African American leaders, artists and influencers have been crucial in shaping the city of Chicago, past and present. During Black History Month, learn more about their contributions and achievements by visiting the award-winning Chicago museums, local art centers and vibrant neighborhoods that celebrate African American culture.


Bronzeville Public Art

Begin your exploration in Bronzeville, a South Side Chicago neighborhood that boomed in the early 1900s when a huge number of African American workers relocated here during the Great Migration to escape oppression in the South. Famous names were part of the neighborhood's renaissance (which came to be known as the Black Metropolis), with musician Louis Armstrong, civil rights activist Ida B. Wells and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks acting as driving forces behind tremendous cultural and social advances. During Black History Month Chicago, sign up for a tour at Chicago's Bronzeville Visitor Information Center and let a knowledgeable guide fill you in on the area's must-see attractions, including amazing public art and Victorian Era architecture. 3501 S. Martin Luther King Dr., 773-676-6207

Gallery Guichard 

Gallery Guichard Chicago

While in Bronzeville, check out the contemporary artworks at Gallery Guichard. The Chicago gallery represents multicultural artists from around the globe, with a focus on the African Diaspora. Several mediums are represented, including painting, sculpture and ceramics. A different artist or theme is featured every 6-8 weeks, and Gallery Guichard also hosts music and theatrical performances. 436 E. 47th St., 773-791-7003

South Side Community Art Center 

South Side Community Art Center

A Chicago historic landmark, the South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC) in the Bronzeville neighborhood was dedicated in May 1941 by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The SSCAC was founded as part of President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, and today it is the only African American art center opened under the program that is still in operation. Attend one of the SSCAC Artists Talks and interact with exhibiting artists and art enthusiasts from around the world. The SSCAC also hosts dance, film and literary events, and collaborates with local creative schools, including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago. During Black History Month Chicago, join a public tour of the SSCAC to learn more about its fascinating history. 3831 S. Michigan Ave., 773-373-1026

DuSable Museum of African American History 

DuSable Museum of African American History

Located in Chicago's historic Hyde Park neighborhood, the DuSable Museum of African American History is named for Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Haitian of African and French descent who established a trading post and permanent settlement in 1779 that would eventually become known as Chicago. Founded in 1961, the DuSable's collection includes 15,000 pieces, including African American artworks and historic artifacts. Through Feb. 28, 2017, the DuSable presents the exhibit Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, an African American Quilt Scholar. As part of Black History Month Chicago, on Feb. 16 & 17, 2017, the DuSable hosts Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, two important evenings of discussion about social justice activism with Trayvon's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. 740 E. 56th Pl., 773-947-0600

Museum of Science and Industry 

Juried Art Exhibition

The acclaimed Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood features the Black Creativity Program, which showcases the contributions of African Americans in the fields of science, technology, engineering and medicine. Special events, workshops and learning labs are held throughout the year. Open through March 4, 2017, the Innovation Studio is a creative space where kids can use a variety of tools and materials to experiment and experience the process of design. Through Feb. 19, 2017, check out the Juried Art Exhibition featuring more than 100 dynamic works by both established and emerging African American artists from around the country. 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., 773-684-1414

Black Ensemble Theater 

Black Ensemble Theatre

The Black Ensemble Theater in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood was founded in 1976 by actress-producer-playwright Jackie Taylor, who has become a recognized leader in the international African American arts community. Taylor's singular mission is to eradicate racism through the theater arts with both her company's plays and community outreach programs. Opening the Black Ensemble Theater's 41st season on Feb. 11, 2017, is My Brother's Keeper: The Story of the Nicholas Brothers. The musical production traces the career of brothers Harold and Fayard Nicholas, who broke color barriers in the 1930s to become international dance stars. The play features the Black Ensemble Orchestra playing joyous music of the period, including classics by Cab Calloway and Dorothy Dandridge. 4450 N. Clark St., 773-769-4451

Related Listings

Bronzeville Visitor Information Center
411 E. 35th St.
Chicago, IL 60653
(773) 819-2055

Museum of Science and Industry
57th Street and Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 684-1414

DuSable Museum of African American History
740 E. 56th Pl.
Chicago, IL 60637
(773) 947-0600

Black Ensemble Theater
4450 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 754-3915

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