Over the years, white Protestants, German Jews, Irish
Catholics, and black families have lived in the brick flat buildings
along Indiana Avenue. The Unity Baptist Church at 5129 S.
Indiana offers a classic example of ethnic succession. It was built
as a synagogue about 1912 by members of Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Anshe
Dorum congregation, which moved here from the Douglas neighborhood.
In 1928 Antioch Missionary Baptist Church purchased the building.
Like earlier Jewish congregations, this black church also began
on the Near South Side, at 3140 S. LaSalle Street In 1958 Antioch
moved again, to 415 W. Englewood Avenue in the Englewood neighborhood
and sold the Indiana Avenue church to Unity Baptist. When Antioch
pastor Rev. Wilbur N. Daniels learned that Unity Church might lose
the Indiana Avenue building in foreclosure he repurchased the church
and sold it back to the congregation. The above photograph shows
a detail of the former Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Anshe Dorum synagogue,
now the Unity Baptist Church, in 1985.
Turn right at 47th Street and go two blocks east to
King Drive. Forty-seventh Street between State and Cottage Grove
was once the commercial and cultural hub of black Chicago. In
addition to black-owned businesses and nightclubs, the 47th Street
area included the five-story apartment complex at 4638 S. Michigan
known as the Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments financed
by philanthropist Julius Rosenwald From its opening in 1929 through
the 1950s, 4638 S. Michigan was one of Grand Boulevard's most
fashionable addresses, home to scores of middle-class black families.
Although the 47th Street business district has fallen on hard
times, the Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments recently received
a facelift and was listed on the National Register of Historic
Places in 1981.