Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chicago Stars Ep. 3 - The World Columbian Exposition // MBMHMC tv

[VIDEO] In this episode Jahmal Cole goes from the ferris wheel at Navy Pier to the Museum of Science & Industry. The significance the third star on the Chicago flag represents the World's Columbian Exposition.

There was a ferris wheel at the exposition which took place in the Frederick Law Olmstead designed Jackson Park. The Museum of Science & Industry is the last remaining structure of that event held in 1893 which formerly housed not only the Palace of Fine Arts but also an early incarnation of the Field Musuem.

Finally Cole ends this episode at the south side's Chef Sara's Place located at 7201 S. Exchange Ave. And here's hoping the many eateries Cole visits in his many episodes of My Block My Hood My City gets much more business.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Defender: Chicago Announces Pilot Program to Develop Vacant Homes

This is a program I can get behind:
On Sunday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a new pilot program to acquire and rehabilitate vacant homes in Chicago neighborhoods that need investment and jobs. The program will create opportunities for local businesses while supporting affordable homeownership.

“This pilot program is a win-win-win. It creates employment opportunities for at-risk youth, supports community stability and turns vacant homes from community burdens into neighborhood strengths,” Emanuel said. “By working with local contractors and developers, the pilot initiative will help support community improvement and homeownership, while driving neighborhood economic development.”

Through the pilot program, the city is investing $2 million in a capital fund for neighborhood contractors, investors and developers to rehab vacant homes in designated communities. Support for the program will come from surplus funds initially designated for the property tax rebate program.

The program will work with community partners to facilitate acquisition of the properties, finance the renovations, and generate employment opportunities for at-risk youth to maintain the homes until they are rehabilitated and sold. The network of partners will ensure the program generates economic opportunities for local contractors, developers and investors. Partners will include the Emerson Collective and Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF).
Another idea I have is that we can bring some architecturally significant construction to areas with significant vacant lots. Of course what I hope doesn't happen is that the city decides what designs should be constructed. At the very least some work can still go to at-risk youths who will work on something that could prove to be groundbreaking. Another condition, a young hungry architect will get recognition. Of course this is only an idea an in recognition of Chicago's history of great architecture.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Watch President Obama's farewell speech

[VIDEO] On January 20th, 2017 President Barack Obama will be out of office succeeded by President Donald Trump. This farewell address was what many people have been waiting for as we heard about tickets available.

I missed this speech last night so believe me I'll be watching this with you all. To be honest I never always agreed with many of the President's policies - and I expect no more or less that I would with the President-elect Trump.

However I share this with the idea that many of our young men and women hopefully will be inspired to go into politics and maybe become President themselves in the future. If anyone is interested in taking this path one piece of advice - start running now!!!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Chicago Stars Ep. 2 - The Great Chicago Fire // MBMHMC tv

[VIDEO] I really like how the officials at the Chicago Fire Department Academy literally had to kick Jahmal Cole out of their training exercise. That is understandable at they are in training and surely there is an element of danger in their training.

Either way that segment is fitting as we explore another meaning for one of the stars on Chicago's flag - the Great Chicago Fire. We learn that there wasn't a fire started by a cow, but several fires near Lake Michigan which due to the buildings of the city at the time with wood and tar just spread all over the city.

Also ironically the alleged farm where the Great Chicago Fire started is exactly at the Chicago Fire Academy located at 558 W De Koven St.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Studio Movie Grill Chatham 14 NOT showing Hidden Figures?

The above ad had an old date -- the Hidden Figures movie website has January 6 as the new official wide release date
From The Sixth Ward writer JP Paulus...

Our local Theater, the Studio Movie Grill Chatham 14 Theaters , according to the website, doesn't seem to be showing the movie Hidden Figures this Sunday.

While Chatham 14 hasn't been black owned in some time  (with Michael Silver essentially taking it from the founders, Donzell and Alicia Starks , and then selling out to the Studio Movie Grill chain) , many of the staff, and more importantly, the audience remains the same.

