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Soul Train Studio

141 W Jackson Blvd.

When radio journalist Don Cornelius wanted to show the world a positive and joyful presentation of African American youth, he started the television dance party “Soul Train” at the Board of Trade building in 1970. Cornelius, along with his associate Clinton Ghent, drew on their contacts in the local entertainment industry to enlist Chicago’s big R&B acts to perform while Sears signed on as an initial sponsor. Those early performers included Curtis Mayfield, Tyrone Davis and The Chi-Lites. Just as importantly, the show drew from an enthusiastic number of black teenagers in the city who were eager to bring their dance moves to television. All of this was taped in a 30 by 40 foot studio on the 43rd floor. “Soul Train” became such a smash that Cornelius took it to Los Angeles the following year where it became a groundbreaking national program. But a local version was still produced in Chicago until 1979.

– A.C. 

Caption: Former location of Soul Train Studio.

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