City Cast

Get to Know Bronzeville

Sidney Madden
Sidney Madden
Posted on February 22   |   Updated on May 28
A black and white photo of The Wabash YMCA in Bronzeville

The Wabash YMCA in Bronzeville in 1993. (Abbott Sengstacke Family Papers / Robert Abbott Sengstacke / Getty)

Wonder where Black History Month originated? The Wabash YMCA in Bronzeville.

The Y
had been a place for Black residents to temporarily stay after coming to Chicago during the Great Migration, getting education and job training. The surrounding neighborhood became densely populated at the same time. Dubbed the city’s “Black Metropolis,” a thriving cultural scene was born with prominent artists like poet Gwendolyn Brooks and author Richard Wright.

The Renaissance Collaborative, a social services group that has worked to restore and preserve the Wabash Y, shared spots to explore in the area.

Something to see
: “Gallery Guichard is an art gallery on 47th Street that centers Black and brown curators.”

Something to eat
: “Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles, opened in 2008, is a Black-owned restaurant in the heart of Bronzeville on 39th Street and King Drive.” 

Something to do
: “The historic tour at the Wabash YMCA, put on by The Renaissance Collaborative every Saturday during the month of February, covers the history of the Y and the many people, events, and historic happenings that occurred during its long run.”

Check out historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas’ Bronzeville tour, too.

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