Columbus Neighborhoods: King-Lincoln

♪♪>>>THEY KNOW IT USED TO BE GREAT.>>THIS WAS A — THIS WAS A THRIVING PLACE.>>THEY KNOW IT’S NOT LIKE IT.


♪♪>>>THEY KNOW IT USED TO BE GREAT.>>THIS WAS A — THIS WAS A THRIVING PLACE.>>THEY KNOW IT’S NOT LIKE IT WAS.>>DURING ANY TIME OF THE DAY OR NIGHT, YOU COULD LOOK AND SEE 200 PEOPLE ON THE STREET.>>IN 50 YEARS, ITS POPULATION DECLINED BY NEARLY 2/3. BUSINESSES FOLDED. IT BECAME KNOWN FOR ITS BOARDED-UP BUILDINGS. AND YET, THERE’S MUSIC AGAIN, REINVIGORATED BY THE REOPENING OF A LANDMARK BUILDING. EXPLOSIONS OF COLOR CONNECT THE NEIGHBORHOOD TO A RICH ARTISTIC HISTORY. THOSE WHO REMAINED ARE STRONGER THAN EVER, AND THE NEWCOMERS HAVE AN EVANGELISTIC ZEAL FOR THE ABUNDANT OPPORTUNITIES THEY SEE HERE. THE ARCH SAYS “KING/LINCOLN.” SOME CALL IT, OR SOME OF ITS PARTS, THE AVENUE — THE NEAR EAST SIDE, THE EAST SIDE, MOUNT VERNON, BRONZEVILLE, NOBO. ♪♪ CALL IT WHAT YOU WILL. IT’S NOT WHAT IT WAS, IT’S NOT WHAT IT SEEMS, IT’S NOT WHAT IT WILL BE. IT’S “COLUMBUS NEIGHBORHOODS: KING/LINCOLN.” ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪>>>SUPPORT FOR “COLUMBUS NEIGHBORHOODS” IS PROVIDED BY — SINCE 1921, THE STATE AUTO GROUP HAS CALLED COLUMBUS NEIGHBORHOODS HOME, OFFERING PERSONAL AND BUSINESS INSURANCE THROUGH INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS. FOR YOUR CAR, HOME AND BUSINESS, THE STATE AUTO GROUP. AS WE’VE GROWN AND CHANGED WITH COLUMBUS, WE’VE NEVER LOST SIGHT OF ONE THING — WE ARE NEIGHBORS SERVING NEIGHBORS. CHASE AND ITS MORE THAN 15,000 CENTRAL OHIO ASSOCIATES ARE PROUD TO CELEBRATE THE HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS OF COLUMBUS. AEP OHIO, CONNECTED TO YOUR LIFE. MORE AT AEPOHIO.COM. THE LAW FIRM OF BAILEY CAVALIERI, A LOCAL FIRM WITH A NATIONAL PRESENCE. BAILEYCAVALIERI.COM. THE OHIO HUMANITIES COUNCIL, A STATE AFFILIATE OF THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES, AND BY THESE AND OTHER LOCAL FOUNDATIONS AND FAMILIES. AND VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU. ♪♪>>>THIS WAS A — THIS WAS A THRIVING PLACE. THIS WAS LIKE A METROPOLIS. I’VE HEARD IT SAID THAT YOU COULD GET ANYTHING YOU WANTED ON MOUNT VERNON AVENUE.>>COLUMBUS, OHIO — UNTIL THE LATTER HALF OF THE 20th CENTURY, WHERE YOU LIVED AND WHERE YOU SHOPPED DEPENDED ON THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN.>>SATURDAY WAS THE BOWLING ALLEY ON MOUNT VERNON AVENUE. SATURDAY WAS A NOVELTY FOOD BAR, GOING TO MR. BEATTY’S RESTAURANT FOR THINGS YOU COULD NOT GET ANYWHERE ELSE.>>SEVERAL AFRICAN-AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOODS EMERGED — FLYTOWN, THE BADLANDS, AMERICAN ADDITION.>>IN ORDER TO GET ANYTHING IF YOU WERE A MINORITY IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE ’60s AND THE ’50s, AND EVEN THE ’70s, YOU CAME TO THE EAST SIDE OF COLUMBUS.>>THE LARGEST AND MOST VIBRANT AFRICAN-AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPED ON THE CITY’S EAST SIDE, MARKED BY MOUNT VERNON AVENUE ON THE NORTH, AND LONG STREET ON THE SOUTH.>>THE KIDS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, A LOT OF TIMES WE’D GET OUT ON MOUNT VERNON AVENUE AND FIND US A GOOD SPOT, AND SIT DOWN AND JUST WATCH THE PARADE, BECAUSE THERE WAS A GIANT PARADE GOING ON ALL THE TIME.>>OH, MY GOSH, IT WAS PRETTY MUCH JUST THE PERFECT ATMOSPHERE IN WHICH TO GROW UP IN, BECAUSE EVERYTHING WAS WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE, FROM YOUR HOSPITALS, THE GROCERY STORES, DOCTOR’S OFFICES, SCHOOLS.>>IN ITS HEYDAY AT THE MIDDLE OF THE CENTURY, TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE LIVED HERE. ITS THEATERS AND CLUBS DREW THE NATION’S TOP ENTERTAINERS. ITS SCHOOLS PRODUCED CHAMPION ATHLETES AND GIFTED SCHOLARS.>>WE HAD EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEEDED RIGHT THERE ON THE EAST SIDE OF COLUMBUS. IT WAS A LOT OF FUN GROWING UP THERE.>>THERE WAS WHITES, BLACKS, JEWS, ITALIANS, ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE OUT THERE.>>INTEGRATED, BUT PREDOMINANTLY BLACK, THIS ENCLAVE FOSTERED THE GROWTH OF A STRONG MIDDLE CLASS SERVED BY LOCALLY-OWNED BUSINESSES. THE WARD TRANSFER AND STORAGE COMPANY WOULD BECOME THE OLDEST CONTINUALLY RUNNING BLACK-OWNED BUSINESS IN THE NATION. AMOS LYNCH WOULD PUBLISH A SUCCESSFUL AND INFLUENTIAL NEWSPAPER HERE.>>IT MADE MORE SENSE TO BUY FROM YOUR NEIGHBORS. IT MADE MORE SENSE TO DEAL WITH PEOPLE WHO YOU KNEW. IT MADE MORE SENSE BECAUSE YOU GOT BETTER DEALS, YOU GOT BETTER SERVICE, AND YOU DIDN’T GET TURNED DOWN BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN.>>IT WAS STILL VERY MUCH A SEGREGATED CITY WHEN I WAS GROWING UP. NOT LEGALLY, BUT JUST PHYSICALLY. JUST ALMOST SPIRITUALLY. IT WAS A SEGREGATED CITY, WHICH IS WHY I THINK THAT THE MOVERS AND SHAKERS INVESTED SO MUCH INTO MOUNT VERNON, INTO THE PSYCHIC DREAMS OF MOUNT VERNON AVENUE.>>PEOPLE WHO LIVED HERE FELT A DEEP SENSE OF OWNERSHIP FOR THE NEIGHBORHOOD. THEY HAD BUILT IT THEMSELVES.>>A LOT OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN-OWNED BUSINESS WERE IN BUILDINGS THAT HAD BEEN BUILT BY AFRICAN-AMERICANS, CONSTRUCTED BY AFRICAN-AMERICAN FIRMS. I THINK ONE OF THE MARKS THAT THIS WAS TRULY AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY IS THE HIGH REGARD THAT THEY GAVE TO THE WOMEN IN THEIR LIVES. SO WHEN YOU’RE TRAVELING DOWN LONG STREET AND YOU SEE NAMES ABOVE — YOU KNOW, THERESA COMES TO MIND — YOU’RE REALLY TALKING ABOUT THE WOMEN’S NAMES WHO ARE THE MOTHERS AND WIVES OF THE BUILDERS, THE OWNERS, AND THE ENTREPRENEURS OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY.>>YOU WOULDN’T SEE VERY MANY AFRICAN-AMERICAN PHYSICIANS IN COLUMBUS, DOWNTOWN. BUT YOU WOULD SEE THEM ON MOUNT VERNON AVENUE, THIS OFFICE, A BLACK MAN WHO HAD A MEDICAL LICENSE ON HIS WALL, WAS TREATING MY GRANDMOTHER. THAT WAS SORT OF A POWERFUL THING FOR A KID.>>ONE OF COLUMBUS’ FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN DOCTORS HELPED BUILD THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.