Black History Month was originally just a week to celebrate the history and achievements of black people around the globe. Eventually, that week grew into a month to match the celebration with the birthdates of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. This Black History Month, there are a multitude of ways to learn more about black history and celebrate the accomplishments of black people. Marion County has one of the largest percentages of black citizens in Indiana, and with that comes a lot of landmarks that people in the greater Indianapolis area can visit to learn about the history of culture of black people.
Madame Walker Theatre -
Sarah Breedlove, otherwise known as Madam C.J. Walker, was the daughter of a former slave who went on to become one of the wealthiest women in the 20th century. During a time when both African-Americans and women were oppressed, being able to become so incredibly wealthy makes her one of the most successful women in American history. Walker gained her wealth by developing and selling her own line of beauty products in the Walker Manufacturing Plant, which is now known as the Madame Walker Theatre and commemorates her success. The building, located at 617 Indiana Avenue, was built in 1927 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It is a great place to learn more about black history, especially since the refurbishing in 2018.
Dr. Martin Luther King Park and Landmark for Peace Memorial -
This park, extending over 14 acres in Center Township of Indiana, was built to commemorate famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. King was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement and was one of the biggest advocators for African-American rights in the 20th century. Unfortunately, before he could observe the changes he provoked in the nation, he was assassinated in 1968. The park was visited soon after the assassination by Robert F. Kennedy, who originally went to campaign for president, but ended up delivering the news of Luther’s death instead. Kennedy was another man who was dedicated to changing the nation for the better before he was assassinated as well. Former President Bill Clinton dedicated the landmark for the peace memorial to both Luther and Kennedy for the good they brought to the nation. The park is a beautiful place filled with King commemoratives and would be a good place to visit as it gets warmer.
Indiana Historical Society -
The Indiana Historical Society, located on the west side of Indianapolis, is one of the oldest historical societies in the United States. The Society is filled with thousands of photos, paintings, manuscripts artifacts and numerous other historical items that show Indiana’s involvement in events such as the Underground Railroad, the Madame Walker Theatre and Martin Luther King Jr.’s times in Indiana. It is filled with many historical items that are very intriguing and give Indiana residents a deeper look into Indiana’s history over many important events, including major African-American events that occured within Indiana. This would be a great place to visit if you’re yearning to learn more about Indiana’s history while being able to view rare historical artifacts.
Crispus Attucks Museum
Crispus Attucks is remembered as the first person killed in the American Revolution. He has been memorialized through the Crispus Attucks Museum. Located on Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Street, the museum focuses on the history of not only African-American history, but African history as well; it also details the history of African-Americans in the Midwest. It has sections for pre-school and adults alike, so anyone who is looking to learn more on African American history would enjoy this.
Indianapolis Central Library Center for African American Literature and Culture
With a focus on expanding the knowledge on the rich history of black culture, the CBLC offers multiple opportunities for those interested in learning more. The library prides itself on the open environment they create for all of the community, regardless of their race, sex or orientation. They offer tours as well as special events including a “Meet the Artists” Gala on Feb. 9 where the community can come by and meet local black artists whose work is around the library. The event will offer live performances as well as activities for younger children.
His Place Eatery - Chicken & Waffles, Ribs and Soul Food
Located at 30th and Shadeland, this restaurant is black owned and operated, serving soul food with the belief that all food should be prepared the best it can. Chef James Jones not only started this business after years of catering and culinary experience, but he also personally created every recipe that is on the menu. The restaurant offers affordable food that the customer can enjoy in the restaurant or at home.