Located in the South Chicago community, Dinah Washington Park is 0.47 acres and it is an ideal location for families to spend a portion of their day relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. This park contains a playground with swings, slides, and climbing apparatus.
The Chicago Park District purchased this once-vacant lot in 1972 with the help of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The new park was intended to provide additional recreational space for an underserved area of the South Chicago neighborhood. The park district officially designated the playlot Redbud Park in 1974, when a number of parks were named for trees and plants. In recent years, the site was renamed Dinah Washington Park as part of a Chicago Park District initiative to recognize significant Chicago women.
Dinah Washington (1924- 1963) was one of the most versatile and talented vocalists in America’s popular music history. Named Ruth Lee Jones, she was born in Tuscaloosa Alabama, and moved to Chicago with her family as a young child. She became deeply involved with music at a young age.Her mother played piano at St. Lukes Baptist Church and young Ruth soon learned to play piano as well. She began winning amateur music contests and began performing with gospel singer Sallie Martin in 1940. In 1942, she joined Lionel Hampton’s big band, began using the stage name Dinah Washington, and began a steady rise to stardom.She soon began cutting records albums with several different record companies. She recorded with jazz greats such as trumpeters Clifford Brown and Clark Terry and saxophonist Lockjaw Davis. By the late 1950s she was one of the nation’s great pop stars after recording songs such as “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes,” and “Unforgettable.” Widely known as the nation’s “Queen of Blues,” Dinah Washington won a Grammy Award in 1959 for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance. She died in 1963.Thirty years later, the US Postal Service issued a Dinah Washington stamp. Redbud Park is approximately two miles away from the home she purchased in the 1950s at 82nd and Vernon Ave.