Myiti Sengstacke – Rice, Founder and Publisher
It’s an interesting dynamic, living and working in 21st century Bronzeville. Historically, for many reasons, Bronzeville, in Chicago, has been a template, a foundation for progress in our communities nationally and internationally. At times it has been called the Black Metropolis, Black Wallstreet and the Promised Land.
In this issue, honoring Black History and Women’s History, we are proud to feature Chicago’s very own J Ivy, Poet Extraordinaire, who recently made history by winning a Grammy in the very category that he helped create. Pastor Otis Moss, shares wisdom and insight in the release of his new book: Dancing in the Darkness. Of course, with another election season Dr. Bob Starks shares his take on what these candidates need to do to improve the trajectory of our community.
Our goal is to build solid, productive communities through wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the importance of education. We who are blessed to carry this power of knowingness deep within us don’t take the responsibility lightly.
Past victories and challenges are evident everywhere you look in Bronzeville. A place that continues to be the Mecca for advancing our history. The courageous men, women and children who lived and worked here before us left an indelible mark on the history of Bronzeville and a blueprint pointing the way forward.
The building we work in, built In 1921, was headquarters to Supreme Life Insurance, the first African American owned insurance company in the northern United States. That same year, 1921, Robert Sengstacke Abbott, purchased a press in order to take over the printing of the Chicago Defender Newspaper, then located on 34th and Indiana. Having established the newspaper in 1905, he was now able to pay for the printing press in full with his own money.
Black owned Provident Hospital, established in 1891, was providing care for the Bronzeville community and beyond due to racist practices in Chicago’s mainstream medical institutions. The Regal Theater, the Club DeLisa and the Bud Billiken Parade, were just a few of the places that showcased the irrepressible talent of the Black community. 47th Street was a bustling business district and money circulated within the community many times over before going to the broader metropolis.
Our tagline for Bronzeville Life states: It’s not about geography, it’s about a lifestyle. We continue to work from and honor the roots of Bronzeville in Chicago, but our ancestors have given us wings and we acknowledge the power of Bronzeville wherever that love of building community exists in the world.
In our insulation we found our strength, our inventive genius and we largely maintained our compassion for one another. We instilled a spirit of excellence in our children and we stood on our faith. We are now the keepers of the future our ancestors envisioned.