>>THE BUILDING YOU ARE SITTING IN IS THE FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICANS, FIRST BLACK HOSPITAL, BUILT IN COLUMBUS, OHIO. IT WAS BUILT BY DR. METHOD AND DR. TRIBBET IN THE EARLY ’20s. DR. TRIBBET WAS A DENTIST HERE IN THIS COMMUNITY. DR. METHOD WAS A SURGEON. THEY ARE ONE OF THE FIRST EARLY GRADUATING CLASSES OF OHIO MEDICAL, WHICH WAS OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY’S MEDICAL COLLEGE THEN AT THE TIME. AND DOCTOR’S TRIBBET AND METHOD BUILT THIS BUILDING BECAUSE THEY FOUND THAT THEY WEREN’T NECESSARILY GOING TO GET HIRED ON AT OTHER PRACTICES AND THINGS. AND THAT WASN’T REALLY THEIR INTEREST. THEIR INTEREST WAS TO PROVIDE HIGH QUALITY HEALTH CARE AND RESOURCES TO THEIR COMMUNITY. THEY CALL DR. METHOD THE DEAN OF NEGRO PHYSICIANS. BY 1930, THIS COMMUNITY HAD ECLIPSED OTHER AFRICAN-AMERICAN NEIGHBORHOODS IN COLUMBUS. IT WAS A REMARKABLE TRANSFORMATION FROM WHAT HAD BEEN THERE BEFORE.>>BUFFALO BILL CAME TO COLUMBUS ON MANY OCCASIONS. AND WHEN HE DID, HE SET UP ALL OF THE INDIANS AND ALL OF THE CALVARY AND COSSACKS AND EVERYTHING ELSE THAT WOULD RIDE WITH HIM AND ST. CLAIR AND TAYLOR. THE STOCKYARDS WERE AT THE END OF TAYLOR AVENUE. THEY WERE PART OF THE RAILROAD, AND THEREFORE THEY WERE HOUSING ANIMALS THAT WERE PERHAPS GOING ON TO OTHER PLACES IN THE UNITED STATES. THIS WAS SORT OF A MID-WAY PLACE. THE RAILROADS WERE STARTING TO, REALLY HIRE IRISH. THERE WERE IRISH WHO LIVED IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS. THERE WERE WELSH WHO LIVED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. ITALIANS OF COURSE AND THEN AFRICAN-AMERICANS.>>A LOT OF BLACK FAMILIES WOULD GET THEIR OPPORTUNITY TO PUT FOOD ON THEIR TABLES BECAUSE OF THE RAILROADS.>>SAINT CLAIR IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THIS WAS A RAILROAD COMMUNITY THAT WAS REALLY BEING DOMINATED BY THE IRISH AND AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER GROUPS THAT WERE COMING IN TO WORK ON THE RAILROAD. SO IT WAS CLEARLY A SEGREGATED HOSPITAL EARLY ON AND THEN IT WILL CHANGE TO BE A HOTEL AT A LATER TIME.>>THE NEIGHBORHOOD WOULD BECOME PREDOMINANTLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN, BUT IT WAS NEVER EXCLUSIVELY SO. MANY OF THE CITY’S MOVERS AND SHAKERS BUILT FINE HOMES ON STREETS SUCH AS MIAMI AVENUE.>>AND REALLY THEY WERE THE PEOPLE THAT HELPED SHAPE COLUMBUS, NOT ONLY FROM A BUSINESS PERSPECTIVE BUT ALSO FROM A SOCIAL PERSPECTIVE. AND WHAT HAPPENED, AS IS SO OFTEN IS THE CASE IN COLUMBUS IS FOLKS KEPT ON MOVING EAST, RIGHT? THEY MOVED TO FRANKLIN PARK THEN THEY MOVED TO BEXLEY AND THEN FURTHER OUT AND AS THAT HAPPENED THE SUCCESSFUL AFRICAN-AMERICAN BUSINESS PEOPLE AND THE SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONALS THEY’RE BUYING THESE HOUSES. AN ORIGINAL HOUSE BUILT IN 1890 BY A MAN NAMED DUNOVAN WHO OWNED A STOVE FACTORY HERE IN COLUMBUS AND THEN AFTERWARDS JOHN D. WHITE ENDED UP PURCHASING THE HOME FROM HIM. JOHN D. WHITE WAS A VERY FAMOUS AFRICAN DOCTOR WHO MOVED HERE FROM PENNSYLVANIA HE WAS AN OBSTETRICIAN. HE WAS VERY INVOLVED IN DELIVERING A LOT OF THE BABIES IN THE AREA AND HE LIVED HERE FOR 60 YEARS. ♪>>IN ITS HEYDAY THESE STREETS WERE TEEMING BUT IT’S THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS THAT GAVE THE NEIGHBORHOOD ITS CHARACTER, ESPECIALLY WHEN MUSICIANS DISCOVERED IT WAS A GOOD PLACE TO GET A GIG.>>IF YOU WERE TRAVELING FROM CHICAGO TO NEW YORK OR TRAVELING FROM CLEVELAND TO POINTS SOUTH, CINCINNATI, IT WAS A PLACE THAT YOU WOULD GO TO AND STOP, MAKE SOME MONEY, ENTERTAIN THE AUDIENCES.>>THEY WOULD PUT ON THEIR FINEST CLOTHES AND GO TO THE LINCOLN.>>THESE PRETTY GIRLS WHO WOULD COME TO COLUMBUS FROM WEST VIRGINIA OR SO WOULD GIVE THE MUSICIANS SOME OPTIONS OR SOME OPPORTUNITIES THAT THEY WOULDN’T NECESSARILY HAVE AND MANY MUSICIANS MADE THEIR HOME HERE IN COLUMBUS AFTER THEY CAME AND PLAYED HERE.>>I SAW THE ORIOLES PERFORM ON THE LINCOLN STAGE AND THEY WOULD TURN AT A CERTAIN PART OF THEIR PROGRAM, THEY’D TURN THE LIGHTS BLUE. THEY WERE BLUE ALL OVER THE STAGE. NOBODY HAD EVER SEEN THAT BEFORE AND SONNY GOT OUT THERE AND HE SAYS, “YOU SAW ME CRYING IN THE –” AND THEN HE TURNED SIDEWAYS LIKE THAT AND THE GIRLS WENT WILD.>>COLUMBUS’ BLACK COMMUNITY HAD NIGHTCLUBS ON EVERY CORNER. OH, LET’S SAY AT THE CORNER OF MT. VERNON AND 20th YOU WOULD HAVE A CLUB CALLED “THE SKIRTIES.” ACROSS THE STREET YOU WOULD HAVE A CLUB CALLED “THE YACHT CLUB.” YOU WOULD HAVE ANOTHER CLUB ON THE INTERSECTION AND SO A MUSICIAN WOULD HAVE THREE PLACES THAT THEY COULD WORK AT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.>>AND WE HAD THE 502 OVER ON SINCLAIR IS ANOTHER GREAT CLUB AND THEY BROUGHT IN TOP ENTERTAINMENT FROM NEW YORK. THEY’D BRING THE JAZZ MESSENGERS, HEART OF SILVER, THEY’D BRING IN MILES DAVIS. THEY BROUGHT IN EVERYBODY IN THE BUSINESS.>>THEATERS ANCHORED ENTERTAINMENT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THE PITHIUM, THE ORPHIUM, THE DUNBAR, THE EMPRESS. TODAY THE THEATER MOST PEOPLE ASSOCIATE WITH THAT GOLDEN ERA IS THE LINCOLN. THE LINCOLN STUNNING EGYPTIAN REVIVAL DÉCOR MADE IT A SHOWPLACE AND PEOPLE THRONGED HERE FOR JAZZ, MOVIES, AND VAUDEVILLE. IT WAS DESIGNED AND BUILT BY TWO AFRICAN-AMERICAN DEVELOPERS IN 1928, ANGERED WHEN THE NEARBY VERNON THEATER WAS CLOSED TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS. HUNDREDS OF UNFORGETTABLE AND FORGETTABLE ACTS PLAYED THE NEIGHBORHOODS THEATERS AND CLUBS. IT’S A LEGACY THAT’S NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN.