King-Lincoln Bronzeville

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The historic Lincoln Theatre

King-Lincoln Bronzeville (or King-Lincoln for short) is a historically African American neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, and the site of considerable revitalisation and renovation projects on behalf of the city.

The King-Lincoln neighborhood is bound by Broad Street to the south, 20th Street to the east, Atcheson Street to the north, and I-71 to the west according to the City of Columbus [1] and is part of the larger "Bronzeville" area.

In 2009, the King-Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association asked that the neighborhood be renamed to Bronzeville to reflect its history.[1]

History[edit]

In the early 1800s, there were only 43 “free colored” citizens in Columbus. Within ten years, 1840-1850, the number of African-American citizens doubled from 805 to 1607 people. There are only glimpses of African-American life in Columbus in the 19th century, but it is clear that there were several small communities—some inside the present-day boundaries of Columbus and some that were outside the boundaries of the city. African Americans worked as farmers, domestic servants, and tradesmen or as construction workers for the National Road, the canal, and the railroads. Irish, Germans, and African Americans, (and by early 20th century), Italians might live in close proximity because of closeness to work or cheaper rent. Although these were not always truly integrated communities, there was no segregation by law. By the late 19th century, African American families could be found in: parts of the Badlands (around Fort Hayes); by the Olentangy River and West Lane Avenue; by the Olentangy River and West 11th Avenue; Long Street and North High; the Hilltop (by the state institutions); Burnside Heights (Hilltop/Westgate area); Flytown (near North Side), and later Hanford Village and Teakwood Heights. African Americans lived in so many different areas that Columbus Schools actually desegregated 90 years before court-ordered desegregation. Between 1900 and 1940, the African-American population grew from 9,000 to 39,000. By World War I and the Great Migration of African Americans seeking work and opportunity in the north, one neighborhood grew substantially larger—the East side—because it was practical to live near work near the railroads and companies dependent upon the railroads. The African American community moved eastward along Long Street, despite the efforts of some white businessmen to hold the commercial and housing line near what is now St. Paul’s AME Church. By this time, housing, schools (with the building of Champion School in 1909), and social activities were increasingly segregated. As a result, the King-Lincoln neighborhoods grew increasingly inward and self-sufficient. Though people might shop and work downtown, they could also find what they needed between Long Street and Mt Vernon Avenue. The King- Lincoln area was home to an African-American community of diverse educational and cultural backgrounds—shopkeepers, doctors, barbers, lawyers, musicians, clerks, drycleaners, journalists, real estate people, beauticians, restaurant owners, and others made Long Street the center of African American commercial, social, and entertainment experience. Much like the origins of the Harlem Renaissance or the flowering of rich Jazz centers of St. Louis or Chicago, the King-Lincoln neighborhood (also called Bronzeville) was born of segregation.

The area was at one time much larger, including parts of what is now the Discovery District. The creation of Interstate 71 significantly cut the area off from downtown, causing socioeconomic decline and the growth of crime and violence.[original research?] The neighborhood has become the focus of the city's revitalization efforts which include renovation of the historic Lincoln Theatre, construction of new condos and expansion of retail space along Mt. Vernon Avenue and Long Street,[2] which hosts the annual Long Street Tour cycling event.

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Coordinates: 39°58′8″N 82°58′30″W / 39.96889°N 82.97500°W / 39.96889; -82.97500