This is puzzling because Chatham 14 hosted an event in September to celebrate the movie "Queen of Katwe". Now, that event was organized by an outside group, but certainly made my family proud to be there, and to see various African cultures (as well as chess playing) being celebrated all over the theater.

Now, with the renovations for becoming at true Studio Movie Grill facility have now taken over the lobby, I understand they couldn't do much. But surely they could have a flat movie display, with some homemade signs that say thing like "Future genius" or "Junior Mathematician".

Or even simpler -- just have it up on the website's schedule (under "Coming Soon") and allow for some advance ticket purchases. I was going to tell others to buy tickets for a certain show, but nothing was available. Many seats have bene changed over, so seating now is limited, and you have to arrive early in order to get good seating, so simply meeting at the theater for a certain show might not be practical.

If the company did any research, they should know that movies of African-American significance and/or interest are often sold out at opening weekend. Despite the construction, this would have been an excellent public relations opportunity. 

Instead, if the "Coming Soon" is accurate, it might actually be a lighter weekend than usual, with $5 Tuesday possibly being a stronger day.

My family will wind up watching" Hidden Figures" with friends this Sunday at Marcus Theaters - Country Club Hills this Sunday at the 3:15pm show. How about yours?

Fashion Show at the special Queen of Katwe movie night at Chatham 14

Chess Playing at the special Queen of Katwe movie night at Chatham 14

Runway for the fashion show

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Woodlawn - 2016 Curbed Cup champs

After the New Years break over at Curbed Chicago and some voting irregularity Woodlawn has won the Curbed Cup in 2016. In 2015 another south side community Pullman won the Curbed Cup.

So what's going on in Woodlawn that has caught Curbed's attention. This is from yesterday's post:
This new year is going to be an important one for the Woodlawn community. It seems like 2015 and 2016 were the years that really set a few major things in motion, but the neighborhood will really begin to see the fruits of these projects pay off in the coming years. In 2015, the neighborhood’s historic Shrine of Christ the King cathedral designed by Henry J. Schlacks burned down in a horrific blaze which left the church’s future in limbo. However, the community pulled together to save the historic building and work is underway to restore it.
However, the biggest news in Woodlawn in the last year has been about the future Obama Presidential Center. The new facility is planned for a section of Jackson Park which faces the Woodlawn community. It will be designed by the famous husband and wife architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and is expected to cost anywhere from $500 million up to $1 billion. The Obama Presidential Center is a major investment that will not only attract visitors to the community, but it help create new permanent jobs, and is expected to spur economic growth and new development activity throughout the South Side.
Congratulations to Woodlawn and may greater growth happen in that neighborhood. A future post I would like to reiterate those communities who I hope will place in future Curbed Cups. There was a similar post written about this last year.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking back at the year 2016

 A few stories that come to mind to wrap up the year 2016.

The Red Line extension to 130th street is moving forward. A draft environmental impact statement was submitted and there was a recent hearing regarding this future project. We also learned the extension may not open until 2026 at the earliest. But at least some progress is being made and the major step that need to be taken is funding.

We learned of the passing of Mr. Donzell Starks in October. Starks and his wife Alisa - or it appears the Starks' have at some point divorced - owned ICE Theaters which had owned and operated theaters in Chatham, Englewood and Lawndale. Chatham is now under Studio Movie Grill and no longer owned by ICE Theaters as of 2014. Both Englewood and Lawndale are closed. Around the time of Stark's death, I found through a Google search an article that reported that ICE Theaters had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015.

I'll also add that posting an image of Donzell Starks such as the one you saw above to Instagram resulted in 33 likes. Some of those may not have been from people who knew who he was, but many of them probably admired him as an entrepreneur that brought back a needed business to our communities.