>>ARCHIE “STOMP” GORDON LEARNED TO PLAY THE PIANO WITH HIS TOES. HE GOT THAT NAME STOMP GORDON BECAUSE OF THAT AND BY 1951 HE HAD LEFT COLUMBUS AND BECAME A TOURING MUSICIAN. THEY WOULD TOUR FROM THE VIRGINIAS ALL THE WAY TO CANADA AND ALASKA. RUSTY BRYANT GOT HIS START WITH STOMP GORDON’S ORCHESTRA. RUSTY SIGNATURE SONG WAS A JAZZED UP VERSION OF “NIGHT TRAIN.” RUSTY SPEEDED IT UP AND MADE A REAL FAST DANCE SONG TO IT AND IT WAS KNOWN AS “ALL NIGHT LONG.” IT BECAME A HUGE HIT, SOLD OVER A MILLION AND A HALF COPIES AND MADE RUSTY BRYANT’S NAME. EAST HIGH SCHOOL WAS THE SCHOOL RUSTY BRYANT WENT TO. AND THEY HAD WONDERFUL TEACHERS AT EAST HIGH SCHOOL. THERE WAS JUST SO MANY GREAT MUSICIANS WHO GOT THEIR START UNDER ZIGGY COYLE AND TED TURNER, PLAYING IN EAST HIGH SCHOOL’S BAND. PROBABLY THE TALENT SHOWS WERE SOMETHING TO BEHOLD BACK IN THOSE DAYS. JIMMY ROGERS WAS THE DRUMMER WITH RUSTY BRYAN’S GROUP. JIMMY DECIDED THAT HE WAS GOING TO SET A DRUM MARATHON, AND SET HIS DRUMS UP IN THE WINDOW AND BEGAN A DRUM MARATHON THAT LASTED OVER 80 HOURS. HE WOULD TAKE A BREAK FOR A SHOWER EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. BUT WHILE HE WAS SHOWERING, HE WOULD HAVE A DRUM — SOMETHING TO BEAT ON IN THE SHOW AND HE’D CONTINUE HIS DRUMMING. PROBABLY WHEN SHE WAS 11 YEARS OLD, SHE BEGAN BEING NOTICED AS A SINGER. BUT NANCY WAS DISCOVERED BY MADAME ROSE BROWN. ROSE BROWN HAD A TELEVISION SHOW IN THE LATE 1940s. AS A PART OF HER TELEVISION SHOW, SHE WOULD INTRODUCE YOUNG SINGERS. AND NANCY GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY WITH MADAME ROSE BROWN AND DO HER TELEVISION SHOW. RONNIE KIRK WAS A SIGHTLESS MUSICIAN. BUT HE NEVER LET HIS SIGHTLESSNESS EVER SLOW HIM DOWN AT ALL. HE WOULD RIDE A BICYCLE AND DRAG HIS FOOT ALONG THE CURB IN ORDER TO SEE WHERE HE WAS GOING WITH THE BICYCLE. AND HE ALSO ADOPTED THE ABILITY TO PLAY MORE THAN ONE SAXOPHONE AT THE SAME TIME. AND HE NOT ONLY PLAYED THEM, BUT HE PLAYED THEM VERY, VERY WELL. GENE IS PROBABLY COLUMBUS’ STATESMAN, AS FAR AS MUSIC GOES NOW. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY OF MUSIC, YOU GO TO GENE, AND GENE WILL SIT DOWN AND SCHOOL YOU ON THE HISTORY OF MUSIC. KING CURTIS WAS PUTTING TOGETHER A BAND THAT WAS OPENING UP FOR THE BEATLES. GENE WENT WITH KING CURTIS, AND THEY PLAYED AT SHEA STADIUM IN 1965. AND GENE SAYS THAT THE YOUNG WOMEN SCREAMED SO LOUD THAT HE LOST PART OF THE HEARING IN HIS EARS. PLAYED THOUSANDS OF ENGAGEMENTS. HE’S THE PATRIARCH OF MUSIC IN CENTRAL OHIO. AND WE LOVE GENE, AND WE ALWAYS WILL. ♪♪>>>THE LINCOLN THEATER WAS CLOSED FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS WHEN THE NEIGHBORHOOD DECLINED. BUT AT $13.5 MILLION RESTORATION WITH PRIVATE AND PUBLIC MONEY BROUGHT IT BACK TO LIKE IN 2009. NOW THE LINCOLN THEATER ECHOES AGAIN WITH MUSIC, ESPECIALLY JAZZ. AND NOT ONLY FROM PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS, BUT FROM STUDENTS OF ALL AGES WHO ATTEND THE JAZZ ARTS GROUP’S JAZZ ACADEMY. THE RESTORED LINCOLN THEATER HAS REJUVENATED THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S MUSICAL HERITAGE.>>AND THE NEW LINCOLN IS A SUPER VENUE. IT’S GOT DRESSING ROOMS. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT — THE ACOUSTICS ON STAGE. I DON’T EVEN NEED A MICROPHONE ON STAGE IN THERE. EVERYTHING IS SO BEAUTIFUL ABOUT IT. AND THE ARTWORK HAS ALL BEEN BROUGHT BACK EVEN BETTER. IT LOOKS BETTER THAN IT DID BEFORE.>>MANY PEOPLE CELEBRATE THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S ACCOMPLISHED MUSICIANS. BUT OTHER ARTISTS FLOURISHED HERE. THEY CREATED REMARKABLE WORKS AND LIVE UNFORGETTABLE LIVES.>>MY PEOPLE USED TO SAY WHEN I WAS SMALL, I WOULD NEVER LIVE TO BE 21 YEARS OLD. I WOULD DIE WITH MY SHOES ON MY FEET. BUT THEY WERE MISTAKEN. GOD HAD A PLAN FOR ME, HE HAD SOME WOOD FOR ME TO CUT OUT.>>ELIJAH PIERCE RAN TWO CHAIRS IN HIS LONG STREET BARBER SHOP. BUT HE BECAME FAMOUS FOR HIS WOOD CARVINGS, WHICH WOULD BE WIDELY EXHIBITED IN THE ART WORLD.>>I WAS AFRAID AND DIDN’T HAVE SENSE ENOUGH TO GAMBLE. I DIDN’T KNOW NOTHING ELSE BUT TO WORK. — IN THE BARBER BUSINESS FOR A WHILE. I GOT TO CARVING AGAIN. EVERY CHANCE I GOT, WHEN I WASN’T CUTTING HAIR, I’D CUT ON SOME WOOD.>>HE’S JUST ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE WALT WHITMAN-ESQUE SORT OF CHARACTERS, LIVED HIS LIFE IN A TOUGH ENVIRONMENT, IN A TOUGH WORLD WHERE NOBODY REALLY RECOGNIZED HIM UNTIL HE WAS WELL ON INTO LIFE.>>UNTIL THEN ON, I WENT TO CARVING EVERYTHING I COULD THINK OF. I NEVER DREAMED THAT IT’D EVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING MUCH, BUT I JUST LIKE TO DO IT.>>WHEN YOU GO TO THE FOLK ART MUSEUM IN NEW YORK CITY, RIGHT ON THE STAIRS, THERE’S THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN CARVING BY ELIJAH PIERCE.>>MY FATHER WAS A SLAVE. AND HE USED TO TELL US ABOUT THE DAYS THAT HE WAS — WHILE HE WAS IN SLAVERY. AND I GOT A LOT OF IDEAS FROM WHAT HE WOULD SAY. AND HE SAID HE WAS SOLD THREE TIMES BECAUSE HE WOULDN’T STAND FOR THOSE SEERS TO WHOOP HIM. FINALLY, THE LAST MAN THAT OWNED HIM, HE’D TAKEN HIM FOR HIS BOY. MY FATHER SAID THAT HE WANTED HIM TO STAY ON WITH HIM AFTER THE EMANCIPATION. SO HE JUST DIDN’T FEEL LIKE HE WAS FREE UNLESS HE LEFT THAT PLACE.>>SO HIS CARVINGS WERE VERY MUCH ABOUT HIS BELIEFS ABOUT HIS FAITH, ABOUT HIS COMMUNITY, ABOUT THE EAST SIDE, ABOUT THE JOURNEY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS OUT OF SLAVERY. IT’S A PERSONAL STORY.>>AND PIERCE WAS A STRONG INFLUENCE ON A YOUNGER ARTIST WHO WOULD RECEIVE A MacARTHUR GENIUS GRANT FOR HER WORK.>>I DON’T — I’M NOT AN ARTIST. I DON’T MAKE ART. WHAT I DO IS GO INTO THE DEPTHS OF COMMUNITY ANCESTRIAL MEMORY. MY UNCLE, WHO WAS A STORYTELLER, HE HANDED ME DOWN THESE STORIES. HE DESCRIBED THE BLACKBERRY PATCH. I WANTED TO KNOW EVERY PERSON WHO LIVED IN THAT COMMUNITY, WHO MADE UP THIS COMMUNITY. THEIR LIVES ARE VERY IMPORTANT, BECAUSE IT MADE A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE.>>THE BLACKBERRY PATCH WAS AN ENTRY COMMUNITY FOR MANY SOUTHERN AFRICAN-AMERICANS MOVING TO COLUMBUS. IT WAS IMPOVERISHED AND THE PEOPLE THERE STRUGGLED. BUT IT WAS BRIMMING WITH LIFE.>>EVERYTHING WAS THERE, ALL OF THE BUSINESS. THE UMBRELLA MAN COME TO THE HOUSE, DOOR-TO-DOOR, FIXING OLD UMBRELLAS. AND THEN YOU SEE HIM AGAIN, WALKING ON THE MOUNT VERNON AVENUE. OR YOU WOULD SEE THE CHICKENFOOT WOMAN DOWN BY ST. CLAIR AND, OH, MOUNT VERNON, STANDING WITH HER CART SELLING CHICKEN FEET. THEY WERE GOOD.>>AND AMINA OF COURSE, WHEN SHE WAS YOUNG, SPENT A LOT OF TIME OVER AT THE BARBER SHOP. YOU KNOW, MR. PIERCE IS ONE OF HER MENTORS. NOW SHE GOES ON TO GET FORMAL TRAINING. SHE STUDIES AT CCAD. SHE’S A TRAINED ARTIST. BUT SHE HAS MENTORING ROOTS BACK TO HER — TO ELIJAH PIERCE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.