..Preserve Maxwell Street..

Protect America's multicultural heritage.

Deutsch, Español, Francaise, Japanese, Svenska, Tagalog

Mission Statement

Also see Chuck Cowdery's cool Save Maxwell Street Website.

I firmly believe it would be a horrible way to start the millennium by destroying what got us all here together.
-- Craig A. Meyers, DC Blues Society member, writing to Hillary Clinton

Blues Still Holdin On Maxwell Street, July 2004


Three Recent Books on Maxwell Street, July 27, 2004


Photo Essay: Maxwell Street, Chicago 1975 to 1984 by Nathaniel Burkins


Art Exhibit and Panels on Maxwell St. Artist & Bluesman Frank Scott Jr., February 13 and February 19 to 23, 2003


Frank ‘Little Sonny’ Scott Jr. – a brief biography of an Artist, Activist, and Bluesman


Benefit For Chicago Bluesman Little Scotty, Sunday February 9, 2003


New Book: Chicago’s Maxwell Street by Lori Grove, Laura Kamedulski, and MSHPC Board, 2002

Gethsemane Church Celebrates 80th Anniversary, July 28 to August 4, 2002

Alan Lomax, Friend of Maxwell St., dies July 19, 2002

King of Maxwell Street, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Passes On, July 6, 2002

Premiere of MAXWELL STREET: A Living Memory: A Film by Shuli Eshel. Attend on January 27, 2002.

Parishioners Demonstrate against UIC Crackdown on St. Francis Church. Images and Press Release. December 30, 2001

New Book: Near West Side Stories -- Struggles For Community in Chicago's Maxwell St. Neighborhood, by Carolyn Eastwood

Cardinal George Blesses Us but UIC Threatens Us - UIC vs. St. Francis of Assisi Church

Wim Wenders on Maxwell Street, August 5, 2001

Historic Maxwell Street Photo Posters by Frank Scott Jr., now available

The Faces of Old Maxwell Street, 2001, a photo essay

Maxwell Street documentary on Discovery Channel. A new one!

Bobby Davis Blues Band's new song: 'Maxwell Street, Jew Town, Chicago'. Hear it here.

The Maxwell Street Community Speaks. Text and images of the protest boards, Sept. 9

Maxwell Street Radio Documentary, 'The Struggle for Maxwell Street', on the Web

Maxwell Street Video on the Internet

Past Updates and Releases

Beale Street in Memphis was saved. Maxwell Street in Chicago can be saved too.

"The cadences and tonalities of this music later evolved into rock and roll. In short, the musical development that was centered around the Maxwell Street area forms the cornerstone of one of the most important musical and cultural developments in American society in our generation." - Howard Stovall, Executive Director of The Blues Foundation

See Dan Parker's Maxwell Street Bibliography. Read the UIC student newspaper editorial "Still singin' the blues on Maxwell Street" , excerpts of New York Times columnist Ira Berkow's Maxwell Street Address, appeals from the Bill Ferris of U. of Mississippi(nominee to head NEH), BBC Radio, UK's Blueprint Blues Magazine, letter to Mayor Daley from Lois Weisberg(City of Chicago Commissioner of Cultural Affairs), a letter to UIC from Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois, National Trust For Historic Preservation, City Lore: The NY Center for Urban Folk Culture, Community Workshop on Economic Development, Congressman Danny K. Davis, State Rep Coy Pugh, Congressman Bobby L. Rush, Congressman John Conyers Jr., IAAAM (International Association of African-American Music), Honeyboy Edwards Remembers Maxwell Street ( quotes from his recent book), UIC Grad Student Alan P. Mammoser, Al Handa's Delta Snake Daily Blues, Jason Koransky of Centerstage, Dan Aykroyd of Columbia Pictures, Henry E. Juszkiewicz(CEO of Gibson Musical Instruments), Buddy Guy(Grammy Award Winner), comments by UIC Professor Sterling Plumpp - Blues on Maxwell Street, excerpts from John McCarron's Tribune article on Maxwell St., Bill Lavicka's Letter to the Editor, David Whiteis's Last Dance At The Carnival Of The Soul, Tom Moon and Al Fijal's: Move Over Maxwell Street, Bert Way's paper: The Maxwell Street Beat, Geof Rogers' Blues Chat Notes on Maxwell Street, Carolyn Eastwood's essay The Demise of an Urban Market, Andrew Patner's WBEZ Broadcast: Letter from Maxwell Street, Dennis Sheridan's Maxwell Street, Chicago as South Street, Philadelphia, our Mission Statement and our latest Press Release. Print out a copy of our one-page request for help and send it to friends and colleagues.

***Sing or listen to Muddy's Tears on Maxwell Street***

Read On Maxwell Street by Nathan Lerner: excerpts from his recently discovered notes; and come see his photographs, an invitation to Nathan Lerner (1913-1997): A Lifetime of Photographic Inquiry.

