South Side street renamed after Josephine "Mother" Wade

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One woman?s service to the city and the less fortunate is making Chicago proud. (WLS)

One woman's service to the city and the less fortunate is making Chicago proud.

Josephine "Mother" Wade is a pioneer, a civil rights activist, and a soul food sensation. On Saturday, Wade was honored with a permanent tribute to honor her legacy in the Chicago community she calls home.

Wade, a woman who people say has been a mother to many, has lived in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood for decades.

"A trailblazer, a pioneer," said Pastor Walter Turner of Wade.

That South Side community renamed a street after her on Saturday. The corner of the 79th and Vernon will now be known as Mother Josephine Wade Way. It is just steps from Wade's diner, Josephine's Cooking Restaurant, which she has owned for 30 years.

"We've never had our restaurant broken into, customers have never been robbed," said Victor Love, Wade's son. "They respect her. These are her corners and she runs all this and they respect that."

Wade, who is also a mortgage broker and civic leader, was celebrated at the ceremony, attended by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other politicians, as well as a large number of community and faith-based leaders.

The 74-year-old activist received the street naming honor after several community groups came up with the idea and lobbied city officials.

"I think she's touched all of our lives in so many different ways, but always willing and able to help," said Alderman Roderick Sawyer (Ward 6).

Also known for her community work, Wade was instrumental in helping elect the city's first black mayor, Harold Washington.

About to turn 75, Wade shows no signs of slowing down, and said her accomplishments are just about doing God's work.

"I just love what I do and I wouldn't have it any other way," Wade said.

Related Topics:
societychicago proudChathamChicago
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