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Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to drive around the city of Indianapolis with the Toyota Steeped in History Tour. Steeped in History is a nationwide initiative that seeks to highlight points of interest in Black History. The tour has made stops in cities like New Orleans, San Francisco and more recently NAPTOWN! 

Our group of bloggers, influencers and creatives were gifted a Toyota vehicle to drive for the week. I was in LOVE with my bright blue 2019 Toyota Camry hybrid and did not want to give it back. 

We all gathered to start the day with breakfast at Kountry Kitchen (where the likes of Barack Obama have dined) and stopped off at various places throughout the city. It was amazing to learn so much about the place I was born and raised and proud to call home. Our tour was led by Devon Ginn of the Madam Walker Legacy Center, historian and cultural tour guide Donna Stokes-Lucas and Kisha Tandy of the Indiana State Museum. We were also treated to an intimate talkback session with one of our cities elders, Mr. Thomas Ridley who grew up on Indiana Ave. during its heyday. City Council President Vop Osili surprised us along the way as well! 

Take a look below at our stops and click this link to view my IG story which features pictures and videos from the day. 

Kennedy King Memorial  The Landmark for Peace is a memorial sculpture in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the northside of Indianapolis. It honors the contributions of the slain leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. The memorial, which features King and Kennedy reaching out to each other, was designed and executed by Indiana artist Greg Perry. The bronze portraits were created by Indianapolis sculptor Daniel Edwards. On April 4, 2018, the memorial was designated as the Kennedy-King National Commemorative Site. (via Wikipedia)

Indiana Historical Society Madame Walker Exhibit  – More than a businesswoman, Walker helped move the lives of many people forward in positive ways. Her contributions and legacy come alive in You Are There 1915: Madam C.J. Walker, Empowering Women through images and objects – many of which come from our collections – and multimedia pieces and activities. (via IndianaHistory.org)

Indiana State Museum Felrath Hines Exhibit  It’s About Time shares the story of Hoosier artist Felrath Hines (1913-1993), who grew up on Indianapolis’ west side, attended Saturday youth art classes at the John Herron School of Art and graduated from Crispus Attucks High School. An abstract artist who used different shapes and colors to communicate, Hines lived in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. and worked as a professional art conservator for both the Smithsonian and noted artist Georgia O’Keeffe. (via IndianaMuseum.org) 

Madam Walker Legacy Center The Madam C. J. Walker Building, which houses the Madam Walker Legacy Center, was built in 1927 in the city of Indianapolis, in the U.S. state of Indiana, and as Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991. The four-story, multi-purpose Walker Building was named in honor of Madam C. J. Walker, the African American hair care and beauty products entrepreneur who founded the Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company and designed by the Indianapolis architectural firm of Rubush & Hunter. The building served as the world headquarters for Walker’s company, as well as entertainment, business, and commercial hub along Indiana Avenue for the city’s African American community from the 1920s to the 1950s. The historic gathering place and venue for community events and arts and cultural programs were saved from demolition in the 1970s. The restored building, which includes African, Egyptian, and Moorish designs, is one of the few remaining African-Art Deco buildings in the United States. The Walker Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. (via Wikipedia)

Historic Ransom Place  – Ransom Place Historic District is the most intact 19th-century neighborhood associated with African Americans in Indianapolis. The district was home to many black business leaders over its long history. The area northwest of Monument Circle was identified as a black settlement in writings as early as the 1830s. Here churches, schools, and commercial areas developed to serve the black community.  (Via NPS.gov) 

Crispus Attucks Museum Crispus Attucks, a Black man, was the first person to die in the American Revolution in a slaughter that became known as the Boston Massacre. The Crispus Attucks Museum was created to educate and memorialize the “first hero of the American Revolution.” The museum is housed with the Crispus Attucks High School. (via VisitIndy.com)

Flanner HouseFor 119 years, Flanner House of Indianapolis has been at the epicenter of helping people move to a place of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. Focusing on Education, Employment, Wellness, Peace and Safety, and Economic Development, and Food Justice, Flanner House is prepared to serve the evolving needs of area residents. (Via FlannerHouse.org)

Cleo’s Bodega – Opened in June of this year to provide fresh, healthy and affordable food options to residents of the Northwest side of Indianapolis. Cleo’s is named in honor of Cleo Walter Blackburn, an educator and civil rights leader. 

Center for Black Literature & Culture The Indianapolis Public Library’s Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots. This space is for ALL who are interested in exploring the rich heritage that has influenced nations across the globe. The Center is located in the Central Library in downtown Indianapolis. (Via IndyPL.org)

Michael’s Soul Kitchen – Located in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Michael’s offers delicious soul food in an upscale environment.

A look into Indy’s Black history  was originally published on wtlcfm.com