June 27, 2022
Several Epsteiners toured Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood last Friday to learn more about its history and culture with social media influencer Shermann "Dilla" Thomas.
Dilla, a lifelong resident of Auburn-Gresham and ComEd employee whose father was a retired Chicago Police Officer, has quickly become well known in Chicago as its “Urban Historian”, a title that he has welcomed thanks to his love of history and our great city. What started as a way to connect with his 8-year-old daughter, his Tik Tok account evolved into a love letter to Chicago of sorts, providing an absolute spectrum of facts on some of the city’s luminaries, Chicago’s grid system (which he has memorized thanks to his work with ComEd) to the creation of Italian beef sandwiches.
The tour took us from Epstein’s home at 600 W. Fulton through what was once Chicago’s Greek Town, east to the South Loop, to the Bronzeville neighborhood. Points of interest included the former home of Louis Armstrong, Chess Records, Provident Hospital, the Chicago Defender Building, Harold Washington Cultural Center, the Great Northern Migration monument, and the now-empty lot of the former Michael Reese Hospital before it was torn down for the failed Olympic bid.
What truly stood out were the empty lots that pepper the neighborhood, visible signs of systemic issues that have long troubled parts of Chicago. The tour was a stark reminder of how Bronzeville came to be present day, but to also remind us that “everything dope about America came from Chicago!”
You can follow Dilla on social media: @6figga_dilla