Explore history on a walking tour of Bronzeville

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Pieces of history are everywhere. During Black History Month, we took a look at some of most historical monuments you can find on a walking history tour in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

"Right in this area that we're in there are four Chicago landmarks that you can walk up and touch," said Bronzeville tour guide Bernard Turner.

Bernard Turner is our tour guide. Turner founded Highlights of Chicago Press with the publication of "A View of Bronzeville," a neighborhood tour guide that focuses on the important institutions and people that made Bronzeville a great neighborhood.

"I used to give people information about the neighborhood, about the history of the neighborhood and specifically why people moved here in the first place," said Turner.

One of the many important stops on the tour was the monument to the Great Chicago Migration.

"What's significant about it is you see a man standing on a pile of actually of soles of shoes. So the soles of shoes represents all the people that came here from the south. He's holding his valise and he's facing north so that's the significance of it. It's by Allison Saar, she's a sculptor from California," said Turner. "It's really at the entrance to the neighborhood."

Near 35th and King Drive there's the the Victory Monument, dedicated to the African American soldiers that fought in World War 1.

"This was designed by an architect name John Nyden and the figures that you see here were done by Leonard Crunelle. He was a protégé of Lorado Taft who the man who did the fountain of time in Washington Park. The significance is this is Columbia which is a United States symbol. On the other side is an African American soldier and an African American woman," said Turner. "These are names of soldiers that fought in WWI. This is a significant monument to African American soldiers."

The last stop on the tour was Supreme Liberty Life Insurance Building that was founded in 1919 by Frank Gillespie. It is one of the largest companies that African Americans could get insurance policies from when other businesses wouldn't allow it.

"Many of these buildings around here you can actually go up and see that it's a Chicago Landmark. When it was built, when it was remodeled and the information about architecture and what it's made of. Some of the other building also have plaques, you can go up and touch them. You can touch a landmark," said Turner.

Honestly we made so many more stops on this tour. Turner has served as a gallery interpreter at the Chicago History Museum since 2000 and he is a wealth of knowledge. For more information, click here.
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