Chicago South: Bronzeville / Monument to the Great Northern Migration – by Alison Saar

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Monument to the Great Northern Migration – by Sculptor: Alison Saar

Installed: 1996

Bronze / Height: 15ft.

Location: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. at 26 street.

City of Chicago Public Art Collection

This bronze figure is a testament to the thousands of African Americans who migrated to Chicago in the early 20th century in search of greater freedom and opportunity. The traveler’s hand is raised in salutation to his new home. His other hand carries a worn suitcase symbolic of his journey, dreams and talents. The bollards surrounding the monument are also suitcases that are textured with a pattern derived from the tin ceilings of the era. The figure is oriented to the north symbolizing the traveler’s destination.

Bronzeville is a jewel of the Chicago south side, and said to be second only to Harlem, in providing a legacy of cultural gifts to America and the world.  The area grew during the “Great Migration” of the 1910-1920, when black population from the southern United States migrated into the area to work in Chicago’s rapidly expanding industrial sector.  By 1990s,  31 percent of its population of this area, lived with household incomes below $10,000.

Sculptor Alison Saar is an American sculptor, painter and installation artist whose work explores themes of African cultural diaspora and spirituality.

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Monument to the Great Northern Migration - by Alison Saar

Monument to the Great Northern Migration – by Alison Saar

 

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Monument to the Great Northern Migration - by Alison Saar

Monument to the Great Northern Migration – by Alison Saar

 

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The plaque reads
Monument to the Great Northern Migration
This bronze monument depicts a man
wearing a suit made of shoe soles rising from amount of soles.
The soles worn and full of holes symbolize the often difficult journey from the south to the north.
It commemorates all the African-American men and women who migrated to Chicago after the Civil War.
Alison Saar, Sculptor
City of Chicago Public Art Collection
Richard M Daley, Mayor
1996.

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Monument to the Great Northern Migration - by Alison Saar

Monument to the Great Northern Migration – by Alison Saar

 

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Monument to the Great Northern Migration - by Alison Saar

Monument to the Great Northern Migration – by Alison Saar

 

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Monument to the Great Northern Migration - by Alison Saar

Monument to the Great Northern Migration – by Alison Saar

 

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Monument to the Great Northern Migration - by Alison Saar

Monument to the Great Northern Migration – by Alison Saar

 

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RELATED LINKS

The King Drive Gateway Project [1996].. click here..
Bronzeville Public Art .. click here..
Chicago, Art by Location.. click here..

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