March 01, 2021

Duckworth, Durbin Introduce Bill to Create National Heritage Area in Chicago’s Bronzeville Community


[WASHINGTON D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced a bill that would create a National Park Service (NPS) National Heritage Area in the greater Bronzeville community of Chicago.  The Bronzeville-Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Act would create a National Heritage Area from 18th Street to the North, 71st Street to the South, Lake Michigan to the East, and Canal Street to the West—approximately five miles south of downtown. This area would tell the story of the Great Migration and how it created a city within a city—known as a Black Metropolis.

“This legislation would honor and help preserve both the rich history of African-Americans’ journey to Chicago during the Great Migration and the lives they built after,” Duckworth said. “I’m proud to join Senator Durbin in re-introducing the Bronzeville-Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Act and recognize the cultural and economic contributions this historically Black Chicago community has made to our state and nation.”

“Our bill would create the first National Heritage Area dedicated to the story of the Great Migration. This Chicago community is home to many historical African American sites – such as Camp Douglas, the Eighth Regiment Armory, Abbot House, and the Bronzeville Walk of Fame – which created a Black Metropolis. Passing this bill would honor this mecca for Black business, arts, and culture that made its impact felt across the United States,” Durbin said.

The proposed National Heritage Area would incorporate several significant African American sites in the area, including: Camp Douglas—a Union Army recruitment and training camp; Eighth Regiment Armory—first armory for an African American regiment; Abbot House—home of the founder of the Chicago Defender newspaper; and the Bronzeville Walk of Fame—a monument to the Great Migration.