WBEZ | Bronzeville http://www.wbez.org/tags/bronzeville Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Digging up the history of a Civil War camp on Chicago's South Side http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/digging-history-civil-war-camp-chicagos-south-side-110969 <p><p dir="ltr">For days now, students and volunteers have dug up parts of a Bronzeville school yard on South Giles Avenue. They worked inside a bright orange net on a grassy field next to Pershing East Magnet School. This was once the southwest corner of Camp Douglas... and they&rsquo;re looking for proof.</p><p dir="ltr">Chris Brink is one of about a dozen DePaul University students and alumni which worked with the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. So far, there&rsquo;s been four digs of the 60-acre site. It&rsquo;s believed over 30,000 union soldiers trained and lived here before heading East for battle.</p><p dir="ltr">Previous digs have turned up a few nails, glass, and what they believe to be the main building&rsquo;s foundation.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/keller.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 280px; float: left;" title="David Keller, the managing director of the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. (Andrew Gill/WBEZ) " />David Keller is with the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. He said the problem with a dig like this, in an urban area, is that things have been built and torn down, sewers have been put in, lights have been erected and a lot of the historical stuff has been disrupted.</p><p dir="ltr">The goal of the excavation is to uncover enough relics to fill the museum they plan to build. But it&rsquo;s also a lesson in how history is recorded. Most of the primary sources of the camp come from old letters and <em>Chicago Tribune</em> stories.</p><p dir="ltr">And Brink said relics could paint a better picture of daily life at the camp.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It sheds light on to stuff that&rsquo;s not in the history books. So, basically we are rewriting history,&rdquo; Brink said. &ldquo;And to do that, you need to go out and find it.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">And this includes the darker parts of the sites history; its reputation as a &ldquo;death camp.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">After the Union captured Tennessee&rsquo;s Fort Donelson, the federal government needed to find places to house thousands of confederate prisoners. A third of Camp Douglas&rsquo;s 200 buildings housed POWs.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/turner.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="Bernard Turner, a director of the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation. (Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" />And many of these confederate soldiers were not used to Chicago&rsquo;s harsh winters. Thousands died of pneumonia, smallpox and malaria.</p><p dir="ltr">The Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation&rsquo;s Bernard Turner said many historians don&rsquo;t want to think about their archeological site.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A lot of people see the sign &lsquo;Camp Douglas&rsquo;, and they have a negative feeling about it,&quot; Turner said. &ldquo;And so what we&rsquo;re trying to do is let everyone know, that is not the only part of the story.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Turner is focused on community outreach, which included a partnership with the surrounding public schools.</p><p dir="ltr">They had local third graders sift through the dirt, while seventh graders wrote stories on the findings.</p><p dir="ltr">Turner said one of the biggest problems they had in engaging the community was that young people, particularly of color, don&rsquo;t know the history of their own neighborhoods.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;In this particular case, they go to school here and they don&rsquo;t even know what&rsquo;s right under their own noses,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">And right under their noses, is another forgotten part of Camp Douglas&rsquo;s history.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/embed4.jpg" title="(Andrew Gill/WBEZ)" /></div><p dir="ltr">This was one of the few Union camps that received and trained some of the around 180,000 African-American soldiers who fought in the war.</p><p dir="ltr">Turner and Keller highlighted this link because it gave students a sense of pride and connection to their past.</p><p dir="ltr">Keller said the goal is to have the community get a better sense of its own history.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You really are digging a timeline of the community. So, it&rsquo;s just as important for us what we find from the Bronzeville area,&rdquo; Keller said.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="226" scrolling="no" src="http://gfycat.com/ifr/ShamelessBestBison" style="-webkit-backface-visibility: hidden;-webkit-transform: scale(1);" width="402"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><span style="font-size:10px;">Above: Volunteers show the excavation process as they hunt for remains of the Camp Douglas prisoner of war camp.</span></strong></p><p dir="ltr">Southside Resident Sir Cedric Liggens helped with the dig.</p><p dir="ltr">He said people from the community would stop, ask questions, and seemed to take a general interest in what they were doing</p><p dir="ltr">Liggens enjoyed the process.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s human record. And It&rsquo;s going back and reviewing your own records,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;What was here, what happened, who was here, who did what. And it&rsquo;s a really good way to learn something from what already happened.