Englewood street named in Bernie Mac's honor
Rhonda McCullough, wife of Bernie Mac, and their daughter Je'Niece McCullough hold a new street sign during a dedication ceremony today for ¿Bernie Mac Street.¿ (Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune / February 28, 2012)
A brown sign bearing the late comedian's name was unveiled today at West 69th and South Sangamon streets in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood, marking a one block section of 69th in his honor near the home where he grew up.
The sign was introduced during a ceremony attended by about 200 people, including Mac's widow Rhonda McCullough and daughter Je'Niece McCullough, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Ald. Latasha Thomas, 17th, and others.
Mac, born Bernard McCullough, was best known for "The Bernie Mac Show"and "The Original Kings of Comedy." He died in 2008 at age 50 from pneumonia complications after suffering from sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disease.
"It's been a long time coming," Denise Jordan-Walker, a spokeswoman for the Bernie Mac Foundation, said of the street sign, while tearing up. Jordan-Walker, who was Mac's publicist, added that the commemoration idea came to her last year.
"We're bringing Bernie Mac back," said Ald. Willie Cochran, 20th, to cheers from the audience. Cochran, who was one of several speakers at the event, said Englewood strives to be a neighborhood of peace and determination because that's what Mac would have wanted.
A group of cheerleaders from Wentworth Elementary School, which Mac attended as a child, performed a dance routine and Chicago comedians, such as Reggie Reg and Tony Sculfield, shared their stories about meeting and working with Mac.
"I hope this street naming is a beacon of light in this community," said his daughter. "It should remind people that they can do whatever they want to do in life."