Also look at Chuck Cowdery's http://pw1.netcom.com/~cowdery/maxwell.htmlSave Maxwell Street Website; Richard Largaespada's SAVE MAXWELL STREET website; Linda Baskin's Old Maxwell Street Retrospective, Studio IT's And This is Maxwell Street (rare Maxwell Street recordings found!), and our Old-Old Maxwell Street Photo Gallery.

Maxwell Street was Chicago's port of entry and an important commercial stepping stone for Jews, African-Americans, and Hispanics. Maxwell Street was a welcome mat in the Great Migration and it was there that postwar electrified blues was created which became a foundation for Rock N' Roll.

Want to visit Maxwell Street in 1964? - images from And This is Free(Shanachie Video); read a note on Rock History from one of the film's makers; and learn about newly discovered audio tapes. Also see Cary Baker's Maxwell Street images.


Maxwell Street symbolizes the pilgrimage to freedom and opportunity. For blues lovers, Maxwell Street is a Mecca as the birthplace of Chicago blues, and the home of its legendary masters. - Jim Herbert <jherbert@ari.net> McLean, VA

Maxwell Street is world famous as home to the Chicago "blues." The "blues" are more than just music, they are a central part and expression of the development of African American identity and existence. ...Change is an inevitable part of the historic process, destruction is not. A Maxwell Street Preservation District will be a wellspring of cultural expression, a rich tourist attraction and a source of educational and research opportunity. - Congressman Danny K. Davis, 7th Congressional District, <fax# 773-533-7530> Chicago

...blues musicians found Maxwell Street's wall outlets friendly, and found Maxwell Street's citizens, shoppers and passers by friendly, receptive and supportive of their art. Maxwell Street is proven to be a springboard for rock and roll - and part of musical history of the world. ...When everybody's great-grandparents and grandparents are gone, who will tell the stories of Maxwell Street history? - Kevin Chess, Arc Music Corporation <info@arcmusic.com> New York City

Every Sunday the community came together regardless of race or ethnic origin. ...Letting something as rich as the Maxwell Street area simply fade away without some public resistance would be a travesty. The market's past is intact, but its future rest with the people of Chicago. - Bert Way, Research Assistant, Living Blues Magazine, University of Mississippi <lblues@barnard.cssc.olemiss.edu>

The National Trust for Historic Preservation joins with the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois in urging the University of Illinois at Chicago to work towards the preservation and adaptive reuse of the historic buildings within the Maxwell Street neighborhood as part of UIC's South Campus development plan. A sensitive rehabilitation of these historic buildings and creative integration into the University's overall development plan would recognize this cultural heritage and enhance the University community's vitality by celebrating the diversity symbolized by Maxwell Street's history.- James E. Mann, National Trust for Historic Preservation

To African-Americans, Maxwell Street was like a big general store. ... Maxwell Street is one of the last places where authentic blues musicians can play authentic blues for the people who first inspired them. - Sterling Plumpp, Professor of English and African-American Stuides, UIC

It was a music born in rural poverty and usually performed in flimsy structures and ephemeral venues, often even outdoors, yet it has profoundly influenced popular music throughout the world during the twentieth century. The Maxwell Street neighborhood is central to the development of the blues in Chicago, which ranks alongside my home city of Memphis as one of the great creative places of this music. - David Evans, Professor of Music, University of Memphis

...to destroy Maxwell Street is the cultural equivalent of razing the theaters of Broadway, tearing down the San Francisco Opera House, or the leveling of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It will break the circuit of cultural electricity in this county. And a priceless light will go out. - Skip Henderson, Founder and Director, The Mount Zion Memorial Fund, Inc., Clarksdale, MS

It was a celebration of life, a paradise for the artist who could see here the rich natural vari-colored maze of life, and he cherished it. Now, of course, all of us know how rare and precious it was. The true intercourse between people, a feel for real objects, unpackaged, that life had scarred and made more beautiful by use. - Nathan Lerner, Chicago

Great cities are steeped in their history, and there is great opportunity in preserving and renewing Maxwell Street as living treasure. ... Plan the university around Maxwell Street and offer Maxwell the cherished respect of a grandfather of Chicago. - Bill Lavicka, Historic Preservationist, Chicago

Maxwell Street has the same value for Blues historians as the Pyramids have for archeologists. ...destroying World Heritage is a crime against mankind. - Eric Paul-Hus <eric.paul-hus@dr.cgocable.ca> Drummondville, Quebec

Maxwell Street ...For those who love the blues it is a sacred place. Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf took their first steps - just to mention a few of the celebrities who gave birth to the urban blues. It has crossed national boundaries to carry their music to the whole world, making them immortal. Maxwell Street belongs to the people and thus should be defended. - Roberto Ruggeri, RARO! Magazine <talktome@raro.it> Italy