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Monday, for the first time in over 150 years, the community raises an official marker commemorating the site.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Corrected Oct. 21: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of African American soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War. The correct number is around 180,000.</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em>Claudia Morell covers business as a WBEZ intern. You can follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/claudiamorell" target="_blank">@claudiamorell</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/digging-history-civil-war-camp-chicagos-south-side-110969 Bronzeville's vibrant past comes to life in new art exhibit http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bronzevilles-vibrant-past-comes-life-new-art-exhibit-110184 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Bronzeville art 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Bronzeville on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side was once home to cultural giants like Nat King Cole and Gwendolyn Brooks. But a current art exhibit reveals another side of the neighborhood.</p><p><a href="http://www.hydeparkart.org/exhibitions/samantha-hill-topographical-depictions-of-the-bronzeville-renaissance">&ldquo;Topographical Depictions of the Bronzeville Renaissance&rdquo; </a>by Samantha Hill is currently on display at the Hyde Park Art Center.</p><p>Family pictures of ordinary people drape the walls. Period music and oral recorded interviews play in the background. Old photographs are clipped to clotheslines.</p><p>&ldquo;I like the idea of the clotheslines because it kind of simulates a timeline but I can play with it a bit more. I like the idea of hanging the pictures like I&rsquo;m hanging laundry. These are peoples&rsquo; personal memories and artifacts,&rdquo; Hill said.</p><p>The date of the pictures range from 1919 to 1985 and were supplied by the <a href="http://bronzevillehistoricalsociety.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">Bronzeville Historical Society</a>. Hill said she chose pictures that conveyed the feeling of Bronzeville &ndash; children preparing for communion, men returning from war, couples at nightclubs or a grandfather reading a book.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s quite a few photographs of this gentleman named Earl Washington,&rdquo; Hill noted. &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll see throughout the decades he&rsquo;s always doing handstands so there&rsquo;s like a million photographs of that!&rdquo;</p><p>Visitors can respond by writing post-it notes around the photos. As the exhibit draws to a close, Hill said more than 200 post-its have now taken over the gallery. And there&rsquo;s still time for the public to share their brief ruminations.</p><p>&ldquo;I hope they come in, listen to the stories, view the photographs throughout history and then be transported to another period of time, and hopefully leave their mark as well.&rdquo;</p><p><em>The exhibit closes May 18. The Hyde Park Art Center is at 5020 S. Cornell Ave. Hill&#39;s installation is a satellite exhibition of a city-wide project produced at Columbia College called &ldquo;RISK: Empathy, Art and Social Practice&quot; colum.edu/risk. </em></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a></em></p><p><em>Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Wed, 14 May 2014 17:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bronzevilles-vibrant-past-comes-life-new-art-exhibit-110184 Mariano's plans to open store in Bronzeville http://www.wbez.org/news/marianos-plans-open-store-bronzeville-110181 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/grocery-store_140514_nm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mariano&rsquo;s, the deluxe grocery chain that&rsquo;s swiftly spreading throughout the Chicago region, is planning a store in Bronzeville.</p><p>The new store will offer fresh food to a neighborhood starved for better options. Mariano&rsquo;s is expected create 400 jobs and start construction in 2015 at 39th and King Drive, the site of the former Ida B. Wells public housing development. For several years the grassy land has been empty and behind it sits the Oakwood Shores mixed-income housing development.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he&rsquo;s been working with CEO Bob Mariano to open the eponymous chain throughout the city.</p><p>&ldquo;I think he felt while it&rsquo;s not a quote unquote traditional food desert, it is underrepresented and given the population, it&rsquo;s a prime market,&rdquo; Emanuel said. &ldquo;This is a first of a number of stores over a number of years that he&rsquo;s going to be producing on the South Side.&rdquo;</p><p>Mariano&rsquo;s has taken the grocery market by storm, recently snapping up several closed Dominick&rsquo;s. In 2013, just four Mariano&rsquo;s operated in the city of Chicago. By the end of this year there will be 29 stores in the city and suburbs.</p><p>Bronzeville is a historic black neighborhood that&rsquo;s struggled to realize a full renaissance over the last two decades. A full-service grocery store has long been on the neighborhood wish list. Many residents shop in the South Loop or Hyde Park for quality groceries. Or they rely on small corner stores. In 2009, the Milwaukee-based Roundy&#39;s Supermarket &ndash; the parent company of Mariano&rsquo;s &ndash; announced a store at 39th and State Street. It never happened.