From the Avenue: A Memoir, 2nd edition: Life Experiences and Indiana Avenue History Told from the Perspective of One Who Was There

From the Avenue: A Memoir, 2nd edition: Life Experiences and Indiana Avenue History Told from the Perspective of One Who Was There

by Thomas Howard Ridley Jr.


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In 1870, more African Americans were calling Indiana Avenue home as the original Irish and German populations began moving outward following the Emancipation Proclamation. As the population escalated, African American residents took root opening businesses on practically every corner. Bethel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church, the oldest African American congregation in Indianapolis, was organized in 1836. The first African American businesses appeared on the 500 Block of Indiana Avenue as early as 1865: Samuel G. Smother's grocery store; William Franklin's peddler shop and the city's first owned and operated African American newspaper, The Indianapolis Leader in 1879. The avenue continued to culturally develop, in much the same way as the Harlem Renaissance. In fact, due to the nature of segregation and Jim Crowe laws, several streets developed similarly including Beale Street in Memphis and 12th and Vine in Kansas City according to the book, Indiana Avenue: Black Entertainment Boulevard by C. Nickerson Bolden. Like Indiana Avenue, these streets were called Black Entertainment Bouelvards, or stops along the Chitlin' circuit because of the large concentration of black-oriented clubs, businesses and entertainment venues. Many prominent historical figures have their roots on Indiana Avenue: Madam C.J. Walker, jazz greats including Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Coe, Noble Sissle, Erroll "Groundhog" Grandy and Wes Montgomery. Mary Ellen Cable was one of the most important African American educators in Indianapolis. Coupled with her great work as an educator, she organized and served as the first president of Indiana's NAACP chapter.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781500675615
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/28/2014
Pages: 84
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.17(d)

About the Author

Thomas Ridley, Jr. was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is a noted expert on the rich history of the Indiana Avenue area. After moving away from the district for several decades, he now again lives a mere stone's throw from his beloved Madame C.J. Walker Theatre, where he works as a docent. Tom has been interviewed often by journalists and local University professors, and loves nothing more than telling stories about the wonderful Indiana Avenue legacy.

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