Located 4 Miles West of The Loop.
Neighborhoods include: Bronzeville, South Commons, Prairie Shores, The Gap, Lake Meadows, Groveland Park
Zip Codes Include: 60609, 60616, 60653
Douglas, located on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois is one of 77 well-defined Chicago community areas. The neighborhood is named for Stephen A. Douglas, an Illinois politician, whose estate included a tract of land given to the federal government. This tract later became the Civil War Union training and prison camp, Camp Douglas, located in what is now the eastern portion of the Douglas neighborhood. Another part of the Douglas estate at Cottage Grove and 35th, he gave to the Old University of Chicago.
As part of the Chicago 2016 Olympic bid, the Olympic Village was planned to be located on a 37-acre truck parking lot south of McCormick Place that is mostly in the Douglas community area and partly in the Near South Side.
The Douglas community area stretches from 26th Street South to Pershing Road along the Lake Shore, including parts of the Green Line along State Street and the Metra Electric and Amtrak passenger railroad tracks, which run parallel to Lake Shore Drive. Burnham Park runs along its shoreline, containing 31st Street Beach. The community area also contains part of the neighborhood of Bronzeville, the historic center of African-American culture in the city.
Bronzeville is a neighborhood located in the Douglas and Grand Boulevard community areas on the South Side of the City of Chicago around the Illinois Institute of Technology and Illinois College of Optometry. It is accessible via the Green and Red lines of the Chicago Transit Authority, as well as the Metra Electric District Main Line. In 2011 a new Metra station, Jones/Bronzeville Station, opened to serve the neighborhood on the Rock Island and planned SouthEast Service.
In the early 20th century, was known as the “Black Metropolis,” one of the nation’s most significant landmarks of African-American urban history. Between 1910 and 1920, during the peak of the “Great Migration,” the population of the area increased dramatically when thousands of African Americans escaped the oppression of the South and emigrated to Chicago in search of industrial jobs. The Wabash YMCA is considered the first African-American Y in the U.S. It continues as a center today due to the continued support of many of the Black churches in the area. The Wabash YMCA is widely credited as the birthplace of what would later become Black History Month, although this has also been attributed to the noted black historian John .
Noted people associated with the development of the area include: Andrew “Rube” Foster, founder of the Negro National Baseball League; Ida B. Wells, a civil rights activist, journalist and co-organizer of the NAACP; Margaret Taylor-Burroughs, artist, author, and one of the co-founders of the DuSable Museum of African American History; Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman pilot; Gwendolyn Brooks, famous author and first African-American recipient of the Pulitzer Prize; actress Marla Gibbs, legendary singers Sam Cooke and Lou Rawls, and Louis Armstrong, the legendary trumpet player and bandleader who performed at many of the area’s night clubs. The neighborhood contains the Chicago Landmark Black Metropolis-Bronzeville District.
47th Street was and remains the hub of the Bronzeville neighborhood. In the early 21st century, it has started to regain some of its former glory. Gone for good is the Regal Theater (demolished in 1973), where many great performers took the stage.
From the 1940s and 1960s, high-rise public housing projects were constructed in the area, which were managed by the Chicago Housing Authority. The largest complex was the Robert Taylor Homes, which were beset with social problems exacerbated by poverty and poor design. These were demolished in the late 1990s and early 21st century.
The name was first used in 1930 by James J. Gentry, a local theater editor for the Chicago Bee publication. It refers to the brown skin color of African Americans, who predominated as residents in that area. It has become common usage throughout the decades.
Of all the sections of Douglas originally developed by Stephen A. Douglas, only Groveland Park survives. Its homes are built around an oval-shaped park. Groveland Park is located between Cottage Grove Avenue, 33rd Street, 35th Street and the Metra Electric railroad tracks.
Douglas is served by the CTA Red & Green Lines, and many connecting CTA buses at the 35th-Bronzeville station.
• Total 18,238
• Density 11,000/sq mi (4,200/km2)
• White 9.92%
• Black 72.63%
• Hispanic 2.55%
• Asian 12.68%
• Other 2.21%
• Bronzeville Area Residents’ & Commerce Council
• 3rd Ward & Alderman