Demolition looms for Chicago’s final Phyllis Wheatley home

CHICAGO (WLS) — The three-story, vacant, dilapidated Washington Park home is just not a lot to take a look at. It is owned by Dr. JoAnn Tate, who lived there together with her household for 30 years.”My youngsters used to skate in there, it is simply that huge,” she recalled.

READ MORE | Black History Month 2021 follows year of racial reckoningFor a few years it was simply Tate’s house. However then she came upon it is the final standing Phyllis Wheatley Home in Chicago, providing shelter and sources to younger Black girls who moved north in the course of the Nice Migration.

The house was bought in 1915 by the Phyllis Wheatley Membership, named for Phillis Wheatley, an enslaved lady who was the primary revealed Black poet in the US within the 18th century.

“She was somebody who made a distinction at such a younger age,” Tate mentioned.

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For many years, 5128 South Michigan Avenue was house to Black girls who had nowhere else to go.

“This was the one settlement in Chicago that was run by all Black girls, and all the cash was offered by the Black group,” mentioned Fiona Maxwell, a College of Chicago PhD candidate whose dissertation examines the historical past of settlement homes in Chicago. “I believe destroying this home could be a misplaced alternative for memorializing and sharing that story.”A Circuit Court docket listening to in regards to the Wheatley Home is ready for March 16. At the moment, a decide could concern an order to demolish the construction. Within the meantime, those that know in regards to the constructing are doing what they will to reserve it from the wrecking ball.

“We need to encourage the town, the courts and all people to work collectively to restore this constructing, make it a landmark and make it one thing the group can take pleasure in as soon as once more,” mentioned Ward Miller, govt director of Preservation Chicago.

It is estimated repairs to the house may run near $1 million, however these preventing to reserve it say its worth is priceless.

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