- Created on 24 December 2012
The community is invited to learn about Kwanzaa at the Bronzeville Children's Museum.
In addition to learning about the seven principles of Kwanzaa, this educational session will feature storyteller Oba King, songs and crafts.
The event, free for members and $5.00 per person for non-members, will be held on Wednesday, December 26 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. at 9301 S. Stony Island Avenue. Call (773) 721-9301 for more information.
- Created on 21 December 2012
AP) — Three Asian carp now call Chicago's Shedd Aquarium home.
Shedd Aquarium debuted the fish on Thursday. Fisheries biologists with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources found the fish in an inland lagoon at Chicago's Humboldt Park in October.
Officials say they're unsure how the invasive species ended up in the lagoon. The carp are now on public display.
Asian carp were imported decades ago to the U.S. They migrated up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and are poised to invade the Great Lakes, where scientists say they could out-compete native fish for food.
- Created on 19 December 2012
(AP) — Chicago's renowned Field Museum says it will cut staff, overhaul operations and limit the scope of its research because of a high debt load and the recession.
Museum officials say they also might change hours of operation and raise admission prices for special exhibits at one of the city's best-known cultural attractions.
The Field Museum is known for its research into plants and animals and impressive collections, including Sue, the world's largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex.
Officials say the Field's cost-cutting measures will be an opportunity to refocus the museum's mission.
They say they hope to cut $5 million in costs and increase the museum's endowment by $100 million. Museum staff and board members will work on a plan between now and July 1.
The museum was founded in 1893.
- Created on 20 December 2012
Beware: When you fling open the door of Abundance Bakery, the awesome smell of glaze and frosting will force you into confectionary bliss. Step into the small shop and you will find yourself going eenie-meenie-miney-mo with which shall I go? It's all a yes: the glaze donuts, velvet cake, fudge brownies or caramel upsidedown cupcakes. And if that doesn't send you into olfactory overdrive, consider the cookies and other treats.
William "Bill" Ball has been baking to-die-for desserts for decades. His Abundance Bakery, in the heart of the Bronzeville community at 47th Street and Michigan Avenue, is easily missed, sandwiched between two other businesses on the block. But once you find it you never forget - the location or the tasty experience.
Ball got into baking after being laid off from a sales job. He fell back on what he had experienced as a child tugging at his mother's apron in the kitchen: baking.
He created a brand for his products - which are also available in as many as five local restaurants - called Uncle Villy. The name was strategic.
"I didn't want to be 'Uncle Billy,' the confection master explained.
"There is a thousand brands called 'Uncle Billy.'"
The bakery's latest featured item is a cupcake dripping with gooey - delicious - homemade caramel-tasting frosting that he admits his wife came up with. But whoever the creator, it is definitely one of the bakery's must-tries.
Abundance Bakery is in no way short on the things we crave most: butter and sugar.
Ball warns that his "snacks" are not for the dietary faint at heart.
"We try to pay attention to detail," he said. And the proof is in the customers who travel from all over the city and suburbs to get peach cobbler, fritters and other treats.
Ball includes among his customers former Mayor Richard M. Daley. He also crafted birthday cakes for the Obama girls - before they changed their address to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
But he and his wife are a mainstay in community.
"We wanted to have a grassroots business," he said. "And we know everybody here anyway."
It's hardly a secret around parts of town that Abundance Baker is one of the city's top bakeries.
And Ball said there is little secret about his success.
"You gotta make things good, that's all," he said.
- Created on 18 December 2012
(AP) — President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington for Civil Rights were 100 years apart, but both changed the nation and expanded freedoms.
Beginning Friday, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture is presenting a walk back in time through two eras. A new exhibit, "Changing America," parallels the 1863 emancipation of slaves with the 1963 March on Washington.
An inkwell Lincoln used to draft what would become the Emancipation Proclamation is on display on one side of the timeline, while the pen President Lyndon Johnson used to sign the Civil Rights Act is on the other.
A rare signed copy of the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery — once owned by abolitionist House Speaker Schuyler Colfax, who helped push the resolution through Congress — is on loan from businessman David Rubenstein. It echoes the plotline of the current movie "Lincoln."
At times when some believed slavery would never end and later that segregation would never end,history shows that creative leadership can "find a way to perfect America," museum Director Lonnie Bunch said.
"It took courage, it took strategy, it took loss," he said. "But ultimately, it changed America for the better."
The exhibit is on view through September at the National Museum of American History while the black history museum is under construction.
The Smithsonian is publicly displaying several artifacts from slave life for the first time to set the scene for emancipation. They include the Bible that belonged to Nat Turner, who led a slave rebellion in Virginia, and a shawl given to abolitionist Harriet Tubman by Queen Victoria. Another section includes shackles used to chain children, a slave whip and buttons used to identify people as property.
A broadside advertising a slave sale announces that "plantation hands" would be auctioned in the rotunda of the St. Louis Hotel.
The museum also acquired a tent from a "contraband camp" or "freedmen's village" that sprung up to house slaves that had self-emancipated by crossing over Union lines.
"Slaves were not passive recipients of freedom," Bunch said. "In essence, their action of running away forced the federal government to create policies that culminated in the Emancipation Proclamation."
Facing the former slave's tent in the exhibit is Lincoln's everyday suit with a long black jacket, bow tie and his iconic top hat from the Smithsonian collection.
It is likely the first time Lincoln's suit has been next to an encampment that housed formerly enslaved people since 1865, said Harry Rubenstein, a curator of political history at the Smithsonian.
Displaying Lincoln's suit this way "tells a powerful story of him, in a sense, facing this encampment," Rubenstein said. Lincoln encountered such scenes every day in his final years, seeing encampments of freed slaves in Washington as he rode about town.
The Civil Rights section includes posters and placards carried in the March on Washington and shards of stained glass from the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., where four young black girls were killed in an explosion.
Bunch said he wanted to mark the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1 and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington in August. He also wanted to reach the crowds attending President Barack Obama's inauguration in January. A passage from Obama's first inaugural speech is quoted in the exhibition opposite a quotation from abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
"I realized that the inauguration is a time when people begin to look back," Bunch said, "to understand who we once were as we also begin to look at who we might become."