A photo posted by The Sixth Ward (@thesixthward) on

Also the long awaited Whole Foods Market at 63rd & Halsted opened in late September to huge fanfare. It opened in the new Englewood Square shopping center which also opened a Starbuck's that opened the same day as the Whole Foods. In addition after the Whole Foods and Starbuck's open within about a month Englewood saw a Chipotle's open at Englewood Square.

Speaking of Whole Foods Market it was announced in spring 2016 that they're bringing a distribution center to 111th Street near the Wal-Mart Supercenter. It will count the new Methods plant and Gotham Greens as neighbors. In November an event to hire was advertised to help people who currently have a trade to work on this project.

Back in Chatham, the building that houses Pride Cleaners is for sale. It's considered an example of mid modern architecture and considered something of a landmark located near 79th & Rhodes. It was inspiration as the Chatham brand for The Chicago Neighborhoods.

Also after celebrating 50 years in 2015, it came out in the news that local lender Seaway Bank is in trouble in 2016. Here's hoping for a different result in 2017 for this significant Black-owned bank. The post above from Seaway's early days 50 years ago got 54 likes when it was reposted from Seaway's own ig profile.

Finally we had a presidential election and with Donald Trump as the President-elect there are many who are unhappy. The former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton solidly won this state and its electoral votes. In the rest of the country she won the popular vote, however, failed to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win the Presidency. There have been protests in downtown Chicago since the election.

Of course as far as politics, there will be a new State's Attorney in Cook County in Kim Foxx. She defeated two-term incumbent Anita Alvarez in the March 2016 Democratic Primary. Alvarez's defeat was attributed in part to the controversial police shooting in 2014 of one Laquan McDonald and her role in the suppression of the dashcam video of this incident.

Any other stories worth noting from 2016, feel free to let us know about them in our comments.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Vote for Wodlawn in the Curbed Cup neighborhood poll!

Location: Woodlawn, Chicago, IL, USA
Finally the South Side looks like it might get a bit of respect!
The website Curbed has an annual poll for best neighborhood...however, it's clear wo their clientele is, as most of the neighborhoods are predominantly white and upper class.

We encourage not just you, but all of your friends to vote for Woodlawn. If they win, then other neighborhoods we represent, like Chatham, Englewood and others, can also get a chance to win.

Read the article, then scroll down and VOTE here = http://chicago.curbed.com/2016/12/29/14116562/chicago-neighborhood-of-the-year-lakeview-woodlawn-2016

Share the link with friends. As of this writing, Woodlawn is down 626 votes. If we all share the word, it would be an amazing victory!

VIDEO: Chicago Stars Ep. 1 - Fort Dearborn // #MBMHMC tv

[VIDEO] Jahmal Cole asks Chicagoans what the first star on the Chicago flag represents. That star represents Fort Dearborn located near the Chicago River at Wacker & Michigan. The fort was named for a former Secretary of War who served in the cabinet of President Thomas Jefferson, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Let's see how many people Cole meets that knew this information.

The city's flag you will see above in the header of this blog and you will see another version below. The flag is part of this great city's identity.

Monday, December 19, 2016

HINZ: As Loop population booms, South Side's plummets

So according to Crain's Greg Hinz Chicago is finally emerging from the subprime mortgage recession of the last decade, however, it seems only the loop area so far has seen the greatest gains.
The city center now is growing faster than ever, having gained an estimated 42,423 people from 2010-15. But the population of the non-lakefront South Side is dropping even quicker, falling about 50,000 in the same period. The number of non-Hispanic whites, Asians and people of Hispanic descent is growing, but the number of non-Hispanic blacks is dropping.

The new data come from the 2015 American Community Survey, which is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau and was released last week.
The Census Bureau in 2012 reported this area grew faster in the first decade of the century than any downtown in the country, adding 48,000 people. But with an unprecedented construction wave underway, growth has hit the gas, with the area—roughly the Loop, plus the Near North, Near South and Near West sides—growing almost as much in five years as it did in the previous 10.

The area now is home to an estimated 238,259 residents. That's enough to make it the second largest city in Illinois, if it were counted by itself.