</p><p>&ldquo;Our community welcomes stores like this that will encourage job growth while reusing vacant land for community purposes. The store will bring new employment opportunities for our residents and turn a vacant parcel of land into a bustling destination for people throughout the Bronzeville area to shop. Additionally, our community needs more retail developments like Mariano&rsquo;s that will generate taxes, serve our residents and welcome visitors to our area,&rdquo; said Stephen Mitchell a resident who&rsquo;s part of the Bronzeville Neighborhood Collaborative.</p><p>The mayor said no tax increment financing dollars, or TIFs, will be used to bankroll the project. Johnson and Lee Architects, a minority-owned architecture firm, has been tapped for the 74,000-sq. ft. store. The development is a joint venture between John Bonds of Safeway Construction and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.&nbsp;</p><p>The deal hinges on a land sale agreement with the Chicago Housing Authority, which has lagged behind in its mixed-income housing strategy and thus has large swaths of unused land. CHA has been considering other uses for open land. The developer has agreed to purchase the property for $5.5 million after a quibble over the worth of the land. The CHA board is expected to approve the sale at next week&rsquo;s meeting.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s South Side Bureau reporter. Email her at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a><u>.</u>&nbsp;Follow her on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 14 May 2014 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/marianos-plans-open-store-bronzeville-110181 Englewood, Bronzeville wait for mayor’s ‘opportunity’ plan to pay off http://www.wbez.org/news/englewood-bronzeville-wait-mayor%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98opportunity%E2%80%99-plan-pay-108297 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/opportunity neighborhood_130806_nm.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Englewood and Bronzeville are two black, South Side neighborhoods facing unique yet separate challenges.</p><p>Englewood is decades off from anything close to resembling gentrification. The neighborhood is known more for its crime, poverty and vast swaths of empty land starved for development. Historic Bronzeville is close to Lake Michigan and downtown. A new, black middle class bought and rehabbed stunning greystones. Yet retail and amenities have greatly lagged.</p><p>Both of these communities could use a boost and that&rsquo;s what Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is now promising.</p><p>Last spring, Emanuel designated seven city neighborhoods as so-called &ldquo;<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2013/march_2013/mayor_emanuel_announcesopportunityareasaspartoflong-termstrategi.html" target="_blank">opportunity areas</a>.&rdquo; The idea was to target public and private development in these communities to help attract much needed investment. Englewood and Bronzeville are two of the communities, but some residents there still aren&rsquo;t clear on what the opportunity strategy means.</p><p>&ldquo;I wanted to approach our neighborhood development strategy different. In a more coordinated fashion. I said we have an unprecedented amount of infrastructure investment. We should bring coordinated investment for greater value for our neighborhoods,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s plan for the neighborhoods is long on hope but short on details. Some of what he&rsquo;s touting was already in the works. So how does this new opportunity designation actually help these areas?</p><p>Let&rsquo;s visit Englewood first.</p><p>On a recent summer Saturday some residents got together in Sherwood Park, which has a reputation for being dangerous. Englewood activist Asiaha Butler was there helping facilitate what she calls &ldquo;positive loitering.&rdquo; As children ran in an open field, Frankie Beverly and Maze&rsquo;s &ldquo;Happy Feelin&rsquo;s&rdquo; blared over the DJ&rsquo;s speakers.</p><p>&ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t shocked that Englewood would be a target place. We&rsquo;re the poster child of the urban area gone wrong. So if you had any type of opportunities or things from the mayor, I definitely think we&rsquo;d be the ones chosen for that,&rdquo; Butler said.</p><p>As part of the opportunity strategy Emanuel said his office will help develop 2,500 city-owned vacant lots in Englewood. That could mean the kind of urban agriculture that has already turned some empty lots into vegetable gardens &ndash; in an area overrun with fast-food joints. Butler said she&rsquo;s fine with that model, to a degree.</p><p>&ldquo;What I&rsquo;m afraid of is that is that it may be too much,&rdquo; Butler said. &ldquo;That scares me a little bit because I&rsquo;m not a farmer and I don&rsquo;t know what to do with all this land. I&rsquo;d like to see more activities in these spaces and not just gardens; I think it could be something more,&rdquo; she continued.</p><p>But according to Butler, the city&rsquo;s top-down approach hasn&rsquo;t left much room for community input. She says resident leaders aren&rsquo;t in the loop about future plans or an overall vision for the neighborhood.</p><p>&ldquo;I would want to see more sitting areas with the vacant lots. Definitely more retail and the commercial corridor district and even developing more commercial retail,&rdquo; Butler said.</p><p>One of Emanuel&rsquo;s bullet points for Englewood is a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/englewood-residents-fight-environmental-safeguards-during-rail-yard-expansion-105823" target="_blank">railyard expansion by Norfolk Southern</a> that&rsquo;s supposed to inject economic vitality. But the controversial project will demolish homes in Englewood and could lead to an increase in air pollution.</p><p>Another bullet point is leveraging Kennedy-King College as a community anchor on 63rd Street. But that&rsquo;s been a struggle ever since the new facility opened several years ago, and it&rsquo;s not clear how the opportunity area will change that.