Steeped IN History: A Dive Into Black History in Indiana
This post is sponsored by Toyota. All opinions are my own.
History has was always one of my favorite subjects growing up. Studying the past helps us prepare for the future. Learning from the past helps us to appreciate how far we’ve come and who have paved the way for it all. When Toyota reached out to do a historic tour of Indianapolis I was immediately intrigued, not only because I love Black History, but because I knew this would be the start of a never-ending quest to become more rooted in my community.
What is the Steeped in History Tour?
The Steeped in History Tour presented by Toyota features a unique historical tour of your city. Our tour took place in downtown Indianapolis. As an Indy native, I was curious to see what history we would uncover. As we drove around in our Toyota MY20 vehicles, we listened to our guides unveil hidden gems in our city. Here’s a snapshot of our tour stops.
Best known for President Obama’s stop on his campaign trail, Kountry Kitchen was the first stop on our tour. All breakfast items are cooked to order. The shrimp and grits were a crowd favorite. I opted for a loaded omelet with a side of bacon and history. Did you know that the name Kountry Kitchen is spelled with a “K” due to a copyright battle?
One of the highlights of the tour for me was this stop to the exact point where Robert Kennedy delivered the horrific news that Martin Luther King had been assasinated. This powerful moment in our history has a place right here in Indy, and I never knew it existed. I stood here with men and women who I would spend the next 8 hours getting to know and love. This was a powerful moment of our own.
We stepped back in time to 1915 when we visited the Indiana Historical Society. We learned about Madam CJ Walker and how she was the ultimate #GirlBoss. This was such a fun and informative stop on our tour. The actors made us feel like we were right there, in Madam Walker’s office. The exhibit is overwhelming and touching. A must-do.
Indiana Avenue or "The Avenue" is what locals referred to it, was the most profound stop on the tour for me. This six square block area was the first African American neighborhood to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. As we winded down and had dinner as a group, we discussed the day. Mr. Thomas Ridley, Jr., a living legend and Author here in Indianapolis joined us for dinner and gave his eye-witness account if his the city has changed over his 96 years. He told us tales of a simpler time where the girls who get "dolled" up for dances and the boys would hope to catch the attention of one of them as they walked by on their way to listen to jazz. I watched men and women who just hours before were complete strangers become forever bonded by this experience.
Other stops on our tour you should check out:
Crispus Attucks Museum
Cleo Bodega and Cafe
Madame Walker Legacy Center
Indiana State Museum
Center for Black Literature and Culture (inside of the Indianapolis Central Library)
Pro Tip: Set aside a few days to do the tour and really take in each stop. It's worth it!
What stops would you have added? What other gems do we need to uncover in the pursuit of shining a bright light on Black History in Indianapolis?