One of the South Side’s most important cultural areas is Bronzeville, a revitalized, redeveloping community located on Chicago’s southern lakefront. Historically a neighborhood that was home to thousands of people migrating north between 1910 and the early 20’s, Bronzeville has seen a number of evolutionary periods. Today, the area is benefiting from the razing of a large public housing project, and its replacement by numerous low-rise, multi-unit residential and commercial buildings. These changes are inviting the transformation now underway immediately to the north in the South Loop area to begin working its way into Bronzeville.
In cultural terms, the Bronzeville community was and still is central to the history and evolution of two of Chicago’s signature musical styles: jazz and the blues. Former residents of Bronzeville read like a "Who’s Who" of jazz and blues greats such as Lil Hardin, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Lionel Hampton and Louis Armstrong. The neighborhood is also home to the Illinois Institute of Technology and Illinois College of Optometry, as well as the Ancient Egyptian Museum and the DuSable Museum that celebrates African-American history and culture.
Named after Illinois politician Stephen A. Douglas, principal in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, Douglas is a community adjacent to Bronzeville. Built on a tract of land given to federal government in Douglas’s will, during the Civil War the area was the site of the Union’s notorious Camp Douglas prison camp. Today, the community is home to a thriving community of rehabbed greystones and rowhouses, as well as new residential, commercial and retail development.