Maxwell Street...as much known as "Les puces" in Paris or "rue de Lappe" the parisain musical street close to Bastille district. Every thing must be done to keep this symbol of Blues. When I told this week to some parisian blues lovers that Maxwell Street will be destroyed they just said : " Detruire Maxwell Street, ce n'est pas possible !" - Christian Esther <christia@cnen.de.edf.fr> Paris France

Maxwell Street ...what it did, for more than a century, was bring people together of radically different backgrounds. There aren't many such places left here in the most segregated urban region in the country. ... those are your tax dollars at work, tearing down that which makes a city great. - John McCarron, Chicago Tribune Columnist <fax#312-222-2598> Chicago

Chancellor Broski, I beg you to change the direction of this urban renewal, for the sake of those who fought to overcome racial prejudice so their music could be heard all over the world. Blues music and the people who made it are the history, and so are the sidewalks they walked on. - Ken B. (Moose) Larocque <klarocque@oln.com> Thunder Bay, Ontario

The legacy of Maxwell Street belongs to all of the ethnic communities of Chicago and not the University of Illinois at Chicago. ...Our experience dictates that development can occur concurrently with preserving the historical integrity of Maxwell Street. - Willie Hayes, Acting Director of the Community Workshop on Economic Development<fax#312-243-7796> Chicago

I am a student, and I know that students appreciate such heritage and would embrace a University which appreciated it as well. - Annie Tully, The University of Washington, English Dept. <atully@u.washington.edu> Seattle

I enjoyed very much being on Maxwell Street, a place to be considered unique in the World, boundary of the Delta and Ukraine. - Charles H. Contamine, author of La Route du Blues <chc@infonie.fr>Paris, France

Maxwell Street...it represented what was best about Chicago in the past and if the city is to have a dynamic future we must learn form it, and find a way to reintroduce its values. - Gordon Quinn, Kartemquinn Films, maker of "And This is Free" <GQUINN@aol.com> Chicago

The Maxwell Street area has entered the status of legend in the history of American Jewish life and must be preserved in as much historic detail as is possible. - Abraham Peck, American Jewish Archives <abraham.peck@uc.edu> Cincinnati

Because of its importance to both the history of immigrant arrival and the development of blues music, Maxwell Street is uniquely able to stand as a monument to interracial cooperation, mutual appreciation, respect, even love, something all too rare in this country. - Charles K. Cowdery, author of Blues Legends <cowdery@ix.netcom.com> Chicago

Maxwell Street ... it is a vital part of what makes Chicago different from all other cities in the world. Most important, though, is its legacy of something that is truly American, the blues. - William Tolson, UIC Alumnus <TWndCrsMry@aol.com> Boston

Jazz and blues are indigenous to our country ...the origins represent significant values to which we should adhere -- among them, strength of community, courage and humility, pain and reward, spirituality and peace. The blues was born in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, found its freedom on Memphis' Beale Street, and came of age in Chicago -- along Maxwell Street.- Curtis Hewston, Creator of The Blue Highway <curtis@magicnet.net>

...as a culture we are forgetting where we came from. ...in order for blues to thrive as it should, places like Maxwell Street, as Beale Street was, must be preserved. We owe it to future generations - not just blues fans, but musicians, Chicagoans, and all people of the world. - Mike Weeks, Purdue University <mweeks@expert.cc.purdue.edu>

However much the Market changed over the decades, it retained what the British author Lawrence Durrell once termed "a spirit of place" -- the sense of those who had come before. ... it seems, to this descendant of Maxwell Street, that the city has diminished its present. It has become like the child who commits the greatest sin of any immigrant culture -- who tells his grandparents that he doesn't want to hear their stories anymore. - Andrew Patner, WBEZ <Rentap@aol.com>

We the Maxwell Community are trying to educate our children and at the same time preserving our heritage and community history. - Gerardo Reyes, St. Francis of Assisi Church <Fax# 773-376-6419> Chicago

Write your Congressperson to support House Concurrent Resolution 27: Recognizing the importance of African-American music to global culture and calling on the people of the United States to study, reflect on, and celebrate African-American music.

Celebrate June as African-American Music Month - International Assoc of African-American Music

America's musical heritage music is the voice that proclaims who we are as a people ... Listening to the recordings of early blues musicians and jazz innovators, the legends of rock, rap, and soul, we hear and feel the sorrows and joys of the African American experience. - Letter from President Bill Clinton

Maxwell Street Information Links

Links to Friends and Supporters

Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance. The world, the future and your children shall judge you accordingly as you deal with this sacred trust. - President Theodore Roosevelt, Antiquities Act, 1906

Supporters are welcome to display the Coalition's logo -- designed for us by the kind people of the And This is Maxwell Street project.

Images at the top of this page courtesy of Studio IT. All rights reserved.

provided by OPENAIR MARKET NET as a service to The Maxwell Street Historic Preservation Coalition <mar@REMOVETHIStopicbox.com>