Jackson Ward in Richmond, Virginia Noted for Being “The Harlem of The South”

Written by Jae Jones

African-Americans who lived in the south during the mid-1800s had their own bright lights, jazz entertainment, and businesses.” was a neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia that was known as “The Harlem of the South”.  People such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, and many others often performed at a happening spot in the area called, “The Hippodrome Theater”.  The area was one of the biggest thriving African-American communities of its time in the south.


Maggie L. Walker  was one of the first African-American business women to live in the area. She was the first woman to charter and serve as a president of an American bank. Her home today has fully been restored to a historical landmark. The district played a big part during the Civil Rights Movement. It was also the home to the law practice of Oliver Hill and Spottswood William Robinson III, the plaintiff attorneys in Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County.

After desegregation the area began to decline, many of the Black Americans who once depended on the area began to branch out in other areas of the state. Many of them also moved away and began to explore other business options in other states. Much of the area has been restored today. Many people who moved in the area purchased homes in hopes of helping revive the cultural character of the neighborhood.

Bill "Bojangles" Robinson

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson in Jackson Ward

Most of the homes of Jackson built during the early 1800s were a series of small cottages designed in the Federal style, and by the 1800s the style had changed to Italianate. There are many buildings that are still being revitalized today. Historical churches in the Jackson Ward include Third Street Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church. The area is also home to the Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. The area is filled today with great restaurants, grassroots, art galleries and many other historical sites.



Historic Jackson Ward – “The Harlem Of The South”

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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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