Little Known Black History Fact: Joyland Park

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Though it only covered two acres of land, Joyland was one of the largest amusement parks in the United States that was owned and operated by African Americans. Among the founders of the park were Augustus Williams, who was the lead attorney for several cases related to Chicago’s 1919 race riots, Virgil Williams, Robert Abbot and editor Julius Taylor.

Unfortunately, the life span of Joyland Park was short lived with only one or two seasons of operation. It was tough to keep the doors open during the growth of the jazz age and expansion of nightclubs. It shut down in 1925. The area where the park was once located is now a parking lot for the Illinois Institute of Technology.

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