Bronzeville is one of the oldest black neighborhoods in Chicago, and it was traditionally the commercial and cultural center of the city’s African-American community. Hit during the second half of the 20th century with changes in the South Side population patterns, loss of stockyard and steel mills, discriminatory lending practices and attempts at urban renewal saw the community’s fortunes decline, and its commercial district’s dying out. The collapse of the housing market in 2008 made earlier revitalization efforts difficult.
While we face our own set of challenges, our developments are tailored to the specific needs and unique assets of our community. We provide job opportunities to residents, quality goods and services for existing and new residents, and unique events and attractions to encourage visitors to enjoy the wealth of culture Bronzeville has to offer. As a result, these developments help to stabilize our communities, facilitate their integration with the broader region, and improve the well-being of residents.
Our approach to revitalization is this - use the local culture and rich history to create a destination type of experience that attracts customers to engage in commercial opportunities and inspire residents to come out and interact with their growing community. In this way, signature, black culture and history can be learned and celebrated while underserved minority residents feel a sense of pride and hope in new opportunities.
We’re developing restaurants that feature black cuisine from across the globe. We operate a co-working facility to lift up the next generation of community enterprises and maintain an award-winning garden and bicycling programs that attract visitors and bring residents together.
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Build Bronzeville Team
Bernard’s civic efforts are focused on improving access to economic opportunity. In Chicago, he currently serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Metropolitan Planning Council and of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s Green Ribbon Committee. He recently served as member and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Centers for New Horizons, as co-chairman of the governor-appointed Dan Ryan Taskforce, and as convener of the Friends of the Checkerboard Lounge. He also has served on the board of trustees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A native of Chicago, Bernard was raised primarily in Germany and Liberia, West Africa. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT, including a doctorate in computational fluid dynamics and a masters of science in business. He and his family reside in Chicago’s Bronzeville community.
Rachel Gadson was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. She has a strong attachment to the creative arts community and is a proud Chicagoan. She attended Florida A&M University where she attained her Bachelors in the field of Graphic Design; and also studied internationally at Studio Arts Center International, in Florence, Italy.
A combination of love for the creative arts industry, and a keen desire to empower creatives shapes the trajectory of Rachel's career and it's the same fire that keeps her propelling toward her goals.
Fashionista and collector, Kaaron imbues everything she does with her unique combination of style, commitment, and grit. Born and raised on the Southside of Chicago she has a huge commitment to community and youth engagement.
John has used his painting skills across all of our platforms. He has been the lead painter on The Bronzeville Incubator, Boxville, and other Urban Juncture projects.
In his spare time, he enjoys writing songs and painting portraits, he gets a thrill out of working at Urban Juncture and meeting different creative people like himself on a daily basis.
Our developments are tailored to the specific needs & unique assets of our communities. We provide job opportunities to residents, quality goods and services to serve existing and secure new residents, and unique events and attractions to attract visitors. As a result, we help to stabilize our communities, facilitate their integration with the broader region, and improve the well-being of residents.Learn More
It takes a commitment from and collaboration between community members, the business sector, government municipalities, and charitable foundations to bring each new concept to life. Our partners in revitalization are critical to Build Bronzeville’s success. Learn how you can help.Donate
It takes a commitment from and collaboration between community members, the business sector, government municipalities, and charitable foundations to bring each new concept to life. Our partners in revitalization are critical to Build Bronzeville’s success. Learn how you can help.Learn More
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