The Société historique de Bronzeville celebrates its grand opening on Saturday in the Parkway Ballroom


GRAND BOULEVARD – The Société historique de Bronzeville has moved into a permanent home – and plans to celebrate on Saturday.

Visitors will be able to explore the organization’s digs at Parkway Ballroom, 4455 S. King Drive, where founder Sherry Williams is planning a grand opening to announce the group’s return. It’s scheduled for Saturday noon-2 p.m.

People are welcome to register for the opening event in line.

The company opened on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus several years ago. But the pandemic forced Williams to close her office at the school, so the historian took her virtual program.

The move ended up working, as finding a home that would allow the space to expand was still part of the plan, Williams said.

The new space measures 5,000 square feet, with three classrooms large enough to accommodate 20 to 40 people and a common area where exhibits and photographs will be displayed.

Among the exhibits will be “Reimagine Aunt Jemima,” a glimpse into the lives of the women behind the iconic breakfast brand, which will be available until December 31st. It was previously on display at the Woodson Regional Library.

“We had to extract from the Pullman archives [State Historic] Site, IIT and two storage units. It took about three weeks to put everything in place, ”said Williams. “There were a lot of moving parts, but I’m excited.

A second space will tell the story of the Great Migration through the objects brought by families from the South to the big city: trunks, a dressing table – originally owned by Williams’ great-grandmother – and a brass bed will all be on display. .

Old photographs of Izola’s, the restaurant that was once the jewel of 79th Street, will also be visible.

The ballroom itself is steeped in history, hosting legends like Nat King Cole and Count Basie in its heyday. Clifford Rome, a native of Englewood, reopened the ballroom in 2002.

With the opening of the historical society, the district is undergoing a renaissance, with the return of the Forum and a new performing arts center and museum to come in the next few years.

Saturday’s celebration also includes a screening of ‘Black theater: the making of a movement,»Presented in collaboration with South side projections.

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