Neighborhood Description

In the early 1900s the area in and around Bronzeville was often referred to as the “Black Belt” or “Black Ghetto” by Chicagoans and in the media. Realizing that this didn't sit well with most residents, James Gentry, an editor at the Chicago Bee, proposed that the term "Bronzeville" be used instead to identify the community, feeling that it "more accurately described the skin tone of most of its inhabitants." The population of Bronzeville greatly increased during this period when many Southern African Americans found their way to the neighborhood while in search of jobs during the Great Migration.

The neighborhood was home to or served as the launching pad for numerous notable African Americans, including Gwendolyn Brooks, Louis Armstrong, Muddy Waters, Ida B. Wells, Lorraine Hansberry, and Bessie Coleman, among others. Because of the contributions of these people, present day Bronzeville, which was also known as the "Black Metropolis," is one of the nation's most significant landmarks of African-American urban history. 

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