>>SO ALL OF THESE COLORFUL CHARACTERS LIVED IN THE COMMUNITY. THE SOCK MAN WHO CARRIED HIS SOCKS ON A POLE, FIXING OLD SOCKS, YOU SEE. YOU DON’T SEE THAT TOO MUCH.>>IT WAS A PLACE THAT THEY ENJOYED LIVING AS A UNITY. THERE WAS FAMILY LIVING IN THE BLACKBERRY PATCH. BUT THAT’S ALL GONE IN THE PAST.>>WHEN YOU THINK OF, WHAT DID MOUNT VERNON AVENUE LOOK LIKE, YOU KNOW BECAUSE OF AMINA ROBINSON. YOU KNOW BECAUSE SHE HELPS US RE-IMAGINE WHAT THAT WAS LIKE.>>JUST AS PIERCE INFLUENCE ROBINSON, ANOTHER EAST SIDE ARTIST WAS A POWERFUL INFLUENCE ON A YOUNGER PAINTER. EMERSON BURKHART WAS A CLASSICALLY TRAINED ARTIST WHO LIVED ON WOODLAND AVENUE ON THE CITY’S EAST SIDE. ROMAN JOHNSON WAS A YOUNG ASPIRING ARTIST IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. HE WASN’T DISCOURAGE WHEN BURKHART HE DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO SHOW HIM ANYTHING.>>HE CAME BACK TO THAT STREET CORNER, AND HE SET UP HIS EASEL NEXT TO MR. BURKHART. AND THEY PAINTED TOGETHER FOR THE NEXT FIVE TO ALMOST SIX YEARS.>>BURKHART BECAME A MENTOR FOR THE YOUNG AFRICAN-AMERICAN PAINTER. BURKHART’S PORTRAIT OF JOHNSON, “THE CONFUSED PROCESS OF BECOMING,” CATCHES HIS PROTÉGÉ JUST AS HE’S ABOUT TO ASSERT HIMSELF.>>WHAT HE’S DOING IS HE’S POSING FOR HIS MENTOR TO PAINT HIM, AND AT THE SAME TIME, HE’S READY TO CREATE HIS OWN SPACE AS A PAINTER, TO KIND OF BREAK FREE. AND YOU FEEL THAT TENSION IN THE PAINTING. I THINK IT WAS STILL A PERIOD WHERE IT WAS VERY SURPRISING FOR A WHITE PAINTER TO MENTOR A BLACK PAINTER. I THINK THAT WAS STILL VERY MUCH A SURPRISE. THE EAST SIDE, THERE WAS A GREAT TRADITION IN THAT. AND WHEN YOU THINK OF IT, IT SORT OF — IT REACHES FROM, YOU KNOW, YOU THINK OF ELIJAH PIERCE AS A SORT OF THE SEMINAL FIGURE. AND IT REACHES THROUGH ROMAN JOHNSON, WILLIAM HAWKINS, AMINA ROBINSON — IT COMES ALL THE WAY THROUGH. YOU PUT COJO IN THERE. SO IT’S A GREAT TRADITION, REALLY INCREDIBLE.>>ROMAN JOHNSON WOULD BEFRIEND AND MENTOR ANOTHER YOUNG NEIGHBORHOOD ARTIST, A PHOTOGRAPHER NAMED COJO KAMAL. HIS WORK AND HIS MEMORIES PROVIDE A WARM AND PERCEPTIVE PORTRAIT OF THE COMMUNITY.>>BEING BORN HERE IN COLUMBUS, WE NEVER HAD AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY OR BLACK HISTORY IN SCHOOL, PERIOD. SO MY CONTRIBUTION TO CHANGE WAS TO DOCUMENT WHAT WAS GOING ON IN MY COMMUNITY. THAT’S MY BOY SCOUT DAYS, WHEN I WAS JUST RUNNING AROUND SHOOTING PHOTOGRAPHS OF WHAT WAS GOING ON IN MY BOY SCOUT LIFE. YES, AND THAT PHOTOGRAPH I BELIEVE WAS TAKEN RIGHT HERE AT THE CORNER OF GARFIELD AND LONG. AND WE WERE STANDING THERE WAITING FOR A PARADE. AND IN THAT PHOTOGRAPH, YOU SEE AN OLDER GENTLEMAN WITH A CAMERA STRAPPED AROUND HIS SHOULDER. AND THAT WAS MY BOY SCOUT MASTER, HIS NAME WAS TOM YATES. AND HE HAD A LOT TO DO WITH MY PHOTOGRAPHY CAREER. I WAS JUST BEGINNING TO START PHOTOGRAPHING IN THE COMMUNITY. AND I WAS WALKING DOWN MOUNT VERNON AVENUE. I HEARD THIS MUSIC AS I PASSED WHAT WAS THE PITHIAN THEATER. IT DIDN’T SOUND FAMILIAR TO ME. I WAS A JAZZ MAN, EVEN WAY BACK THEN. IT WAS YEARS — YEARS HAD GONE BY BEFORE I REALIZED THAT I HAD TAKEN A PHOTO OF B.B. KING. DANCE PARTY, THAT WAS TAKEN AT LONG AND MIAMI. AND THAT BUILDING IS STILL THERE, IT’S A MASONIC TEMPLE. AND AT THE TIME, THEY USED TO HAVE DANCE PARTIES. AND THE DJ WAS EDDIE SAUNDERS, WAS THE DJ. HE WAS POPULAR WITH EVERYONE IN THE COMMUNITY, BECAUSE HE HAD BEEN ON THE RADIO FOR LONG. THAT’S THE COMING HOME CELEBRATION. AND IT WAS HELD FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS. PEOPLE WOULD TAKE THEIR VACATIONS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY SO THAT THEY COULD BE HERE IN COLUMBUS DURING THAT WEEKEND. LONG STREET HAT SHOP, I JUST THOUGHT THAT WAS AN INTERESTING SHOT TO SHOOT. AGAIN, IT DEMONSTRATES ALL THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF BUSINESS THAT WE HAD. I MEAN, EVEN HAD SOMEONE WHO MADE A LIVING AS A HAT SHOP KEEPER. YOU KNOW, MARYLAND POOL. YES, THAT WAS PROBABLY ONE SWIMMING POOL THAT WE WENT TO. WE AS AFRICAN-AMERICANS HAD OUR OWN LITTLE NEIGHBORHOOD SWIMMING POOL. AND AT THE TIME I WAS SHOOTING THEIR PICTURES, YOU NEVER THOUGHT THINGS WOULD CHANGE. JUST — IT HAD ALWAYS BEEN THAT WAY. SO YOU KIND OF ASSUME THAT IT WILL ALWAYS BE THIS WAY. THROUGHOUT MY CAREER, I HAVE ALWAYS LOOKED AT MYSELF AS SOMEONE WHO DOCUMENTED THE POSITIVE THINGS THAT WERE GOING ON IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. SO ALL THE NEGATIVE STUFF, I REALLY WASN’T INTERESTED IN DOCUMENTING BECAUSE WE HAD ENOUGH PEOPLE DOCUMENTING THOSE THINGS. SO — AND WE STILL DO. SO I WAS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE POSITIVE STORIES. ♪♪>>IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD, SUNDAY MORNING IS A TIME FOR PRAISE AND REJOICING. MORE THAN PLACE OF WORSHIP, THESE CHURCHES HAVE CHAMPIONED THE NEIGHBORHOOD, FOUGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, AND KEEP PEOPLE COMING BACK HOME AFTER THEY’VE MOVED AWAY.>>ST. DOMINIC’S I THINK IS ALWAYS A SURPRISE TO PEOPLE WHO FIND IT IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. BUT I THINK THAT IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF HOW RAPIDLY IMMIGRATION WAS TAKING INTO COLUMBUS. SO THE ITALIANS FIRST ARE THERE. AND TODAY, IT’S PREDOMINANTLY AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHURCH.>>THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S OLDEST CHURCH IS ST. PAUL A OF E, FOUNDED IN 1823. DR. METHOD, THE DEAN OF THE NEGRO PHYSICIANS, WAS A MEMBER. WHEN THE NEIGHBORHOOD FOUND ITSELF WITHOUT A DOCTOR LONG AFTER HIS HOSPITAL HAD CLOSED, ST. PAUL’S OPENED ITS OWN HEALTH CLINIC TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY. THE EARLY LEADERS AT SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH WERE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOLITIONISTS. PASTOR JAMES POINDEXTER WAS ACTIVE IN THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD AND HELPED SHAPE THE NEIGHBORHOOD.>>HE WAS HERE FOR 40 YEARS. HE WAS INFLUENTIAL WITH THE CITY, AS FAR AS BEING ON THE SCHOOL BOARD AND CITY COUNCIL. OF COURSE, POINDEXTER VILLAGE WAS NAMED AFTER HIM.