Built in 1897, The Forum is home to the oldest assembly and social hall in Bronzeville and contains what may be the oldest hardwood assembly floor in Chicago. The historic assembly floor, once re-opened, will host live cultural performances such as live blues bands, comedy shows, and dance performances. This imposing red brick building was an epicenter of the “Black Metropolis,” the “city-within-a-city” created by African Americans to provide the retail and social needs they were barred from accessing within broader Chicago. The Forum hosted leading performers, prominent social events, and some of the era’s most important union meetings and political assemblies while providing a wide range of hospitality and retail amenities. After remaining vacant for nearly 30 years, the Forum was narrowly saved from city-ordered demolition in 2011 by a neighborhood resident who brought together a team to stabilize the complex and develop a plan for its revitalization.
Five-10-minute overviews of the history of The Forum will be provided every 30 minutes.