Located in the East Garfield Park community, Nancy Jefferson Park is 0.85 acres and it features an outdoor basketball court and playground that was renovated in Fall 2013 as part of the Chicago Plays! program.
While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Garfield Park.
The Chicago Park District purchased land for what is now Nancy Jefferson Park in 1970. The project included a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The new park was intended to provide much-needed recreational space for young children in an industrial area of the East Garfield Park neighborhood. The park district officially designated the playlot Marigold Park in 1974, when a number of parks were named for trees and plants.
In 2004, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners officially renamed the park in honor of Nancy Jefferson as part of system-wide initiative to recognize the contributions of significant Chicago women. Nancy Jefferson (1923 – 1992) was a nurse, social worker, and accomplished civic leader who helped improve the lives of residents of Chicago’s west side. Born and raised in Tennessee, Ms. Jefferson received a nursing degree from Phillander Smith College and went on to receive a degree in social work from Michigan State University. After settling in Chicago, she attended classes at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which allowed her to keep her certification and licensing up to date. Ms. Jefferson spent over thirty years championing civil rights, advocating open and affordable housing, crusading for improved health care and working for prison reform. After volunteering at Chicago’s Midwest Community Council for several years, she was appointed as the organization’s director in 1963. She continued to be involved in this vital community organization for the rest of her life. Ms. Jefferson helped establish a local school council in the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center School. In addition to her many efforts to improve Chicago’s west side, Ms. Jefferson served as a member of the Chicago Police Board, was appointed to Illinois Governor-elect Jim Edgar’s transition team. In 1995, the Chicago Board of Education named a school in Ms. Jefferson’s honor. Several, and more recently, the federal government named a post office in her honor. The park is only a few blocks away from 301 N. Kedzie, a building that served as the Midwest Community Council’s headquarters.