>>UNION GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH BEGAN AS A SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS MEETING UNDER A TREE AT CHAMPION AND GRANVILLE STREETS. MARTIN LUTHER KING PREACHED AT ITS 71st ANNIVERSARY. SHILOH BAPTIST’S STILL OPERATES THE CREDIT UNION IT BEGAN WHEN COLUMBUS BANKS WOULD NOT LOAN MONEY TO AFRICAN-AMERICANS. AND AT MOUNT VERNON AME CHURCH, CIVIL RIGHTS HEROES AND BIBLICAL FIGURES ARE HONORED IN BEAUTIFUL STAINED GLASS, CREATED BY COLUMBUS ARTIST FIORES WEST. ♪♪ [ MARCHING BAND PLAYS ]>>IT’S A FOOTBALL FRIDAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. AND FOLLOWING TRADITION, THE EAST HIGH MARCHING BAND IS LEADING THE WAY FROM THE SCHOOL TO THE FOOTBALL STADIUM SEVERAL BLOCKS AWAY. MANY PEOPLE ASSOCIATE EAST WITH ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS FOOTBALL BUCKEYES TO PLAY THE GAME, ALL-AMERICAN HALFBACK CHICK HARLEY. HE WAS SO FAMOUS THAT SOMETIMES, EAST HIGH DREW MORE FANS THAN OHIO STATE. BUT TO THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE, EAST HIGH’S FAME GOES FAR BEYOND ONE CELEBRATED ATHLETE.>>AND EAST HIGH SCHOOL IS AS MUCH AN ESTABLISHMENT AS CITY HALL IS, TO THE EAST SIDE OF COLUMBUS.>>THERE WAS A STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE. ALL THE “IN THE KNOW” ACADEMIC COMPETITIONS WE WON. THE ATHLETIC COMPETITIONS, WHETHER IT WAS FOOTBALL OR BASKETBALL, WE WERE ALWAYS THE ALL-CITY, YOU KNOW, CHAMPION, STATE CHAMPIONS AND SO FORTH. IT WAS A FUN TIME. IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN A BETTER COMMUNITY TO GROW UP IN.>>I THINK THAT’S WHAT SPECIAL ABOUT THIS HIGH SCHOOL IS JUST THE PRIDE, THE LOYALTY, THE CONNECTION IT MADE FOR US GOING HERE. AND SO AS ONE GROUP EXCELLED, WE ALL EXCELLED. IF OUR STUDENT COUNCIL EXCELLED, WE EXCELLED. IF OUR DEBATE TEAM EXCELLED, THE WHOLE SCHOOL EXCELLED. AND AS, OF COURSE, WHEN OUR BASKETBALL TEAMS OR FOOTBALL TEAMS EXCELLED, EVERYONE EXCELLED. AND THEY TOOK GREAT PRIDE IN BEING A TIGER.>>EAST HIGH WAS A CORNERSTONE WHEN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD WAS IN ITS HEYDAY. BUT EVENTS BEYOND MOUNT VERNON AVENUE AND LONG STREET HAD A PROFOUND EFFECT ON THE COMMUNITY.>>AND WHEN I LEFT, IT WAS ONE WAY. AND WHEN I CAME BACK, IT WAS DIFFERENT. IN OTHER WORDS, THE FREEWAY HAD COME THROUGH THERE AND BLOCKED OFF MOUNT VERNON FROM DOWNTOWN.>>IT SORT OF KILLED IT. IT REALLY DID KILL IT.>>AFTER I GOT OUT OF SCHOOL, I NOTICED IT, ESPECIALLY IN THE ’60s THAT — AND AFTER THE FREEWAY. AND I NOTICED SINCE WE HAD MORE FREEDOM TO MOVE AROUND, A LOT OF BUSINESSES LOST MONEY BECAUSE WE WERE ABLE TO GO DIFFERENT PLACES AND SPEND OUR MONEY.>>AND THEREFORE, OUR BUSINESSES DIED. AND SINCE WE DIDN’T HAVE SELF-SUSTAINING BUSINESSES IN THE COMMUNITY, WE HAD TO GO ELSEWHERE FOR SERVICES AND GOODS.>>A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT DROVE THE NEIGHBORHOOD BACK THEN WERE THE, YOU KNOW, MOM AND POP BUSINESSES. THE SMALL STORES, LIKE CARL BROWN’S MARKET OVER ON MOUNT VERNON AVENUE, AND STORES UP AND DOWN LONG STREET. MANY OF THOSE, YOU KNOW, THEY’RE GONE. AND YOU KNOW, IT — IT SUFFERED.>>THIS NEIGHBORHOOD THRIVED WHEN ITS CITIZENS SHOPPED CLOSE TO HOME. BUT AS THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT MADE GAINS, OPPORTUNITIES OPENED UP FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS. MANY BEGAN TO LEAVE THE NEIGHBORHOOD.>>I KNOW THAT EVERY BLACK PERSON PROBABLY TOLD THEIR CHILDREN, YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE IT BETTER THAN ME, AND I WANT YOU TO ACHIEVE, AND I WANT YOU TO LIVE ANYWHERE YOU WANT. SO THERE WAS A MINDSET THAT IF YOU LEFT THE BLACK COMMUNITY, IN MANY INSTANCES, YOU’VE ACHIEVED.>>IS THERE A PRICE TO PAY FOR THAT IN TERMS OF A COMMUNITY LOSING ITS BEST AND BRIGHTEST? YES, THAT IS A REALITY. BUT I THINK — I THINK PEOPLE HAVE LEARNED TO CARRY THAT PRIDE AROUND WITHIN THEM.>>OTHER CHANGES IN THE NATION ALSO AFFECTED THE NEIGHBORHOOD. JEWISH MERCHANTS ON MOUNT VERNON WOULD ESPECIALLY FEEL THE EFFECTS. MARVIN BONOWITZ’S FATHER OPENED A TAYLOR SHOP ON MOUNT VERNON AVENUE IN 1921. AT THAT TIME, IT WAS DIFFICULT FOR AFRICAN-AMERICANS TO GET LOANS TO START BUSINESSES. JEWISH MERCHANTS COULD. BONOWITZ CREATED A HISTORY OF THE JEWISH BUSINESSES THAT THRIVED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.>>I THINK MY FATHER WAS ONE OF THE FIRST JEWISH-OWNED BUSINESSES THERE, AND OTHERS FOLLOWED.>>WE DIDN’T HAVE BUSINESSES ITSELF, BUT WE DID RUN BUSINESSES. WE MANAGED BUSINESSES, THINGS LIKE THAT. AND USUALLY, WE HAD A LOT OF JEWISH PEOPLE THAT OWNED BUSINESSES IN OUR AREA. AND THEY REALLY TOOK CARE OF US. THEY TOOK CARE OF US, YES.>>THEY WERE PART OF THAT FAMILY, THEY WERE PART OF THE COMMUNITY. AND THEY HIRED BLACK — PEOPLE OF AFRICAN DECENT TO WORK IN THERE. TEACH THEM, TRAIN THEM TO WORK IN THEIR BUSINESSES.>>I THINK THERE WAS A REALITY THAT — THAT THE BUSINESSES MAY HAVE HAD A FACE, YOU KNOW, ON THE SALES — SALES FLOOR, BLACK SALESMEN. BUT ALWAYS IN THE, YOU KNOW — IN THE OFFICE SOMEPLACE, THAT PERSON WAS, MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, WHITE. ♪♪>>BONOWITIZ’S FAMILY HAD OPERATED A STORE ON MT. VERNON AVENUE FOR 46 YEARS. BUT BY 1967 ISSUES ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS AND RACE WERE EXPLODING.>>I HAD A TELEPHONE CALL ONE AFTERNOON, AND I WAS TOLD THAT I’D HAVE TO LEAVE THE — I WOULD HAVE TO LEAVE THE NEIGHBORHOOD. WE WERE COMING DOWN TO CLOSE OUR STORE AND SURE ENOUGH A COUPLE OF CARS CAME DOWN TO THE FRONT OF MY STORE, AND THEY HAD THESE PLACARDS AND SAYING, “JEWS, GET OUT.” AND THEY HAD WARNED ME ON THE TELEPHONE. COLUMBUS WAS SPARED THE MAJOR TURMOIL THAT ENGULFED OTHER CITIES, BUT THERE WAS VIOLENCE ON MT. VERNON AVENUE. BONOWITIZ’S STORE WAS ONE OF THE BUSINESSES THAT WAS DAMAGED.>>I SAW THE RAT COMING DOWN THE STREET. WHEN THEY FIRST THREW THE FIRST BRICK, I SAW IT BEING THROWN AND WHO THREW IT.>>SO THE COUNCIL OF RACIAL EQUALITY BAILED UPON ME TO GET OUT OF THE MT. VERNON AVENUE NEIGHBORHOOD AND — AS WELL AS OTHER JEWISH BUSINESSES AS WELL AS OTHER WHITE PEOPLE, OUT. WE PROVIDED JOBS. WE PROVIDED CLOTHES AT POPULAR PRICES, AND WE HAD GOOD RELATIONSHIPS WITH ALL OUR CUSTOMERS. BUT THIS POLITICAL ORGANIZATION WAS BOUND GET NON-BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD, AND THEY DID THEIR JOB.