Location: Long Street Bridge which connects the King Lincoln District with downtown Columbus.
This wall documents the history, culture and traditions of the Near East side of Columbus. Photographer Kojo Kamau (1939-2016) and print maker Larry Winston Collins collaborated on the wall. Kojo Kamau used shots taken in the 1950s and 1960s of business people, entertainers, and church people who represented the neighborhood. The wall also highlights people from our lifetime like Angela Pace, Jerry Page, James “Buster” Douglas, Granville Waiters, Archie Griffin, and Jerry Hammond. The wall includes the main components of our culture: church, theatre, music, dance, artist, authors, education, business, sports, and public service.
The first section of the wall represents churches.
Sidebar: I loved reading about Rev. James Poindexter who came to Columbus in the 1840s and helped slaves to escape via the Underground Railroad. He was pastor of Second Baptist Church and eventually was the first African American elected to Columbus City Council.
There are several churches represented on the wall. As a youth, I attended Trinity Baptist Church.
Sidebar: As a youth in the 1970s, I thought everyone (saved or unsaved) went to church. When it was time to go to church, you put on your Sunday’s best and sat there from 11:00 am to 1:00pm to return the next Sunday. It was what we did, like it or not. If you didn’t like it, it was in your best interest to keep it to yourself.
The second section of the wall represents theatre.
Sidebar: Although I have attended the play “Black Nativity” in Cleveland, I have not attended it locally. I have attended several musical performances at the King Arts Complex and other plays.
The third section of the wall represents music.
Sidebar:The first time I heard musician Bobby Floyd play was a few years ago at the African American Cultural Festival. Remarkable talent!
As a result of looking at the wall, I decided to look up musician Hank Marr online. He toured during the 1960s and 1970s. I love this song (What? Not another Greasy Spoon?) on Youtube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHeNyfp5jYE
The fourth section represented on the wall is dance.
I remember taking group piano lessons and then private lessons from Dr. Raymond Wise at his school for performing arts.
The fifth section represented on the wall is artists.
The ACE Gallery was the gallery that Kojo Kamau and his wife founded. It is no longer open, but I made a mental note to see his work at the Columbus Museum of Art. I love going to the museum to take pictures of the art and special exhibits. Click the following like to see the: I Too Sing America the Harlem Renaissance at 100 exhibit.
The sixth section of the wall represents authors.
Sidebar: I remember the call and post newspaper during some point of my youth. This newspaper highlighted the news related to African Americans.
Sidebar: The Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast is the largest event of its kind. It has grown since the first one in 1986.
Sidebar: Vernell Jennifer Bristow testified of the impact author and mentor Is Said made on her life.
Sidebar: I remember working returning books to the shelves at the Columbus Metropolitan Library several quarters while attending college. I worked on the second floor in Biography, History, and Travel. If memory serves me correctly, that part of the library is still standing.
The seventh section represented on the wall is Education.
Sidebar: I remember William “Bill” Moss (1935- 2005) was passionate in conveying his opinions. My parents told me that on the radio he was known as “The Boss with the Red Hot Sauce”.
Sidebar: I graduated from the Battelle Youth Science program many years ago. The classes were held in a small building at Ft. Hayes Career Center.
The eighth section represented on the wall is Business.
Sidebar: My parents (Stanley and Marilyn Dawkins) shared memories of getting their Easter shoes at Gilberts where their parents received baby chickens to take home. The store claimed to have 100,000 pairs of shoes.
My mother (Marilyn Dawkins) also remembers getting her shoes at Schiff’s Shoes.
Sidebar: Michelle Brown (grand daughter of the original owner) was my best friend in high school (Mifflin High School). One year we both worked their stand at the Ohio State Fair. I didn’t want to see another watermelon for the rest of the year.
The ninth section is Sports.
The sports section includes James “Buster” Douglas (former undisputed World Heavyweight Boxing Champion), Jerry Page (won a Gold Medal in boxing at the 1984 Summer Olympics), Granville Waiters (played in the NBA for Indiana Pacers, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls), and Archie Griffin, two-time Heisman Trophy winner.
The tenth section represented on the wall is Public Service.
Sidebar: My first “real” job was at the Columbus Urban League (between my junior and senior years in high school). We cleaned neighborhoods, completed a resume, and visited those in nursing homes.
Sidebar: Dr. Wilburn H. Weddington was my mother’s doctor growing up.
Sidebar: As a youth, I remember listening to “Sermons and Songs” radio program on Sunday. That was not my kind of Christian music, but my parents enjoyed it. According to https://www.columbus.gov/Templates/Detail.aspx?id=45244 . In 1962, he started the Eddie Sunders Burial Fund for children of the less fortunate to provide Christian burials.
Sidebar: Jerry Hammond served on Columbus City Council for 16 years. Prior to that, he was instrumental in getting my dad a job as a meat cutter (union job) at Kroger.
My take on the Long Street Cultural Wall:
This wall caused me to take a walk down memory lane. It was a great conversation starter with my parents to determine if they remembered some of the people, places, and things represented on the wall. It caused me to take a few minutes to research a few of the people included that I had no previous knowledge of. This wall is rich in history and can cause us to be exposed to much of the history and culture that we might not know existed. I love that the wall includes the main components of our culture, church, theatre, music, dance, artist, authors, education, business, sports, and public service. You need to see the wall for yourself.