Group Fighting for Historic Landmark Recognition for Chicago Mansion with Deep History

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tags: historic preservation, African American history, Chicago, urban history, Great Migration, Settlement House movement


CHICAGO — Along Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, near the Bronzeville neighborhood, sits a mansion with history that goes beyond the frame that you see.

Joi Weathers grew up down the street from the home.

“First off, it is a beautiful,” she said. “It has that iconic Chicago architecture.”

But what’s more captivating is what would go on inside. The three-story building was built in 1896. It became known as the Phyllis Wheatley Home. From 1915 until 1967, it was a settlement home for Black women coming to Chicago during the Great Migration.

Ward Miller is with Preservation Chicago.

“Its importance is linked to the African American women’s movement and suffrage,” he said.

Dr. Joann Tate purchased the home without knowing the rich history behind the walls. After falling on hard times, she and her family were forced to move out while history sat without all of Chicago knowing. Now the home sits on a demolition list by the city. Tate and Weathers are fighting to change that with the help of Preservation Chicago.

“Black women were migrating from the South and they had nowhere to go because economically, there were no jobs here for them,” Tate said. “So this was a place that spiritually, intellectually, socially, economically, they will magnify, to the point that they could go out and get a job and be somebody.”

Read entire article at WGN

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