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Your Chicago: Bronzeville

This iconic statue greets visitors at the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. (CBS)

This iconic statue greets visitors at the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. (CBS)

Kate Sullivan Kate Sullivan
Kate Sullivan is co-anchor of CBS 2 Chicago News at 5 p.m. and 10 p.m....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s one of Chicago’s most significant historical neighborhoods and was considered the gateway to freedom for thousands of black Americans after the Civil War.

Today, Bronzeville is a constantly evolving neighborhood that is redefining itself with new opportunities.

CBS 2’s Kate Sullivan reports.

Tucked behind McCormick Place is a “Welcome to Bronzeville” sign. Behind it is a simple statue of a man with a suitcase — a reminder of a different kind of welcome many years ago.

This was home of the great migration, home to the first black newspaper in the U.S. – “The Defender” — and home to countless famous artists, writers and people who shaped this country.

“I feel there is a lack of appreciation for this neighborhood in the big scheme of Chicago,” says David Meyers.

He owns and operates the Meyers Hardware store on East 35th Street — a store he took over from his father, who took it over from his father.

Previously, the building housed a nightclub from the 1920s to 1950.

Called the Sunset Café, it was at one time one of Chicago’s first and most legendary integrated jazz nightclubs. Some of the most famous names in jazz performed: Ella Fitzgerald, Earl Hines, Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong.

Cliff Rome decided to invest in Bronzeville and take advantage of its resurgence.

“In the beginning, it was an uphill battle in a mudslide,” he says.

But now his art gallery is a symbol of the new Bronzeville — a place where architecture of a day gone by stands with a new police headquarters.

For more information about Bronzeville, click here and be sure to explore the additional links at the destination page.