Fire-Damaged Church Closer To Rebirth As Gospel Museum

Steve Miller
September 27, 2018 - 6:00 am

WBBM Newsradio/Steve Miller

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It has been more than 12 years since Bronzeville's Pilgrim Baptist Church was gutted by fire, but the building moves a step closer to a new life tonight.

The building at 33rd and Indiana entered life in the late 19th century as a synagogue designed by noted architects Sullivan and Adler. Later it became the Pilgrim Baptist Church, and in the 1930s gospel music was born there.

A year from now, Don Jackson, the founder and chairman of the National Museum of Gospel Music, said they'll break ground at the once-fire-ravaged site. Jackson says the museum is set to open two years from now.

Thursday night, a free gospel concert is being held just down the street at 38th and Indiana. Jackson calls it a gift to the community.

Fundraising is ahead of schedule. The goal was $37 million; he says they've raised $50 million.

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