Gerri Oliver Deserves an Honorary Street Sign!
To Chicago 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, members of City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel,
We, the undersigned, are petitioning to have the segment of 47th St. from King Dr. to Vincennes Ave. honorarily named for Gerri Oliver, the owner of the Palm Tavern which stood at 446 E. 47th.
The Palm Tavern was opened in 1933 by James Knight, the first Mayor of Bronzeville. In 1956, upon his retirement, Knight transferred ownership to Gerri, who proudly operated the tavern until July 2001.
Chicago Tribune art critic Howard Reich wrote, "It would be difficult to overestimate the room's role in nurturing black musical culture in Chicago and beyond. This was the place where ideas were exchanged, tunes discussed and collaborations conceived."
Over the decades, the Palm Tavern was an unofficial clubhouse -- the place to stop and rest and recharge psychic batteries -- for generations of African-American musicians, including Duke Ellington, James Brown, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, Willie Dixon and Muddy Waters. Even in its waning days, Gerri nurtured young talent by hosting performances and concerts at the tavern.
Please recognize and ensure that Gerri's legacy will be known by future generations and rename this segment of 47th St. as Gerri Oliver Way!