Had he lived, Sam Cooke would have turned 80-years-old in January of this year. His life and legacy were celebrated with the naming of 36th Street, Chicago, Illinois as Sam Cooke Way on Saturday, June 18.
The location of Sam Cooke Way in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, is birthplace to some of Chicago's most talented artists in music and the associated arts. It is where the Cooke family settled after migrating from Clarksdale, Mississippi in the early 1930's, initially residing at 3527 Cottage Grove Avenue and later moving to 724 E. 36th Street.
Young Sam Cooke attended the neighborhood's Doolittle Elementary School and, in 1948, graduated from Wendell Phillips High School. The unveiling of the new Sam Cooke Way street sign took place with the participation of the office of 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns, 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell, Sam Cooke's younger brothers L.C. and David Cooke as well as other Cooke family members, legendary radio personality and "Mayor of Bronzeville" Herb Kent, Cook Country Commissioner Jerry Butler (himself a soul music legend, who proclaimed June 18, 2011 as Sam Cooke Day in conjunction with the street naming ceremony), and Chicago Blues Museum CEO Gregg Parker and well over 400 Sam Cooke fans and fellow musicians.