</p><p>One thing that might help neighborhood development is tax increment financing, or TIFs. It&rsquo;s a tool that collects local property taxes from specific areas and then puts it in a fund with little oversight. Originally created to eradicate blight, TIFs tend to go to the rich and well-connected.</p><p>A close look at TIFs over the past decade in Englewood and Bronzeville&nbsp; &ndash; neighborhoods with no shortage of blight &ndash; shows no major retail activity. Most of the Bronzeville area TIFs helped build new mixed-income housing after the city demolished public-housing high rises.</p><p>&ldquo;Millions of dollars spent on primarily affordable housing, which is very important,&rdquo; says Bronzeville entrepreneur Bernard Loyd. But Loyd continued, &ldquo;If it is the only investment in the community, it&rsquo;s going to dramatically skew development in a direction that ultimately is not productive for the community.&rdquo;</p><p>Loyd&rsquo;s using TIF money for something other than housing. In 2010, the city council approved three million dollars in TIF funds for Loyd&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.urban-juncture.com/index.html" target="_blank">Urban Juncture</a>, which will be four restaurants with food from the African diaspora. The project, on 51st Street, will be a much needed oasis in a food desert.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not built yet, but the site is already an urban garden with kale and tomatoes and cooking pavillion.&nbsp; And a place where children can play tic tac toe and dominoes.</p><p>Still, Loyd&rsquo;s not sure what the city&rsquo;s larger vision is for the area.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re all excited to have Bronzeville named as an opportunity neighborhood and we would all agree that Bronzeville indeed is an opportunity neighborhood, so many unfilled needs. At the same time, I have yet to see a plan. There&rsquo;s language about opportunity but not much of a plan that says here&rsquo;s how we will capture the opportunity, here&rsquo;s how we will facilitate investment,&rdquo; Loyd said.</p><p>Another TIF project in Bronzeville is underway at 47th and Cottage Grove. Construction crews are building a Wal-Mart. Emanuel says he lured the retail giant as part of his Bronzeville plan &ndash; with hopes that it will spur additional retail investment. Right now some low-income and middle-class residents have to leave their South Side community just to go to a grocery store.</p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to ignore the race factor when looking at the lack of economic development in black communities. So I directly asked Emanuel about the stigmatization of race on the South Side.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, there&rsquo;s an economic and racial piece. On the other hand, our investment in Bronzeville will give some of the retailers &ndash; because it has all of the potential there &ndash; the confidence to come. They want to know it&rsquo;s stable and it&rsquo;s growing. We&rsquo;re not going to invest unless we also have that confidence and we&rsquo;re going to invest to give them the confidence to come to a Bronzeville,&rdquo; Emanuel said.</p><p>The mayor says that will soon include a deluxe grocery store on 39th Street.</p><p>But so far Mariano&rsquo;s is demurring.</p><p><strong>Here is a list of TIFs and their status in the Englewood and Bronzeville areas:</strong></p><ul dir="ltr"><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/49th_st_lawrencetif.html">49th/St. Lawrence</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/englewood_mall_tif.html">Englewood Mall TIF </a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/ryan_garfield_tif.html">Ryan/Garfield</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/43rd_cottage_grovetif.html">43rd/Cottage Grove</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/bronzeville_tif_.html">Bronzeville</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/24th_michigan_tif.html">24th/Michigan</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/englewood_neighborhoodtif.html">Englewood Neighborhood</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/47th_king_tif_.html">47th/King</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/lakefront_tif_.html">Lakefront</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/drexel_tif_.html">Drexel</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/madden_wells_tif.html">Madden/Wells</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/35th_state_tif.html">35th/State</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/40th_state_tif_.html">40th/State</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/47th_state_tif_.html">47th/State</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/26th_king_tif.html">26th/King</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/tif/pershing_king_tif.html">Pershing/King</a></li></ul><p><em>Natalie Moore is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/natalieymoore" target="_blank">@natalieymoore</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 09:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/englewood-bronzeville-wait-mayor%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98opportunity%E2%80%99-plan-pay-108297 South Side neighborhoods vie for presidential library http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/south-side-neighborhoods-vie-presidential-library-107926 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/lakeside-kari-lydersen.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>A biting wind blew off the lake. A group of Southeast Side residents pulled their coats tight and gazed north to the downtown skyline. On this raw March day, they stood on the northern edge of the former site of U.S. Steel&rsquo;s South Works mill. The plant closed in 1992, and now all you see is rubble, weeds and mud.