Brightscapes: The Way To Beauty
On a Chicago Street Corner
On this plots of land, the long grass of the Illinois prairie gave way to squalid tenements of Irish immigrants in the 1840s. They escaped famine and oppression in their homeland to find abuse, poverty, and the backbreaking labor of digging canals, building roads, and constructing the railroads. The neighborhood had frequent Cholera outbreaks because of the constant flooding.
Seeking religious and political freedoms from the Austrians, Czech immigrants moved to this muddy Chicago neighborhood. They opened a restaurant called "At the City of Plzeň", which inspired the Pilsen neighborhood's name. When banks refused to loan them money to build homes, they formed their own credit unions to finance the neo-Bohemian Baroque architecture that is treasured today.
In the 1950, the construction of the Stevenson Expressway forced Mexican immigrants from their homes to the Hull House Neighborhood. Soon after, they were forced from their homes again to make room for the University of Illinois Chicago campus. When the Latino community began to appear in Pilsen, they fought discrimination to have a place to live, to be members of churches, to open shops, and to have their children receive decent educations. So, when another Urban Renewal plan for Pilsen was discovered, they fought back to save the neighborhood they worked so hard to create.
These streets bear the scars of injustice and the hope for opportunity for all. Overcoming our prejudice to the cause of freedom is what gives us hope in America.
More About Mike Kraus Art
@BostonVoyager Magazine Interview
Join my @540WestMain Community Learning Academy workshop "How To Become A Professional Artist
Graphic Ear Interview on @WAYOradio 104.3 FM Rochester at:
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