Mapping the Blues

A Cultural Geography of the Black Metropolis in the 1960s

<a href="/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=50&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=503+E+43rd+St+%28Pepper%27s+Lounge%29">503 E 43rd St (Pepper's Lounge)</a>

Pepper's Lounge at 503 E 43rd St. regularly hosted Muddy Waters among many other Chicago blues luminaries

Using the photographic archive of Raeburn Flerlage at the Chicago History Museum, Mapping the Blues combines images of blues performances and the built environment to reveal a new dimension of black Chicagoans' cultural geography in the midst of a massive wave of migration and the emerging "urban crisis."

As Flerlage walked the streets of the South Side, observing the annual Bud Billiken Day celebrations and ducking into the bars, clubs, and ballrooms that hosted countless blues musicians  in the 1960s, he documented both the Black Belt's residents and their rapidly changing environment: nineteenth-century single-family homes converted into kitchenettes and new high-rise residential buildings, storefront churches and small businesses, South Parkway facades and Washington Park's green space.