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But LaMeise Turner and her neighbors envision a glorious future for this spot. &quot;I would love to see the Obama library here,&quot; Turner said. &quot;I think that would be good, it would give access not just to the neighborhood but to everybody. Because he&rsquo;s the first African American president, the first one from Chicago, so I think this is an ideal place for it.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It&rsquo;s right on the lake and the view is spectacular. Fertile mud from the Illinois River was trucked in to grow native plants and flowers. And if developers have their way, these hundreds of acres will be home to a glistening new neighborhood with tens of thousands of homes and businesses.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dan McCaffery, the developer spearheading the project known as Lakeside, said the Obama library would bolster this development and help revitalize the whole area. McCaffery said, &quot;I noticed in <em>Time</em> magazine September 2008, one quote of his is: &#39;I found my calling to public service in a community devastated by the loss of steel workers.&#39; So I think this would be a very nice way for him to put his imprint permanently in that community. We have a gorgeous site, sits on the lake, looks back at the city. So Dan McCaffery thinks Mr. President, you ought to be there.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are 13 official presidential libraries spread across the country. President Obama won&rsquo;t formally make the decision about his library until he&rsquo;s out of office. But the courtship has already begun.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There&rsquo;s no guarantee Obama&rsquo;s library will be in Chicago; the University of Hawaii is mulling a bid.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But the top contender appears to be the University of Chicago. Obama was on the law school faculty there for years, and Michelle Obama held administrative positions too. A university spokesman said it is &ldquo;premature&rdquo; to comment, but many people think it&rsquo;s a done deal.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This upsets Harold Lucas, who knew Obama in his days as a community organizer. Lucas said, &quot;I remember when he came to Chicago with his big ears sitting off his head, little bitty skinny guy. We went out to the Gardens. That&rsquo;s where I met him.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Lucas is president of the Black Metropolis Convention and Tourism Council in Bronzevile. He&rsquo;d like the library to go on the site of the old Michael Reese Hospital. &quot;Knowing that Bronzeville began in 1916, we want to celebrate our centennial in 2016; the cherry on the sundae would be the presidential library,&quot; Lucas said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Then there are at least two other Chicago candidates for the library. Like the U.S. Steel site, they are on the Far South Side where Obama cut his teeth in community organizing.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chicago State University has enlisted former State Senate President Emil Jones to lure the library to its campus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Others are pushing the historic Pullman neighborhood, near the Altgeld Gardens public housing complex. Tom Shepherd and other local history buffs have been trying for years to create a railroad museum in the old Pullman rail car factory.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The University of Chicago, they already have so many resources,&quot; Shepherd said. &quot;I&rsquo;m sure they&rsquo;re going to make a big push for it, but I just feel that by bringing some of the university resources out to a neighborhood like Pullman would help Pullman, help Roseland, the neighboring communities that are really troubled right now.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ed Gardner, 88, is founder of Soft Sheen products and a long-time proponent of African American empowerment and economic development.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He&rsquo;s been a major Obama supporter and donor. He&rsquo;s also a big backer of Lakeside Development on the U.S. Steel site, and he thinks the Obama library would be the crowning touch.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Downtown or even the University of Chicago, they have their pluses,&quot; Gardner said. &quot;But President Obama came from the people, and they&rsquo;re the ones who put him into office, who worked these streets on the South Side of Chicago and all of the state of Illinois and the whole country. He would want the world to come through this part of the city on their way to see the library.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chicagoans like Ed Gardner still feel a strong connection to the president. Just as Obama started his career trying to help Chicago communities, now the decision about the library could go a long way toward revitalizing the South Side.</div></p> Wed, 03 Jul 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/south-side-neighborhoods-vie-presidential-library-107926 Parishioners watch as demolition of historic Chicago church begins http://www.wbez.org/parishioners-watch-demolition-historic-chicago-church-begins-107879 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/130626_St. James demolition_kk.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>About a dozen parishioners stood outside in the rain Wednesday and watched as crews with sledgehammers started tearing down the roof of St. James Catholic Church in Chicago.