Hear from author Joe Gustaitis as we discuss how World War I transformed Chicago from a strongly German city into a modern metropolis.
In American history, we were taught that pioneers and homesteaders moved from east to west settling the continent in the greater pursuit of “Manifest Destiny” — killing and obfuscating the First Nations peoples’ way of life. However, another American pattern often overlooked is the migration from south to the north. Starting less than a century after a Black man of Haitian decent named Jean Baptiste Point DeSable became Chicago’s first non-indigenous settler; African Americans in large numbers began leaving southern States and moving to the north, which historians now call “The Great Migration”.
Their motives were that of people everywhere seeking jobs, opportunity, and a better life. Northern States offered jobs and a relief from the weight of Jim Crow. For many Chicago had became a beacon of hope as Black-owned newspapers and in particular the “Chicago Defender”, distributed by Pullman Porters, gave hope to generations of former slaves, farmers, and sharecroppers.
Beginning as early as the 1880s and then from approximately 1910 to the 1970, rural southern Blacks by the thousands made their way north throughout these decades. And, just as the journey changed them, their music, culture, and customs changed Chicago.
Northern cities, and Chicago in particular, were not always welcoming, as decent housing was scarce as restrictive covenants and red-lining forced African Americans to live in “The Black Belt”. This tightly constrained strip of blocks on the city’s south side, initially between 22nd and 31st Streets, later extending south to 39th and eventually to 95th Street and roughly sandwiched between the railroad tracks of the Rock Island on the west and Illinois Central to the east. But even with forced segregation, many black businesses thrived, and a sense of place was established creating Bronzeville and its famous “Stroll”.
Join the Windy City Historians as we delve into the Great Migration with Dr. Charles Brahnam, author and professor, and the perfect guide to take us on a journey into the Great Migration. A trip populated by famous brave and fearless black Chicagoans such as Ida B. Wells, Oscar DePriest, and Robert S. Abbott and into a better understand of this massive cultural shift for the nation and Chicago in particular.
Links to Research and Historic Sources:
- “The Long-Lasting Legacy of the Great Migration”, by Isabel Wilkerson for Smithsonian Magazine, Sept. 2016
- Great Migration from Encyclopedia of Chicago website
- Dr. Charles Russell Branham interview on C-Span
- Steve Green story from the Arkansas Encyclopedia website
- Illinois Gov. Len Small from Wikipedia (Please note in our interview we say he was governor, but at the time of the Steve Green story he was involved in Illinois politics but not yet governor.)
- Ida B Wells: WTTW Chicago Stories
- Ida B. Wells biography from the Black Past website
- Ida B. Wells-Burnett biography from the Women’s History website
- Ferdinand Lee Barnett’s biography from the Black Past website
- Robert S Abbott biography on Wikipedia
- Oscar Stanton De Priest biography on Wikipedia
- Edward Herbert Wright biography on Wikipedia
- Jesse Binga biography on Wikipedia
- Carter G. Woodson biography on Wikipedia
- Chicago Race Riot of 1919 on Wikipedia
- Jim Crow laws from Wikipedia
- “History of Lynching in America” from the NAACP website
- A recommended book, THE DEFENDER: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America From the Age of the Pullman Porters to the Age of Obama By Ethan Michaeli
- Boll weevil devastation from Wikipedia
- Pullman Porters from Wikipedia
- The Jones Boys, “From Riots to Renaissance: Policy Kings” from WTTW’s website
- The Incredible History and Cultural Legacy of the Bronzeville Neighborhood from Chicago Detours website
- Explore Bronzeville from the Blueprint for Bronzeville website
- Booker T. Washington biography from Wikipedia
- The South Side’s Last Remaining Jazz Landmarks article from Chicago Magazine
- Thomas A. Dorsey from the Gospel Music Hall of Fame website
- Mahalia Jackson
- Mahalia Jackson performs at the March on Washington, August 28th, 1963 on YouTube
- Muddy Waters biography on Wikipedia
- King Oliver biography on Wikipedia
- Louis Armstrong biography on Wikipedia
- Music Samples in this Episode:
- Olivet Baptist Church in Chicago from the Black Past website
- Olivet Baptist Church from it’s own website
In 1909 Chicago changed dramatically both physically and intellectually. Having grown through fits and starts via annexation and experiencing the most rapid population growth of any city in history, to that point, the Chicago City Council approved a new street and address system in 1908. The new address system took effect in 1909 and employed the Philadelphia and furlong systems to renumber, rename, and rationalize street names and addresses across the city.
1909 also ushered in a momentous intellectual shift in perceptions of what Chicago was and could be. Authored by architects Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett The Plan of Chicago offered an idyllic and revolutionary vision for Windy City that still resonate. Join us in this episode as we interview cartographer, historian, and geographer Dennis McClendon to delve into these concrete and esoteric plans that forever changed the physicality and vision of Chicago. Plans and improvements that are still relevant and reverberate acros Chicago’s streets, city planning, development and architecture to this day.
Links to Research and Historic Sources:
- More about cartographer, historian, & geographer Dennis McClendon
- History of 3-principal mapping companies in the U. S.: Rand McNally, H.N. Gousha, and General Drafting
- Edward Brennan, author of Chicago’s street renaming and renumbering system
- Philadelphia Street Numbering system explained
- Furlong system explained
- Overview of the “Roads and expressways in Chicago” in Wikipedia
- “Old Addresses” article on the pre-1909 addresses from the Forgotten Chicago website
- Chicagoland Books & Files including the Chicago Street Renaming & Renumbering Directories of 1909 from the Living History of Illinois website
- Milwaukee’s Street Renaming & Renumbering from the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee website
- Overview of The Plan of Chicago from the Chicago Architecture Center website
- Biography of Daniel Burnham from the Chicago Public Library website
- “Who was Edward Bennett? And why has he been overshadowed for a century by Daniel Burnham?” by Patrick Reardon on the Burnham Plan Centennial website
- Wacker’s Manual as described by the Chicago Architecture Center website
- “‘Big Bill’ Thompson: Chicago’s unfiltered mayor,” by Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune article Feb. 5, 2016
- Chicago’s Midway (formerly Municipal) Airport history from the Encyclopedia of Chicago
- “Chicago’s Municipal Pier,” (#2, now Navy Pier) from Chicagology website
- Northerly Island from the Chicago Architecture Center website
- “Displaced: When the Eisenhower Expressway Moved in Who Was Moved Out?” by Robert Loerzel from the WBEZ website
- McMillan Plan for the Washington D.C. “mall” from Wikipedia
- Chicago’s Millennium Park from Wikipedia