A NEW LIGHT ON THE SOUTH SIDE

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - TRAVEL + LEISURE - Con­struc­tion be­gins on the Obama Pres­i­den­tial Cen­ter (obama.org) in 2019; it is ex­pected to open in 2021.

MARTIN NES­BITT, CHAIR OF THE OBAMA FOUN­DA­TION, EX­PLAINS WHY CHICAGO’S LARGEST AND MOST VI­BRANT NEIGH­BOR­HOOD IS THE IDEAL LO­CA­TION FOR THE OBAMA PRES­I­DEN­TIAL CEN­TER—AND HOW THE LI­BRARY AND MU­SEUM MAY BRING ABOUT A POS­I­TIVE TRANS­FOR­MA­TION FOR THIS RE­SILIENT COM­MU­NITY.

For me, the South Side is the true heart of Chicago. Its peo­ple, cul­ture and food all have soul to them, and there is a sense of warmth, grit and hu­mor ev­ery­where you go. I moved to the South Side more than 30 years ago to pur­sue an MBA at the Univer­sity of Chicago. A few months af­ter I ar­rived, I met Anita Blan­chard, then a med­i­cal stu­dent, at an event at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ro­bie House. Anita grew up on the South Side, and she in­tro­duced me to ev­ery­thing it has to of­fer. We were mar­ried three years later at Rock­e­feller Chapel, just around the cor­ner from where we met. Each of our five chil­dren was born on the South Side at the Chicago Ly­ing-In Hos­pi­tal, and my wife and I have spent count­less Sun­day af­ter­noons watch­ing them play in my in-laws’

back­yard in a sur­pris­ingly quaint neigh­bor­hood called Marynook.

The South Side has a rich cul­tural his­tory. It was the site of the epochal 1893 World’s Fair. It’s where mod­ern gospel mu­sic was in­vented. And the cui­sine—well, I’ll just give you two words: mild sauce. I could try to de­scribe the vel­vety mix­ture of hot sauce, ketchup and bar­be­cue sauce that was cre­ated on the South Side and makes ev­ery­thing taste bet­ter. But I’ll just go the words of Chicago co­me­dian Han­ni­bal Buress, who once told Chicago mag­a­zine, “If seren­ity had a fla­vor, it would taste like mild sauce.”

To­day, the South Side is home to cul­tural at­trac­tions like the DuSable Mu­seum of African Amer­i­can His­tory (dus­able­mu­seum.org), named in honor of the black trader who is con­sid­ered the founder of Chicago;

the Stony Is­land Arts Bank (re­build­foun­da­tion.org), an aban­doned bank that Chicago artist Theaster Gates turned into an arts cen­ter; and Buddy Guy’s Le­gends (bud­dyguy.com), one of the hottest blues spots in the coun­try.

It is also where Michelle Obama was born and raised, where Barack Obama got his start in com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ing, and where the cou­ple started their fam­ily. Nat­u­rally, they chose to put the Obama Pres­i­den­tial Cen­ter on the South Side.

The cen­ter will be more than a pres­i­den­tial li­brary. It will in­clude a mu­seum cel­e­brat­ing Obama’s his­toric pres­i­dency, a branch of the Chicago Pub­lic Li­brary, and recre­ation ar­eas and open spa­ces. The cen­ter is go­ing to make the South Side a global des­ti­na­tion for those in­ter­ested in mak­ing their world bet­ter, be­cause in­spir­ing peo­ple to change the world is at the heart of the Obama Foun­da­tion’s mis­sion.

While the gems of the South Side are well known by those of us who live here, the area re­mains undis­cov­ered by many. The Obama Pres­i­den­tial Cen­ter will help us show­case the neigh­bor­hood we love to the world—mild sauce and all.

The main gate at the Univer­sity of Chicago, in Hyde Park.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ro­bie House, in Hyde Park.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cambodia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.