</p><p>Parishioners have been<a href="http://friendsofstjamesonwabash.com/"> trying for months</a> to save the historic Bronzeville church designed by architect Patrick Keely in 1875.</p><p>At one point during the demolition, the small group of parishioners and preservationists broke out in a chorus of &ldquo;We Shall Overcome.&rdquo;</p><p>As pieces of the roof crashed down, author Mary Pat Kelly could be heard repeatedly crying, &ldquo;No.&rdquo;</p><p>Kelly wrote a book based on the life of her great-great-grandmother, who worshipped at St. James. The church is significant to the city&rsquo;s Irish history, Kelly said.</p><p>&ldquo;For the Irish community, this is an icon, this is a shrine. To knock it down is beyond belief, especially because since then, the African-American community has maintained it, and it has become a symbol of their triumph over adversity.&rdquo;</p><p>Another spectator, 10-year-old Evelyn Wright, was there with her mom, who went to school there. Evelyn said she was sad because her mom was sad.</p><p>&ldquo;Everybody&rsquo;s heartbroken,&rdquo; the girl said. &ldquo;You would never think that a place like this would - it would be tore down.&rdquo;</p><p>Preservationists said the church didn&rsquo;t need to be demolished. Ward Miller, board president of Preservation Chicago, said some developers were interested in restoring or reusing it.</p><p>A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Chicago declined to comment.</p><p><br />Katie Kather is an Arts and Culture reporting intern at WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/ktkather">@ktkather</a>.</p></p> Thu, 27 Jun 2013 08:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/parishioners-watch-demolition-historic-chicago-church-begins-107879 Morning Shift: Bronzeville seeks sustainable future to preserve past http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-04-24/morning-shift-bronzeville-seeks-sustainable-future <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bronzeville.jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-morning-shift-bronzeville-looks-to-a-sustainab.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/the-morning-shift-bronzeville-looks-to-a-sustainab" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Bronzeville looks to a sustainable future to preserve the past" on Storify</a>]<h1>Morning Shift: Bronzeville looks to a sustainable future to preserve the past</h1><h2>Paula Robinson of the Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission explains how the group is implementing sustainability plans like preserving the Lakefront and Washington Park in its pursuit of distinction as a &quot;Black Metropolis&quot;. </h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Wed, Apr 24 2013 09:03:38</p><div>20130307 37 CTA South Side L @ 35th Bronzeville IITdavidwilson1949</div><div><b>Retail and fast food workers strike</b><br><br>Sears workers Judy Luna explains some of the conditions and reasons that have her and other workers striking Wednesday morning in Chicago's Loop area.</div><div>Fight for 15Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago</div><div>Chicago fast food, retail workers plan strike todayCommunity organizers said they expect hundreds of fast food and retail workers in Chicago to walk off the job Wednesday in a campaign to ...</div><div><b>Chicago area home sales have 'awesome' month<br></b><br>Chicago magazine's Dennis Rodkin details how the Chicago area has bounced back from dismal sales.&nbsp;</div><div>Chicago Real Estate Was Awesome in March - Deal Estate - April 2013 - ChicagoGraphic: Courtesy of MREDLLC We may have had ridiculously cold weather in March, but the heat in the real estate market more than made up...</div><div><b>Bradley University student wins national speech contest</b><br><p><br>One college team dominating its field doesn’t strap oncleats, a helmet or even a jersey, and is a college you wouldn’t automaticallythink of:&nbsp;Bradley University. Its arena of choice is the podium,and the “players” are actually speakers.&nbsp; <a href="http://slane.bradley.edu/communication/speech-team" class="">The downstateIllinois team</a> has clobbered its rivals yet again at the prestigious <a href="http://www.nationalforensics.org/nationals" class="">National ForensicsAssociation</a> national tournament.&nbsp; The team cleaned up, taking home its41st overall national championship since 1978, <a href="http://www.bradley.edu/about/news/article.dot?id=078a19d5-a39e-468a-87c5-1e92b6c8a45e" class="">accordingto the team</a>.&nbsp; We speak with the man who brought home the grand prizefrom this year’s NFA national tournament, Kaybee Brown.</p></div><div><b>Bronzeville as Black Metropolis<br></b><br>The Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission has been pursuing designation as a Black metropolis and they have a new angle of pursuing sustainable efforts in the area. What do you know about Bronzeville?<br></div><div>About UsOrganizational Background: In 2004, the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership formed a steering committee to work on the Black Me...</div><div>Bronzeville Celebrates Groundbreaking Of New Shops, ApartmentsGround was broken Tuesday on a new commercial and residential development in Bronzeville, a project the likes of which haven't been seen ...</div><div>Why Are Pilsen and Bronzeville Redeveloping at Different Speeds? - Deal Estate - January 2013 - ChicagoChicago's Pilsen and Bronzeville neighborhoods have a lot in common. They are both near the Loop, have lots of public transportation, and...</div><div><b>Federal Criminal Defense in Boston Case<br></b><b><br></b>Career criminal defense attorney Jeff Urdangenexplains some of the issues the defense will face in the case of Boston Marathon suspect&nbsp;Dzhokhar Tsarnaev<b>. </b>Urdangan&nbsp;is Directorof the <a href="http://www.law.northwestern.edu/legalclinic/" class="">Center for Criminal Defense at the Bluhm Legal Clinic of the Northwestern University School of Law.