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The Bronzeville Origins of Black History Month

In 1913, a sturdy brick and limestone building was completed and opened to the public; standing at five stories tall, what would come to be known as the Wabash Avenue YMCA was the result of community fundraising from area residents and the Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald of Sears, Roebuck & Co. fame. While the building More

Scotty Piper, “The Dancing Tailor of 47th Street”

In our latest blog post, CHM costume collection manager Jessica Pushor talks about the fascinating life of Louis “Scotty” Piper, his career as a tailor, and his generous donations to the Chicago History Museum. Piper is one of the designers featured in Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection, which runs through January 16, 2023. More

Ella G. Berry: Civic and Political Activist

Portrait of Ella G. Berry. Published on in The Story of the Illinois Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs 1900–1922 by Elizabeth Lindsey Davis, 1922. CHM, ICHi-177302A Ella Berry was born Ella Tucker in 1876 in Stanford, Kentucky. Little is known about her father, Dave Tucker, but in 1870, her mother, Matilda Portman, was working as More

Timuel Black, Weaver of Life and History

Last week, noted Chicago historian, teacher, mentor, author, and civil rights leader Timuel Black died at the age of 102. Here, Warren Chapman, the second vice chair of the Chicago Historical Society’s board of trustees, and John Russick, CHM senior vice president, reflect on Black’s life as well as his work and impact on the More

The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

To mark Labor Day and Chicago’s long history of labor activism, CHM assistant curator Brittany Hutchinson recounts how the Pullman Company’s porters formed the first all-Black labor union in the US to address low wages, long hours, and mistreatment from passengers.   In August 1925, A. Philip Randolph was elected president the newly formed Brotherhood More

An Organizer and Advocate for Black Women

In this blog post, CHM curatorial intern Brigid Kennedy recounts the life of Irene McCoy Gaines as part of a series in which we share the stories of local women who made history in anticipation of an exhibition about Chicago women and the vote. Irene McCoy Gaines devoted her career in politics and advocacy to More

“Lifting As We Climb”

CHM curatorial intern Brigid Kennedy recounts the extraordinary life of Elizabeth Lindsay Davis. This blog post is part of a series in which we share the stories of local women who made history in anticipation of CHM’s upcoming exhibition Democracy Limited: Chicago Women and the Vote. Elizabeth Lindsay Davis not only took the motto of More

Our Great Loss

On the fiftieth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, CHM director of curatorial affairs Joy L. Bivins reflects on his assassination. On this date fifty years ago, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. Today, around our city and throughout the More

Remembering Dr. King’s Legacy

CHM curatorial assistant Brittany Hutchinson reflects on her work for our newest exhibition, Remembering Dr. King: 1929–1968. The entrance to Remembering Dr. King. Photograph by CHM staff At the Chicago History Museum, we are honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with an exhibition, Remembering Dr. King: 1929–1968. It includes objects More