Playlist Chicago History

Chicago History

The exterior of Johnnie's beef, looking through the window with blurred figures behind the counter and ordering food.

Food, Nostalgia, and Drama: Here are the 10 Playlist Stories You Read the Most in 2022

Meredith Francis

The most-read stories of the year on Playlist cover food, drama, and history with a dash of nostalgia mixed in. Revisit those stories.
A 1943 Marshall Field's holiday window display shows Santa in his workshop. Image: HB-07690-D, Chicago History Museum, Hedrich-Blessing Collection

Photo of the Week: A 1943 Marshall Field’s Christmas Window Display

Meredith Francis

Take a look back at a Marshall Field's Christmas window display from 1943, and discover the history of the displays. 
The Eternal Silence sculpture, pictured here in 1977. The black-and-white image shows a hooded sculpture set against a slab of black granite. Image: ST-40001541-0009, Chicago Sun-Times collection, Chicago History Museum

The Eerie Legend of Graceland Cemetery’s “Eternal Silence” Statue

Meredith Francis

An eerie sculpture near the grave of an early Chicago settler at Graceland Cemetery comes with a spooky legend. 
Gottfried Pilsener

How Czechs Have Shaped Chicago's History

Daniel Hautzinger

At the turn of the twentieth century, Chicago had the third-largest Czech population in the world, behind only Prague and Vienna. Czechs were deeply involved in the labor movement, politics, and more, as the producers of a new documentary on Czechs in Chicago explain. 
Jane Byrne raising her finger while speaking at a mayoral forum

A Q&A with the Producer of a New Jane Byrne 'Chicago Stories'

Meredith Francis

Jane Byrne was the first woman to be elected Mayor of Chicago and the first woman to lead a mayor U.S. city. A new Chicago Stories documentary follow's Byrne's rise to power and tenure as mayor. 
Juliette Kinzie

Unpacking the Complicated Legacy of One of Chicago’s ‘Forgotten Founders’

Meredith Francis

When it comes to Chicago’s early history, people like William Ogden or Cyrus McCormick and their families are often brought up as the city’s founders. But, according to one expert, one of Chicago’s “forgotten founders" is the writer and historian Juliette Kinzie.
Margaret Burroughs

“Chicago, I Love You!” Margaret Burroughs’ Creative Legacy in Chicago

Meredith Francis

Margaret Burroughs, an influential Chicago artist, poet, and teacher, established two of the city's important cultural institutions: the South Side Community Arts Center and the DuSable Museum of African American History.
Rudy Lozano Elementary School

Rudy Lozano's Multigenerational Legacy and the Growing Power of Chicago's Latino Community

Daniel Hautzinger

Rudy Lozano sought more political power for Latinos in Chicago, and although his life was cut short, his legacy lives on in his friends and family members who continue his political campaigns and activism. 
The steel Puerto Rican flag over Division Street in Humboldt Park. Photo: Richie Diesterheft/Wikimedia Commons

Chicago's 1966 Division Street Riot

Daniel Hautzinger

While it has been overshadowed by other unrest of the late '60s in Chicago, the Division Street riot was an important point in the history of Chicago's Puerto Rican community, drawing attention to issues faced by the community. 
Nella Larsen in 1928. Photo: James Allen/Library of Congress, Harmon Foundation Records, Manuscript Division.

The Novelist Nella Larsen's Life Between Worlds

Daniel Hautzinger

Nella Larsen existed in disparate worlds, never quite finding her place: born to a Danish mother and West Indian father in a Chicago vice district, she eventually became a part of the Harlem Renaissance and Black professional class, producing a neglected classic novel. 
A team publicity photo for the Chicago American Giants in 1919. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chicago's Starring Role in the Creation of Baseball's Negro Leagues, 100 Years Ago

Daniel Hautzinger

Chicago looms large in the creation of baseball's Negro Leagues, for reasons both positive and negative. One influential player-manager spearheaded the creation of the Negro National League 100 years ago; another helped solidify the sport's color line decades earlier.
Lucy Parsons in 1886. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Chicago's 'Anarchist Queen'

Daniel Hautzinger

Lucy Parsons was full of contradictions: an anarchist who defended marriage, a Black woman born into slavery who claimed her dark skin came from Mexican and Native American ancestry, a supporter of rights for women who didn't trust elections and thus never aligned herself with suffragists.
The Legacy Walk

Walking Through LGBTQ History in Boystown

Meredith Francis

A series of bronze plaques on the famous rainbow pylons in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood make up the Legacy Walk – an outdoor museum highlighting the historical and cultural contributions of LGBTQ people.
Frances Willard, Grace Wilbur Trout, Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells

The Chicago Suffragists Who Fought for Women’s Right to Vote

Meredith Francis

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which guarantees women the right to vote. Chicago was home to some of the leading suffragists in the nation, and they brought Illinois women a limited right to vote years before 1920.
The CTA Green Line at 51st Street. Photo: Cragin Spring/Wikimedia Commons

When the Green Line Shut Down for More Than Two Years

Daniel Hautzinger

If weekend closures of Red Line stations are an inconvenience, comfort yourself with the thought that it could be worse. More than 25 years ago, the Green Line—like the Red Line today—needed maintenance and modernizing. Back then, the CTA shut down the whole line—for more than two years.
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