</a>&nbsp;<b><br></b></div><div>The Case Against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: A GuideOn Monday, the government filed formal charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon last week. He is ...</div><div>Boston Bombing: Spotlight On Federal Public DefendersHe may be one of the most hated men in America. But Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is getting legal counsel from an office led by one of the nation's ...</div><div>Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with using 'weapon of mass destruction'Federal prosecutors announced terrorism charges against the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday, outlining a chill...</div></noscript></p> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 11:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-04-24/morning-shift-bronzeville-seeks-sustainable-future Chicago mail carriers protest proposed cuts of Saturday delivery http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mail-carriers-protest-proposed-cuts-saturday-delivery-105595 <p><p>More than 100 postal workers rallied in Chicago Monday to protest a proposed plan to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/postal-service-cut-saturday-mail-trim-costs-105372" target="_blank">announced the cuts earlier this month</a>, and has since gone head-to-head with members of Congress over whether the U.S. Postal Service is authorized to cut six-day service without congressional approval.</p><p>Postal carriers have responded with protests across the country. In front of a post office in Chicago&rsquo;s Bronzeville neighborhood Monday, mailmen spilled out onto the street holding signs and calling on Postmaster Donahoe to step down.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79829709" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of other cost-cutting measures they can try that they haven&rsquo;t even tried yet,&rdquo; said Janet Rendant, who has been a mail carrier for 25 years. &ldquo;At least give us a chance, give the public a chance.&rdquo;</p><p>She and others accused the post office of cutting union jobs before seeking out other savings, and said they don&rsquo;t believe cutting mail service will actually save the post office much money because it will also result in a loss of customers.</p><p>Mark Reynolds, who represents the postal service in Chicago, said they&rsquo;ve already <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/postal-service-close-naperville-processing-center-96657" target="_blank">closed facilities</a> and consolidated rural post offices to cut costs.</p><p>&ldquo;Obviously these are very difficult decisions that we have to make,&rdquo; said Reynolds. &ldquo;But what we&rsquo;re trying to do is to maintain customer service to the extent possible.&rdquo;<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F79853510" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The U.S. Postal Service ended its 2012 fiscal year nearly $16 billion in the hole, and they say cutting Saturday delivery will save them $1.9 billion annually. The <a href="http://deliveringforamerica.com/" target="_blank">National Association of Letter Carriers</a> believes Congress can address the deficit by getting rid of a requirement that the postal service pre-fund its pension obligations.</p><p>A Congressional mandate that requires the post office to deliver mail six days a week expires March 27, but the cut to Saturday delivery would not go into effect until August. Delivery to PO boxes and package delivery would continue on Saturdays. Still, some <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/us/saturday-mail-delivery-cut-is-subject-of-senate-hearing.html" target="_blank">congressmen think the postmaster general is outside of his purview</a>, claiming any change to delivery days must be approved by Congress.</p><p>Mark Osier, a postal carrier for 38 years, attended the Chicago protest because he was concerned about younger postal workers&rsquo; jobs &ndash; and about his postal customers.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7033_002-scr%20%281%29.JPG" style="float: right; height: 310px; width: 310px;" title="Mark Osier has been a postal carrier for 38 years. (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" /></p><p>&ldquo;People look forward to the mailman coming,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Especially older people. It&rsquo;s their day&rsquo;s event.&rdquo;</p><p>The postal service paid for <a href="http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2013/pr13_024.htm" target="_blank">a survey</a> in February that found that 80 percent of Americans favor cutting mail delivery to five days a week.</p><p>But Osier said six-day postal delivery is symbolic. He and others at the protest say they believe cutting Saturday service marks the beginning of the end for postal workers, and for a long-standing tradition of unionized postal delivery jobs.</p><p>&ldquo;This is an institution, this is as American as apple pie,&rdquo; Osier said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve gotta keep it going.&rdquo;</p><p>Follow <a href="https://twitter.com/LewisPants" target="_blank">Lewis Wallace on Twitter.</a></p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 16:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-mail-carriers-protest-proposed-cuts-saturday-delivery-105595 Chicago neighborhood wants Obama library http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-neighborhood-wants-obama-library-104559 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F72643128" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS3598_Obama_Getty_Alex%20Wong.JPG" style="float: left; height: 192px; width: 300px;" title="President Barack Obama. (Getty)" />Another Chicago neighborhood is seeking to be the future home of the Barack Obama presidential library.