Sunday, February 22, 2015

Thomas Brown Houses
 by: chicago designslinger

[Thomas Brown Houses (1885) Julius H. Huber, architect /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

While the mansard roofs of architect Julius Huber's double house design weren't an uncommon sight around Chicago in 1885, it's somewhat miraculous that they survived the scorched earth policies of mid 20th century, inner-city, urban renewal plans. Today the houses sit in a cluster of 19th century remains known as The Gap, a small piece of the larger, historic Bronzeville neighborhood.

  [Thomas Brown Houses, 3221-3223 S. Calumet Avenue, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

When Thomas Brown built his pair of single family residences, this near south side   community was an extension of one the city's wealthier enclaves located just a few streets over on south Prairie and Michigan Avenues. 35 years later, Calumet Avenue was near the heartbeat of the city's expanding, thriving, African American community.  

 [Thomas Brown Houses, Black Metropolis - Bronzeville Historic District, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

In 1917 the Chicago Defender, the largest African American publication in the world at the time, began a campaign called the "Great Northern Drive." The newspaper encouraged southern blacks to leave the plantation mentality and lynchings of the South and come up north to the promised land. Pullman porters who traveled along the Illinois Central Railroad line running directly from Chicago all the way to New Orleans, passed out copies of the Defender to circulate among the black population living along the Mississippi River in eastern Arkansas, southwestern Tennessee, and northwestern Mississippi. 75% of the nation's African Americans lived in the region, and many came north to cities like Chicago.
Although racial discrimination was still rampant up north, many men found work in the   explosive growth of the city's manufacturing sector which needed laborers no matter what the color of their skin. The Defender advertised jobs for men as well as for women who could find work as domestics, but with pay, and the Great Migration was underway. In the early 1920s Corneal A. Davis, a graduate of Tougaloo College, got on a train and left Mississippi after his best friend was lynched, and arrived, like thousands before him, at Chicago's immense Illinois Central Terminal. He attended Moody Bible Institute, John Marshall Law School, became an assistant pastor at the city's historic Quinn Chapel, ran for public office in 1942 and served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives for the next 35 years. He lived at 3223 S. Calumet, the double house on the right-hand-side of the picture.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.