CHICAGO (WLS) --This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of America's most significant stories.
A local group is kicking off a year-long celebration of the period known as The Great Migration.
The Great Migration brought roughly 7 million African Americans from the rural south to the urban north beginning in 1916. About half a million settled in Chicago. Many believe that is cause for celebration.
Maggie Brown sings the story Great Migration. The daughter of jazz legend Oscar Brown Jr. has penned what may become the soundtrack of the celebration.
The mass movement of African Americans helped shape Chicago as the home of blues, jazz and gospel music. The Black Metropolis National Heritage Commission plans to use hundredth anniversary as a time to educate.
The commission has partnered with a number of local organizations to plan events that span the year. The theme is "Creating A New Promise."
"It's important to the youth because they need to know the story," said David Peterson, A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum. "We're using our own history, heritage and culture to do that."
The group expects the events to increase tourism to the Bronzeville neighborhood and generate much-needed revenue. They believe this year of celebration will help prime the neighborhood for its future as a travel destination.
The long-term goal of the 2016 Great Migration Centennial Commission is to get a congressional designation for the Bronzeville area.
They say telling the story of the neighborhood's significance in The Great Migration will go a long way to help that cause.