>>IT WAS A NIGHT THAT CHANGED THE NEIGHBORHOOD. BUT IT WAS A NIGHT OF HEROICS, TOO. CARL BROWN, THE NEIGHBORHOOD GROCERY, RUSHED TO THE DEFENSE OF HIS FELLOW MERCHANTS.>>IN MY — MY BOOK HAS A PICTURE THAT’S CARL BROWN STANDING IN FRONT OF MY STORE, NOT LETTING PEOPLE BREAK MY WINDOWS. BUT I HAVE A — A LOT OF AFFECTION FOR CARL BROWN.>>HE STEPPED FORWARD, TOLD PEOPLE — YOU KNOW — “STOP, STOP THROWING BRICKS.” YOU KNOW, BECAME A — FATHER FIGURE, BUT AS I EXPLAIN IN THE BOOK, IT NEVER QUITE RECOVERED. YOU KNOW, THERE WERE LITTLE SPASMS OF ECONOMIC VITALITY AND — YOU KNOW — WITH THE MT. VERNON AVENUE PLAZA, WHICH NOW IS MOSTLY A SHELL OF ITSELF AS WELL. YOU’RE — YOU’RE MIDDLE CLASS, AND YOU’RE MONEYED BLACK POPULATIONS, THEY MOVED INTO AREAS LIKE BURWICK. THEY MOVED OUT OF THE — THEY MOVED OUT OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY, AND THAT’S THE WAY IT IS. IT’S — IT’S SAD. HOWEVER, IT’S PROGRESS. MOVED OUT OF THE BLACK COMMUNITY, AND THAT’S THE WAY IT IS. IT’S — IT’S SAD. HOWEVER, IT’S PROGRESS.>>FOR MANY PEOPLE THE STORY OF THIS NEIGHBORHOOD STOPPED IN THE 1980s. THEY ASSOCIATED THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH POVERTY, UNEMPLOYMENT AND EMPTY BUILDINGS.>>THERE ALSO WERE A LOT OF A TOUGH TIMES DURING THE ’70s AND ’80s ON THE EAST SIDE. IT WAS A TIME WHEN, QUITE FRANKLY, THERE WAS A LOT OF DRUGS ENTERING INTO OUR COMMUNITY. THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THERE WAS A LOT OF JOB DECLINE ON THE EAST SIDE.>>I MEAN, THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF LOW INCOME HOUSING OVER THERE. THAT’S A FACT. WE WANTED TO BRING IN HIGHER PRICE POINT HOUSING TO MAKE IT ECONOMICALLY DIVERSE. THE SHORT NORTH AND GERMAN VILLAGE NEAR EAST SIDE IS ALWAYS GOING TO WANT TO BE COMPARED TO THAT. FROM A FUNDAMENTAL STANDPOINT, THEY’RE QUITE DIFFERENT. GERMAN VILLAGE — HOUSING STOCK THERE, IT DIDN’T DETERIORATE TO THE SHAPE THAT NEAR-EAST SIDE HAS.>>THERE WERE ATTEMPTS TO TRANSFORM THE NEIGHBORHOOD. ♪♪ IN ONE OF THE MOST HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RAISED THE BLACKBERRY PATCH, THE FABLED CLOSE-KNIT COMMUNITY, AND BUILT ONE OF THE NATION’S FIRST PUBLIC HOUSING PROJECTS.>>THAT GIVES BIRTH TO, IN 1940, FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT COMING HERE ACTUALLY TO DEDICATE POINDEXTER VILLAGE, WHICH IS THE LARGEST HOUSING OF ITS KIND, WHICH IS THERE TO TRY TO PUT PEOPLE IN REAL HOMES THAT WERE BOTH SUBSTANTIAL AND AFFORDABLE.>>HERE HE COMES THROUGH THE DOOR RIGHT NOW, JIMMY CARTER.>>ANOTHER PRESIDENT VISITED IN 1978 TO DEDICATE AN AMBITIOUS HOUSING AND SHOPPING CENTER.>>THE SLUMS ARE GONE. THE PEOPLE WHO USED TO LIVE HERE STILL LIVE HERE. THE ONES WHO RAN THE BUSINESSES BEFORE ARE STILL OPERATING BUSINESSES HERE.>>CARTER’S PRONOUNCEMENTS OF SUCCESS WERE PREMATURE. MT. VERNON PLAZA DIDN’T END SUBSTANDARD HOUSING, AND IT DIDN’T SAVE NEIGHBORHOOD BUSINESSES. SOME BUSINESSES WERE DESTROYED TO MAKE WAY FOR THE PLAZA.>>SO IN THIS COMMUNITY, THE STRUCTURE, THE SHOPS, ALL THOSE THINGS THAT YOU SEE IN OTHER COMMUNITIES STILL STANDING. BUT NOW THEY CAN GO BACK TO, OH, THIS IS A HISTORICAL RESTORATION. NOT TO BEAT UP ON OTHER COMMUNITIES, BUT, I MEAN, THE TRUTH IS IN THE LIGHT, ALL RIGHT? OURS IS GONE.>>A MORE RECENT ATTEMPT TO IMPROVE HOUSING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD HAS TRANSFORMED AN ENTIRE BLOCK OF 21st STREET.>>WELL, THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE STREET WAS VACANT, ABANDONED PROPERTIES.>>THROUGH A DIVISION CALLED HOME COURT, THE COLUMBUS HOUSING PARTNERSHIP BUYS, REHABS OR BUILDS NEW PROPERTIES IN TROUBLED NEIGHBORHOODS.>>SO WE PICKED A STREET, 21st STREET, WORKED WITH THE COMMUNITY, LOCAL DEVELOPERS, CHP, AND SAID, “LET’S CLAIM THIS STREET. LET’S PUT FORTH THE EFFORT TO REALLY START WITH BRINGING HOUSING IN.” AND THAT’S WHAT CREATES NOBO, NORTH OF BROAD.>>SO WE’VE PURCHASED PROBABLY 80%, 85% OF THIS STREET, AND WE’VE HELPED THE EXISTING HOMEOWNERS WITH SMALL IMPROVEMENT GRANTS TO THEIR HOME, BECAUSE OUR APPROACH IS THAT WE WANT EVERYONE TO BENEFIT FROM THE INVESTMENT THAT’S TAKING PLACE, AND NOT JUST THOSE THAT ARE MOVING INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD.>>BY TARGETING VACANT HOUSES, HOMEOWNERS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD AREN’T DISPLACED. THEIR PROPERTY BECOMES MORE VALUABLE AS OTHER HOUSES ARE IMPROVED.>>YOU KNOW, THERE’S KIND OF THE MYTHICAL NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE YOU HAVE A MECHANIC LIVING ACROSS THE STREET FROM, YOU KNOW, A COLLEGE PROFESSOR OR A DENTIST. I MEAN, THAT’S KIND OF EXISTING HERE. WE REALLY HAVE A MIXED INCOME NEIGHBORHOOD.>>THOUGH THE REHABBED HOMES MIGHT BE 100 YEARS OLD, THERE ARE NEW IDEAS IN THIS PROJECT. ONE OF THE NEW HOMES SHOWCASES THE INDUSTRY’S BEST PRACTICES FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND SUSTAINABLE DESIGN.>>WE FUNDRAISED FROM A PRIVATE FOUNDATION PERSPECTIVE, PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL GIVING, CORPORATIONS, AS WELL AS OUR FEES FROM THE DEVELOPMENTS THAT WE PRODUCE.>>WE’RE NOT STOPPING THERE. WE WANT TO COME FROM 21st AND GO EASTWARD. THE LINCOLN THEATER AND 750 EAST LONG AND THE HAMILTON STARTS ON THIS, AND HOPEFULLY, WE’LL COME TOGETHER IN THE MIDDLE WITH SOME EXCITEMENT, START TO LOOK AT REVITALIZATION. IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG PROCESS.>>ANOTHER KEY COMPONENT TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S RECOVERY IS BUSINESS. MOST OF THE STORES ALONG MT. VERNON AND LONG HAVE DISAPPEARED. ONE IS CONSPICUOUSLY ABSENT.>>SEE WHEN PRESIDENT CARTER CAME HERE AND DEDICATED THE PLAZA, HE ASKED US, “WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT?” SO WE WANTED A SUPERMARKET. AND WE BUILT SINGLETARY SUPERMARKET FOR PRESIDENT CARTER SENT $4 MILLION TO BUILD IT. IT ONLY LASTED EIGHT MONTHS.