Playlist Chicago History

Chicago History

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.
Chicago Union Stock Yards

How Upton Sinclair’s 'The Jungle' Unintentionally Spurred Food Safety Laws

Meredith Francis

Muckraker journalist Upton Sinclair started a national movement for food safety after the publication of his 1906 novel, The Jungle, although that wasn't his aim. “I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach,” he said. 
Central Standard Building

How Chicago Played a Major Role in Setting America’s Time Zones

Meredith Francis

Before our clocks fell back and sprung forward, there were dozens of time zones in the United States. Chicago, once a major railroad hub, played a key part in standardizing time across the country.
Subscribe to Chicago History
window to the world