Popular TikToker Dilla the Urban historian offers historic tours

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A popular Chicago TikToker is using his knowledge of history to educate others by offering historical tours! His first one will be in the South Side's Bronzeville community.

If you have a TikTok, then you might have heard of Shermann Thomas, a.k.a Dilla the Urban Historian. With over 52,000 followers on the app, Thomas is known for sharing interesting historical Chicago facts. The history lover who grew up on the South Side of Chicago got his start on TikTok because of his daughter.

"I was trying to convince her to do historical TikToks about Chicago. I'd feed her some lines, and she just didn't think it would work. So I did the first one to try to convince her that people would like it. She still didn't want to do it, but in the comment section people kept telling me to keep going," said Thomas.

Thomas' videos range from looking into the Chicago grid to even the history of the invention of the brownie. His love for history started at a young age, stemming from his father, a Chicago policeman. His father made Thomas memorize the streets of Chicago before GPS existed.

"Sometimes Chicago is displayed in a negative manner, and some of the greatest contributions to the American fabric comes from Chicago, and so it's important to highlight that," said Thomas.

As his followers grew, Thomas was itching to offer more. He will be hosting historical tours in and around the historic Bronzeville community on the South Side on Juneteenth and Father's Day weekend. Thomas said his tours are sold out, attributing it to the city reopening this weekend.

He said he continues to make his popular TikToks, not just for his curiosity, but to inspire his children to keep learning and succeed. Thomas said he is in the process of creating a non-profit that will offer his historical tours for free.
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