The International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP) announced that the Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission in Chicago, Illinois, has joined the alliance as a destination member. “This is our first member from the state of Illinois,” said ICTP Chairman Juergen T. Steinmetz, “We are pleased to have the Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Project as a new destination member, and are proud of the work they are doing to preserve and share the history and legacy of the Great Migration as a significant American Story.”
In 2004, the Bronzeville Community Development Partnership in Chicago formed a steering committee to work on the Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Project, hosting heritage development Summits in 2005, 2007, and 2008. In 2007, a 12-member delegation attended the Alliance of National Heritage Areas International Conference in Detroit, Michigan. In 2008, they hosted a legislative reception during the Illinois Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Springfield, Illinois, and presented a proposal to have the state designate the Great Migration Centennial.
The Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission was incorporated in 2008. After more than 4 years of working with US Congressman Bobby Rush, House Resolution 5505 “to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of designating the study area as the Black Metropolis District National Heritage Area in the State of Illinois, and for other Purposes” was originally introduced into the United States House of Representatives on February 27, 2008.
President of ICTP, Professor Geoffrey Lipman, said: “We are particularly impressed by the innovative concept of linking the Community Heritage project with the incredible National Park Service structure, vision, and achievement… this is an interesting model for linking city and rural green growth planning.”
The purpose of the Heritage Area Commission is to promote heritage and cultural tourism in the near south side Chicago community of Bronzeville by seeking a National Heritage Area (NHA) designation from the National Park Service. The Commission is charged with developing, executing, and overseeing a management plan for the NHA, as well as raising the funds to support the NHA and building consensus in the community. It strives to facilitate community development, coordinate the efforts of various groups and individuals, and attract both public and private funding in the Bronzeville community.
The Heritage Area Commission is located in the heart of the Bronzeville community, and their commitment has been demonstrated through two decades of preservation efforts to save the physical places that tell Bronzeville’s story.