Welcome to the Black Chicago Heritage Initiative
An effort by the City of Chicago to discover Black Chicago's untold stories, preserve memories and memorabilia, amplify unsung heroes, and inspire pride across all 77 community areas.
The City of Chicago is the third largest city in the United States, with nearly one third of residents identifying as Black. During the period of the Great Migration (ca. 1915-1970) Chicago became a popular destination for Black Americans relocating from the rural south, many of whom made important cultural contributions to the city. While much of that history has been acknowledged and celebrated through the city’s local landmark designation program, there remain sites, stories and individuals that are currently lesser known but have played an essential role in the heritage and cultural identity of Black Chicagoans.
The Black Chicago Heritage Initiative (BCHI) seeks to shine a light on topics of collective importance gathered through a community-driven process. The vision for the project is to identify aspects of cultural heritage unique to the Black experience in Chicago and to create strategies—both time-tested and innovative in nature—for their historic preservation and interpretation.
The Historic Preservation Division is committed to preserving the stories and places that are part of Chicago's legacy. View multimedia tour StoryMaps related to Chicago's Black history and culture.
Meet the Steering Committee members of the Black Chicago Heritage Initiative.
Explore designated Chicago Landmarks honoring Black history and heritage in Chicago.
Pictured: Detail of the BCHI Landmarks Map.
Community organizations across Chicago have done a great deal of work to preserve the city's Black Heritage.
Pictured: Woodson Regional Library in Washington Heights.
Exploring Chicago’s Racial History: African Americans
In this video, Chicago historian and BCHI steering committee member Sherman "Dilla" Thomas explores the African American contributions to the city of Chicago.
#BCHI Greater Englewood Tour
Artist Tonika Lewis Johnson and Chicago historian Sherman "Dilla" Thomas hosted bus tours of sites significant in the heritage of Black Chicagoans on the South Side.