Photo: Illinois Officce of Tourism/Dice Sales
From 1916 to 1970, thousands of African Americans moved from rural areas in the South to the cities of the north, fleeing racial violence and inequality. Known as the Great Migration, this era brought a wave of southern music, food and culture to cities like Chicago, which quickly became known for its African American community and the culture they brought along with them.
Chicago is home to institutions like the DuSable Museum of African American History, which was the first of its kind to be dedicated to exploring the history and culture of this community.
It’s also home to Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation. Located in the former Chess Records recording studio, this museum and nonprofit organization explores the impact that cities in the north had on blues music, and how that unique sound ultimately transformed into rock and roll.
Several of the clubs where this transformation took place are still Chicago staples, such as Kingston Miles and Buddy Guy’s Legends, where visitors can still go to hear rock and blues, both modern and traditional.