</div><p>No official plans have been made yet. But residents in the historically black Bronzeville neighborhood say there&#39;s 37 acres there that are a perfect fit.</p><p>Harold Lucas is president of the Black Metropolis Convention &amp; Tourism Council in the neighborhood. He says the neighborhood is the ideal place to tell the story of the nation&#39;s first black president. Bronzeville is where a number of black leaders, artists and pioneers worked or lived.</p><p>&quot;The cherry on the sundae of us becoming a international, national heritage area of the black metropolis is the construction of the presidential library,&quot; Lucas said. He runs the council, which promotes tourism on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. Lucas gives black heritage tours in the area.</p><p>In addition to pushing that Bronzeville host the library, Lucas says the library should harken back to Obama&rsquo;s Chicago roots as an organizer.</p><p>&quot;(The library should include) a community organizing institute on the former site of Michael Reese Hospital,&quot; Lucas said.</p><p>Community meetings are underway to decide what to do with the land where the hospital once sat.</p><p>Several Chicago locations have expressed interest in the library, including an old U.S. Steel South Works site and the University of Chicago. The University of Hawaii has also been mentioned as a possibility.</p><p>There are 13 U.S. presidential libraries, which preserve records, papers and other historical materials.</p><p><em>The Associated Press contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 08:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-neighborhood-wants-obama-library-104559 Developer seeks second act for Bronzeville's historic Forum Hall http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/developer-seeks-second-act-bronzevilles-historic-forum-hall-98454 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4212707.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 402px;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image ">My camera and I visited Bronzeville's historic, but vacant, Forum Hall over the weekend.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The 113-year-old structure, which once played a role in labor history, civil rights, jazz and even the advancement of U.S. Communism, came close to being demolished by the city last year when inspectors found extensive structural damage and loose, falling bricks.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Now a new owner, Bronzeville developer Bernard Loyd, is trying to figure out what to do with the Forum. Located on the corner of 43rd and Calumet just east of the CTA's Green Line, reuse of the building and vacant adjoining storefronts could provide a spark to revitalized the bedraggled strip. But that will take time and money.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Lots </em>of money.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">For now, Loyd has repaired the loose bricks, has organized volunteer clean-ups of the building and is seeking input from the neighborhood and IIT architecture students. And when time allows, he opens the doors to let people have a peek inside, as was the case Saturday...</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4212724.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 405px;" title=""></div></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">The photo above shows the heart of the Forum: The big second-story hall which has a stage, a small balcony, and an expansive floor. It hosted a 1913 plumbers ball; Community Party labor meetings in the 1920s and 1930s and the 45th national convention of black Elks lodges. As the photo below shows, the Elks had offices in the rear of the building. The late jazz upright bassist Milt Hinton cut his teeth in this space around 1930, according to his autobiography <em>Playing the Changes</em>.&nbsp;<div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4212770.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 348px;" title=""></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Below is a 1970s organ in a former lounge on the ground floor:</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4212700.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 405px;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Loyd directs a tour of the building Saturday:</div></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4212755.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 405px;" title=""></div><div class="image-insert-image ">An old deck of cards on the hall's window sill:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P4212731.jpg" style="width: 540px; height: 405px;" title=""></div></div><p>That old deck is a proper metaphor for the Forum. It's a gamble--a bit of chance--to resurrect the structure. Much of the back-of-house space is severely dilapidated with rotted away floors, peeling paint, exposed lathe, stripped-out fixtures and missing partition walls. Many spaces are so far gone, you can't tell what functions they originally served.</p><p>When Hinton played the Forum back in 1930, that stretch of East 43rd St was a dense commercial thoroughfare. And it remained the way, albeit a bit tattered, until the 1970s. But by 1988, much of what was there had vanished, replaced by the yawning city-owned lots that are there now. You look at the Forum--a building that could either symbolize a new beginning for 43rd Street or typify what's been happening there for 40 years--and you can't help but wonder what's really in the cards.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 23 Apr 2012 17:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-04/developer-seeks-second-act-bronzevilles-historic-forum-hall-98454