The Neighborhood Of Bronzeville

Bronzeville is more a reference to the past than to the present, a reference to the time when the Mid-South Side of Chicago was a thriving metropolis. This city within a city, where many African Americans made their homes and their livelihoods, developed in part because segregation shut them out from other parts of the city.

The term Bronzeville originated within the community during the mid-30’s, when the annual Mayor of Bronzeville election was celebrated, drawing on the African tradition of referring to skin color as “bronze.” The election, which honored people who contributed to the community, was a popular event through the late ’40s. Bronzeville, also known as the Black Metropolis and the Black Belt, was a vibrant community of jazz clubs, restaurants, cafes, churches and political activity. The area still carries the name Bronzeville, partly to celebrate the achievements of the past, but also as a way to look forward to a revitalized community.

Bronzeville is a neighborhood where condominiums sit blocks from Stateway Gardens, a low-income housing project. Its a place where the former Grand Terrace Ballroom on 35th Street, which hosted legends such as Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong, is now a hardware store. Writer Richard Wright lived here, as did poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters kept local crowds entertained. The Chicago Defender and Chicago Bee newspapers thrived with strong readerships.

The big-ticket clubs and restaurants are gone, but there are still a lot of little neighborhood restaurants tucked away. You won’t have to look far to find soul food kitchens and barbecue counters. New construction and renovations are ongoing in Bronzeville. The Green Line L stops in the area have been refurbished, artistic benches have been installed along Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, and a map of historical sites has been cast in bronze and installed at 35th Street and King. There is plenty to learn and take in in Bronzeville.

When you enter the “Gateway to Bronzeville,” you’ll be greeted by a fifteen-foot tall statue named the Monument to the Great Northern Migration. Plaques, statues and other street furniture combine ethnic and cultural references that speak to the neighborhood and the people who have and do live in Bronzeville. The walk consists of 91 plaques, all cast in bronze, which line both sides of a 1.5 mile long stretch of King Drive. Bronzeville is a neighborhood long passed over by public dollars, but the recent attention its received has helped renew neighborhood pride.

Important Information For Bronzeville:

City of Chicago Vehicle Stickers

All Chicago residents driving, parking, leasing and/or owning a vehicle for which they are responsible in the City of Chicago are subject to the Chicago Wheel Tax and must purchase a Chicago City Vehicle Sticker. This includes Chicago residents that maintain their registration outside of the City of Chicago, but use the vehicle in the City. We want motorists to avoid costly tickets: You must purchase a Chicago Vehicle Sticker within 30 days of residing in the City or acquiring a new vehicle to avoid late fees and fines.

Click Here for more details.

Residential Parking Permits

Chicago’s Residential Parking Permit program is designed to restrict parking on designated residential streets during specified hours, except for the residents of that street, guests of the residents or those who provide a service to the residents. This program helps to ensure that residents of densely populated areas have reasonable access to parking near their residences. Cars parked in violation of this ordinance are ticketed.

The City of Chicago does not mess around. The city has a dillignet parking patrol staff that will ticket you if you are in a spot where a permit you don’t have is required. All spots that require permits are marked with white street signs. Please look out for them!

For more information, contact the city clerk at 312-744-6861 or email We also recommend that you ask your Real Estate Agent, Leasing Agent, or Land Lord about parking permit requirements in your area.