>>IT LOOKED LIKE THE BEGINNING OF SOMETHING POTENT. OF SOMETHING GREAT. AND IT WAS A DAZZLING STORE. HAD A WONDERFUL INTERIOR, A WONDERFUL LOOK. WAS GOING TO BRING HIGH-END PRODUCTS, GROCERIES, ONTO MT. VERNON AVENUE. PROBABLY TWICE AS BIG, THREE TIMES AS BIG AS ANY OTHER STORE THAT HAD EVER BEEN ON THE AVENUE. AND YET, IT FAILED.>>THE MIDDLE INCOME DOLLARS WASN’T HERE TO SUPPORT IT. AND WITH THE STIGMA THAT THEY HAD, THIS WAS A DANGEROUS AREA, THE MIDDLE INCOME DOLLARS DIDN’T COME BACK. SO THAT’S WHY IT ONLY LASTED EIGHT MONTHS. NOW IT’S FRANKLIN COUNTY HUMAN SERVICES. THEY BOUGHT IT.>>IN HIS BOOK, HAYGOOD RECOUNTS HOW THE NEIGHBORHOOD EVENTUALLY RETURNED TO A SMALLER GROCERY STORE OWN BY CARL BROWN, WHO HAD LONG BEEN ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY.>>HE’S THE TURTLE. HE’S SLOW AND HE WINS THE RACE. HE’S THE TURTLE. HE, YOU KNOW — HE DOES IT THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY, HE’S OLD SCHOOL, YOU KNOW. OKAY, YOUNG WHIPPERSNAPPER DOWN THE STREET THINKS HE’S GOING TO PUT ME OUT OF BUSINESS? OKAY. I’LL ROLL UP MY SLEEVES, AND I’LL STAY STEADY. AND SINGLETARY’S FADED, MR. BROWN’S WAS STILL THERE.>>EVEN BROWN, WHO HAD LONG CHAMPIONED THE NEIGHBORHOOD, COULDN’T SURVIVE FOREVER. AS MORE PEOPLE LEFT THE NEIGHBORHOOD, THERE WERE FEWER CUSTOMERS, AND THE NEIGHBORHOOD LOST MORE THAN A PLACE TO BUY GROCERIES.>>WHEN CARL BROWN WAS IN ITS HEYDAY, IT WAS AN ASSEMBLY LINE FOR CHILDREN TO GET JOBS AND TO LEARN HOW TO WORK. AND TO LEARN HOW TO WORK. RIGHT NOW, HIS SITE IS CLOSED AND IT’S SILENT. THERE ARE NO JOBS, THERE’S NO GROCERIES — IT’S AN EYESORE, TO BE QUITE FRANK. IT IS A REPRESENTATION OF THE THINGS THAT WE WANT TO CHANGE ON THE EAST SIDE OF COLUMBUS. IT IS A REPRESENTATION OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN COMMERCE DIES COMPLETELY IN A COMMUNITY.>>THE WAY TO REALLY DEAL WITH BRINGING BACK A NEIGHBORHOOD IS HOLISTICALLY. IT’S NOT A PROJECT, IT’S 20 PROJECTS. TO MAKE AN ENTIRE HOLISTIC EFFORT BOTH AT HOUSING, COMMERCIAL, ENTERTAINMENT, OFFICE — THE WORKS.>>SOME PEOPLE LOOK AT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD AND THINK ONLY ABOUT WHAT IT USED TO BE. OTHERS THINK ONLY ABOUT WHAT IT HAS BECOME. BUT SOME PEOPLE TRAVEL THESE STREETS AND SEE A BLANK CANVAS. ONE OF THEM WAS JEFF ABRAXAS. WORKING ALONE BUT FIRMLY CONNECTED TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S RICH ARTISTIC TRADITIONS, HE REINVIGORATED THE LOOK OF THE KING-LINCOLN DISTRICT.>>HE WANTED TO DO MURALS IN A KING-LINCOLN NEIGHBORHOOD BECAUSE HE LOVED THIS NEIGHBORHOOD. AND SO, HE WANTED TO DO SOMETHING THAT WOULD GIVE BACK TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. WHEN HE DID HIS FIRST MURAL ON MT. VERNON AVENUE ON THE SIDE OF FRANK’S PLACE, HE DID THAT FREE OF CHARGE.>>I WAS AMAZED AT HIS TALENT AND THE FACT THAT HE JUST HAD SOME SCRAGGLY OLD BUCKET, A SCRAGGLY OLD PEN, OR PAINTBRUSH AND A LITTLE BIT OF PAINT ON A PAPER PLATE. AND YET, I SAW THIS BEAUTIFUL MURAL THAT I THOUGHT WAS JUST AMAZING.>>AND WHEN HE DID THE MURAL OF THE DANCERS ON GARFIELD AND LONG, AND THEN THE LADIES — THE VOCALIST ON GARFIELD AND LONG, YOU KNOW, HE THOUGHT THAT THOSE WERE HISTORIC FIGURES IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN ART AND MUSIC. AND SO, HE WAS HOPING THAT WHAT HE DID WOULD INSPIRE PEOPLE TO BE INTERESTED IN THAT ART AGAIN.>>I ASKED HIM AS A FAVOR TO COME OVER TO LONG STREET AND LOOK AT SOME BUILDING TO SEE WHETHER OR NOT HE’D BE WILLING TO PAINT SOME MURALS. AND HE WOULD USE HIS OWN DISCRETION. HE AGREED TO DO THAT.>>HE DID — IT’S LIKE A DOUBLE MURAL. AT THE TOP IS LOUIE ARMSTRONG, AND THEN ON THE BOTTOM IS A BIG MUSICAL NOTE WITH A RIBBON WRAPPED AROUND IT WITH THE WORDS “TO LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING.” MOST AFRICAN-AMERICANS REFER TO IT AS THE NEGRO NATIONAL ANTHEM — AS A SONG OF HOPE AND REMEMBRANCE AND HISTORY AS WELL AS A SONG TO ENCOURAGE FORWARD GROWTH.>>I REMEMBER ONE NIGHT, I’M DRIVING AROUND HERE NEAR LONG STREET, AND I SEE THIS YOUNG MAN WHO — YOUNG GUY, WHO IS THERE. AND HE’S GOT SOME PAINT CANS, HE’S GOT SOME BRUSHES, HE’S GOT SOME OTHER THINGS, AND HE’S STANDING ON HIS CAR. AND THE LIGHTS OF HIS CAR ARE ON. AND HE’S STANDING ON HIS CAR AND HE’S DOING THIS HUGE SCALE PAINTING.>>SOMETIMES WHEN I WOULD WATCH HIM PAINT THE MURALS, PEOPLE WOULD COME UP AND TALK TO HIM ABOUT IT. PEOPLE ALWAYS CAME UP AND WOULD SHAKE HIS HAND AND THANK HIM FOR PUTTING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD. YOU KNOW, HE REALLY FELT THAT THE NEIGHBORHOOD COULD USE SOME BEAUTIFICATION, SO THIS WAS HIS ONE-MAN WAY OF TRYING TO BEAUTIFY THE KING-LINCOLN DISTRICT.>>HE GAVE LONG STREET WHAT I CONSIDER THE GREATEST TREASURE OF ALL. AND THOSE MURALS WILL LAST FOREVER. AND HIS MEMORY, NOW THAT HE’S DECEASED, WILL LAST FOREVER.>>ABRAXAS DIED IN 2010 AFTER A BRIEF AND UNEXPECTED ILLNESS. HE WAS 39 YEARS OLD. AL EDMONSON IS ANOTHER PERSON USING ART TO MAKE SURE THE NEIGHBORHOOD’S PAST SHAPES ITS FUTURE. WHEN YOU SIT IN HIS BARBER SHOP, YOU SEE THE COMMUNITY’S HISTORY ON THE WALLS.>>WE JUST WANTED TO MAKE SOMETHING TO WHERE, YOU KNOW, WE CAN GO BACK AND LOOK AND SEE, LIKE, WOW, WE CAME A LONG WAY.>>FOR SOME, THE BLANK CANVAS IS A COMMUNITY THAT’S NOT FINISHED, A COMMUNITY THAT’S REINVENTING ITSELF WHILE STILL HONORING ITS RICH HISTORY.>>HAVING LIVED OVER IN VICTORIAN VILLAGE, WHICH IS A WONDERFUL COMMUNITY, AND MOVING OVER HERE, I WANTED A LARGER HOME. I WAS LOOKING FOR A DIFFERENT TYPE OF HOME. A LARGER HOME. AND ALSO, A MORE DIVERSE COMMUNITY WHERE I COULD BE PART OF THE POSITIVE CHANGE UNDERWAY. AND THE FIRST THING THAT IMPRESSED ME ABOUT THE HOUSE WAS THAT IT WAS PRISTINE. IT WAS IN SUCH A GREAT LEVEL OF PRESERVATION. I LOVE OLD HOUSES. I LOVE ORIGINAL WOODWORK. AND OF COURSE, GOOD ARCHITECTURE IS IN KING-LINCOLN. AND IT’S ALL OVER COLUMBUS. SO IT’S HERE IN ABUNDANCE.>>OTHERS WATCHING THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARE ENCOURAGED BY PLANS FOR EXPANSION AT UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL EAST, A LONG STREET CAP THAT WOULD CONNECT THE NEIGHBORHOOD TO DOWNTOWN, AN INFLUX OF COLLEGE STUDENTS FROM NEARBY CAMPUSES –>>THERE’S A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING ALL AROUND US THAT IS ONCE-IN-A-50-YEAR KIND OF THING.