The population is also growing in the north section of the city—roughly the North and Northwest sides, plus the demographically similar area around the West Side Medical Center, the Southwest Side and the South Side lakefront—which Zotti puts together with a few inland neighborhoods that are close by public transit to well-paying downtown service jobs. Each of those lost considerable population between 2000 and 2010, but each now is gaining people.
 The map above illustrates where the people are going or leaving. As you see the far south side has lost almost 50,000 people. The bottom number you see, I believe is long term population loss.

So which specific neighborhoods on the south side are losing people:
But the city is still losing people in Austin and other neighborhoods west of the United Center. And the total number of residents inland from the lakefront, or Far South Side, continues the free-fall that began in the last decade. Total population there has gone from 526,750 to 476,903, ACS figures show.

That's a remarkable drop of nearly 10 percent—in just five years.

Among once-solidly middle-class, industrial African-American neighborhoods that are being hammered:
  • Auburn Gresham, off 7,159 residents to an estimated 45,842.
  • Englewood, down 6,911 people, to 26,121.
  • West Englewood, down 6,552, to 32,156.
  • Roseland, which lost 5,141 residents and is down to 42,305.
  • Chatham, which has 31,359 residents after losing 3,664.
Overall, the population figures roughly track income data that I wrote about earlier this year, in which other demographers suggested Chicago is turning into three cities: one prosperous and growing, one vanishing, and the third treading water.
Now the challenge to reverse these many trends.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Housing in Roseland

34 W. 114th Street
Found this nice home on instagram via marquisdefacade and offers this caption talking about the Roseland neighborhood.
This home is in Chicago's Roseland neighborhood, located at 34 W. 114th Street. So, it's literally on the block just west of State St. Point of fact. State Street is basically Chicago's ground 0. Anything east of it has an E. on the street number, and anything west has a W. on the street number.

I love research. So I did some digging. The homes in this area are cheap. This home is not for sale, but 30 W. 114th St. is asking $38,000, 41 W. 114th is asking $15,000, and 117 W. 114th St. is asking $17,000.

Whenever there is a census, there is a book that has come out called the Local Community Fact Book. I'm basically missing the version with the 1970 census stats, as well as the 2000 and 2010 versions. Not sure if books were made after the 2000 and 2010 censuses.

 Each neighborhood in the Community Fact Books is divided into census areas. In the area where this home is located, in 1960 the census tract was 100% white and the median price of a home was $13,000. By 1980 the census tract changed to 96% black, with the median house price being $28,800. So, in 20 years the median price barely doubled.

By 1990, the census tract containing this home was 99% black with the median value being $45,500. In 1960, 58,750 people lived in the Roseland community of Chicago. 77% were white and 23% were black. In 1970, 62,512 people lived in Roseland. 44% were white and 55% were black. By 1980, 64,372 people lived in Roseland. 99% were black. In 1990, 56,493 people lived in Roseland. 99% were black. I couldn't find the year 2000 info. The year 2010 showed Roseland contained 44,619 people and 98% were black.

As the population continues to drop, as well as the value of homes, what do you think will happen? Desolation like Detroit, or people sick of paying ridiculous prices for homes and having huge student debt, start buying in here and fixing 💩up?
BTW, if you're confused by what you're seeing next to up it's basically supposed to be an emoticon denoting excrement.

All the same this is quite an interesting idea? Home values drop as you still illustrated here so will Roseland be the next neighborhood for the rest of us?

The comments in that post seem somewhat dismissive, unless in the next decade the CTA finally builds and operates the Red Line extension. Granted though this is still a long way from downtown Chicago, however with this extension residents will get much easier access to downtown Chicago.

As with all things however all we can do is wait and see.

On a related note marquisdefacade had news on the blue "White House" that we've been following. It had been sold earlier this year. Also related to this perhaps we're seeing something similar in Englewood, property owners taking advantage of the depressed housing prices.

A photo posted by Steve (@marquisdefacade) on