NFT Chicago Washington Park

Washington Park

Anchored by its namesake park and the DuSable Museum, one of the nation's most important institutions dedicated to African American history and culture, this area has seen a bit of urban renewal lately. Washington Park itself is a registered historic district and features Lorado Taft's 127-foot-long concrete sculpture, Fountain of Time, at its eastern gate, as well as a pond, track and swimming pool.

While family reunions, baseball games, and pan-African festivals dominate the leisure activities of today's Washington Park, these 372 acres used to sport carriage rides, horseracing, and other pursuits looming large in the social lives of Gilded Age dandies. The home cookin' of See more.

>Miss Lee will cure the appetite you build up wandering the park.


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Posted By:  Mark F. Armstrong
Photo:  Mark F. Armstrong

Washington Park
Toward the tail end of its decade-old existence, the African Festival of the Arts was finding itself in midlife crisis after an earlier heyday as the Labor Day Weekend event for Greater Chicagland’s black community and others with afro-centric tastes. The necessity of making the festival more relevant to today’s popular youth culture, especially hip-hop fans, lead to reinvention by the AFA’s organizers. Despite reservations about opening the floodgates to a so-called gangsta element, AFA’s organizers took the bold step of green-lighting the festival’s very first Hip-Hop Pavilion. The Hip-Hop Pavilion’s panel discussions, business expo, film festival, dramatic performances, and Hip-Hop Stage performances—all organized by the Chicago Local Organizing Committee of the 2006 National Hip-Hop Political Convention—drew record crowds on both ends of the generation gap. A reggae soul group abandoned the main stage and took up residence on the Hip-Hop stage. On the very last day of the festival, the Hip-Hop Pavilion’s organizers announced that Roberta ack was performing on the main stage, but the crowd would not be moved from the Hip-Hop Pavilion until the fat lady finished busting a low.

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