>>WE KNOW THAT THE LONG STREET WAS KNOWN AS THE MILLION DOLLAR MILE BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND WE ARE LOOKING FOR THE LINCOLN TO BE THAT CATALYST TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.>>AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU — WHEN WE SAID WE’RE GOING TO INVEST MILLIONS TO BRING BACK THE LINCOLN THEATER, A LOT OF PEOPLE SAID, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I SAID, “WE’RE GOING TO MAKE THIS THEATER A CATALYST TO BRING THIS NEIGHBORHOOD BACK.”>>WE’VE GOTTEN, FROM THE CITY IN THIS AREA, THE LINCOLN THEATER. WE’VE GOTTEN A FEW OTHER BUILDINGS AND SOME INFIELD BUILDINGS. BUT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE THAT COULD BE DONE. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO REVITALIZE THIS COMMUNITY, YOU STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND YOU BRING SO MUCH MORE TO THE PLATE.>>SO CITY, IN FACT, IS THE LEAD IN TRANSFORMING THE NEIGHBORHOOD, AND WE’VE INVESTED MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS IN THE AREA. AND LOOK, NOTHING HAPPENS WITH THE WAVE OF A WAND. IT TAKES PERSISTENCE. IT TAKES CONSTANTLY LOOKING AT THE RIGHT THING TO DO AT THE RIGHT TIME. IT ALSO TAKES RESOURCES.>>I THINK EVERYONE’S EXCITED THAT THIS NEIGHBORHOOD IS GOING TO COME BACK AS A MIX OF OLD AND NEW. THERE’S OPPORTUNITY FOR, YOU KNOW, BRAND NEW HOMES NEXT TO BEAUTIFULLY RESTORED HISTORIC HOMES. THERE’S OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEW BUSINESSES, NEW RESIDENCE. SO I THINK IT’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THE MOST DIVERSE NEIGHBORHOODS IN THE CITY.>>KING-LINCOLN, BRONZEVILLE, NOBO, THE NEAR-EAST SIDE, THE AVENUE. CALL THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHAT YOU WILL, BUT IT IS A NEIGHBORHOOD. ON THIS DAY, RESIDENTS VISIT THE KING ARTS COMPLEX TO CELEBRATE MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY. SOME OF THEM REMEMBER WHEN THERE WERE CROWDS ON THE STREETS, IN THE STORES AND IN THE THEATERS. SOME NEVER KNEW THAT TIME AND CAN’T IMAGINE IT. BUT OTHERS KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT WAS AND WHAT CAN BE IS UP TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WILLING TO MAKE THIS THEIR HOME.>>THE STORY OF MT. VERNON AVENUE AND LONG STREET IS — IT’S THE QUINTESSENTIAL STORY OF URBAN AMERICA. A LOT OF GREAT THINGS HAVE HAPPENED. A LOT OF SORROW. YOU KNOW, SORT OF SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH THAT.>>WE CERTAINLY HAVE FOND MEMORIES. BUT TIMES CHANGE, AND WE HAVE TO ACCEPT THAT LONG STREET WASN’T WHAT IT WAS. THAT MT. VERNON AVENUE ISN’T WHAT IT WAS.>>I HOPE IT WILL BE THRIVING MORE. I HOPE THERE WILL BE MORE HOMES THAT ARE RENOVATED AND PEOPLE LIVE IN THE COMMUNITY. I KNOW THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BE CLOSE TO DOWNTOWN BECAUSE OF THEIR JOBS.>>I BELIEVE THAT THIS COMMUNITY WILL REBOUND AND BE AS GOOD AS IT WAS BEFORE BUT DIFFERENT. IT CAN NEVER BE EXACTLY LIKE IT WAS. AND ANYBODY THAT HAS HOPES THAT IT WILL BE LIKE IT WAS — THEY’RE DREAMING. BECAUSE THE PEOPLE THAT WERE HERE BEFORE ARE GONE. THOSE FOLKS HAD A CONSTITUTION AND A WILL TO SURVIVE. WE NEED TO BRING MORE PEOPLE IN WHO HAVE A CONSTITUTION AND A WILL TO SURVIVE.>>WE’RE, YOU KNOW, SPITTING DISTANCE FROM THE LINCOLN THEATER, THE KING ARTS COMPLEX, THE LIBRARY DOWNTOWN, CCAD, THE ART MUSEUM, COSI. SO THOSE ARE THE KIND OF CULTURAL NEIGHBORS THAT I REALLY VALUE HAVING MY CHILDREN GROW UP WITH. THE MUSIC IN THE PARK THAT GOES ON OVER AT MAYME MOORE PARK IS GREAT IN THE SUMMERTIMES. EVERY THURSDAY, THEY DO AN OUTDOOR CONCERT SERIES. AND EVEN IF WE DON’T WALK OVER THERE, WE OPEN UP OUR WINDOWS AND KIND OF LET THE MUSIC FLOW IN. SO HAVING THAT SORT OF THING IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS JUST GREAT TO BE AROUND.>>I WANT THIS TO BE A PART OF COLUMBUS AND LOVED AND RESPECTED AS WE DID 40 YEARS AGO. BUT TIME CHANGES EVERYTHING. AND WHAT WE HAD THEN WAS BEAUTIFUL. AND WHAT THIS PLAN FOR TODAY IS BEAUTIFUL. ONLY THING THAT SEPARATES IT IS ABOUT 40 YEARS. ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪>>>SUPPORT FOR “COLUMBUS NEIGHBORHOODS” IS PROVIDED BY — SINCE 1921, THE STATE AUTO GROUP HAS CALLED COLUMBUS NEIGHBORHOODS HOME, OFFERING PERSONAL AND BUSINESS INSURANCE THROUGH INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS. FOR YOUR CAR, HOME AND BUSINESS, THE STATE AUTO GROUP. AS WE’VE GROWN AND CHANGED WITH COLUMBUS, WE’VE NEVER LOST SIGHT OF ONE THING — WE ARE NEIGHBORS SERVING NEIGHBORS. CHASE AND ITS MORE THAN 15,000 CENTRAL OHIO ASSOCIATES ARE PROUD TO CELEBRATE THE HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOODS OF COLUMBUS. AEP OHIO, CONNECTED TO YOUR LIFE. MORE AT AEPOHIO.COM. THE LAW FIRM OF BAILEY CAVALIERI, A LOCAL FIRM WITH A NATIONAL PRESENCE. BAILEYCAVALIERI.COM. THE OHIO HUMANITIES COUNCIL, A STATE AFFILIATE OF THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES. AND BY THESE AND OTHER LOCAL FOUNDATIONS AND FAMILIES. AND VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU. ♪♪>>>”COLUMBUS NEIGHBORHOODS: KING-LINCOLN” IS AVAILABLE ON DVD FOR $24.95. CALL 800-786-4237.

11 thoughts on “Columbus Neighborhoods: King-Lincoln”

  1. Awesome documentary!!! I'm a young african american residing in the neighborhood, and it was great to see how rich and cultured the community once was.. I'm so sad to see all the young foolishness that carries on everyday… We need a better sense of self, to better our community.

  2. My cousins called me  to tell me that our relatives were shown in this documentary.  They built a lot of the structures on Mt. Vernon and my own mother was born on the corner of Champion and Mt. Vernon….I remember Spicers….

  3. Wow, best neighborhood documentary of them all from wosu. Makes me even more proud to have been born in Columbus Ohio.

  4. I think the war on poverty, busing,broken homes ,hurt us much more than it helped us.God ,hard work and family worked really well in the 1940s and 1950s. Where are the fathers of our children?

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