“Blues is music of that struggle of coming from the South to the North,” he said.

The music that developed in Chicago, also became the foundation for many other genres, such as jazz and gospel, Lucas said. “The style that formed in neighborhoods like Bronzeville eventually spread internationally. We had one of the wealthiest communities in the midst of the [Great] Depression.”

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