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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Of Indiana Avenue and the communities that stemmed from it, many were created out of literal slums.

Over time, the area grew into the historic gem that allowed Black entrepreneurs and families to thrive.

Today, a lot of that shine has been lost to time, but there’s a renewed focus to bring back the luster.

Black communities historically have been the first on the chopping block when it comes to making room for development and highways, with the impact of Indy’s near-west side still very much obvious. But, descendants and city representatives are working to commemorate and hold on to what’s still standing.

In 1904, Claudia Polley’s great-grandparents moved to Indianapolis’ near-west side, an area that would eventually become a beacon of hope, commerce, entertainment and so much more. Polley remembers some of that but has seen more of the decline. “The west side of Indianapolis used to have houses and business run by Black people everywhere, and now you don’t see that.”

In the early days, Black people had little option outside of the slum swelling on and around the canal. So, eventually on some of that land, these surrounding communities were birthed and, for a time, made the most of it. Polley said, “California Street in Ransom Place was once known as the Negro Meridian Street. Because you had the most prominent families living in the homes there.”

But into the 1960 and ’70s, the area would face another blow, displacement and erasure, literally changing the shape of the community.

Polley said, “It was a combination of the highway and the creation of IUPUI that simply systematically and very intentionally erased the Black west side of Indianapolis, and working in tandem really. The federal government had the interstate system, that was it was starting under the (Dwight D.) Eisenhower administration.”

WIth the grabbing up of land, some things were saved: Ransom Place, Lockfield Gardens and Fayette Street. A small portion of the canal also was preserved.

Lourenzo Giple, deputy director of planning preservation and urban design for the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development, said, “If you had a thriving Black or brown community, this was a way for us to dismantle it. So, Indiana Avenue was a perfect example of that.”

Advocates and city representatives say it still created the opportunity to nearly decimate communities.

Today, the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission is making efforts to hold on to what’s left. Referencing the highways system, Giple said, “It bifurcated neighborhoods and literally bifurcated families, because families live in blocks together.”

Working with Polley and others, the Urban Legacy Lands Initiative and other groups are identifying historic areas and helping provide protection. Giple said, “In Black and brown communities, the history has been important before, but those communities, they’ve just been our history, and they haven’t seen the value in saying that these things are very important and important to the fabric of Indianapolis.”

Polley says Urban Legacy Lands Initiative and other groups are still fighting back against erasure, recently pushing back on a plan to build a five-story student housing apartment complex in the heart of Indiana Avenue, utilizing both the community OGs and youth to get the work done.

Ebony Chappel, a volunteer with Urban Legacy Lands, said, “The work that they are doing to preserve and bring awareness to and even continue the legacy of the strides African Americans have made in the city is incredible. So, a few of us from the community have gotten together to figure out how we can elevate that work.”

She said, while there are preservation efforts in the works, now’s the time to focus on how the Black people have impacted the city and showcase its richness. “I want us to focus on how we can empower ourselves, how we can support one another, and a big part of that comes from getting active and getting engaged. So, we hope that people see this as an opportunity to imagine the future.”

Polley says this work is about more than holding on to the legacy but also honoring people who fought to keep what left. “Know your history. Knowing the fact that people cared enough to work for you and other people around you that means a hell of a lot.”

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Fred Pervine is seasoned veteran for Indianapolis Fire Department and the current fire chief at the Indianapolis International Airport.

He lives by the mantra “anything is possible,” and joined the short list of Black fire chiefs in the airport’s history, a testament to his dedication and hard work.

Chief Pervine grew up in an Indianapolis neighborhood where few firefighters looked like him, but he says that didn’t discourage him from pursuing his dream. Instead, the lack of representation was one motivating factor that inspired him to pursue a career in firefighting and make a change

“One thing in the community where I grew up, I didn’t see that many Black firefighters where I was living. All I wanted was an opportunity. I didn’t want anybody to give me anything, just give me the opportunity, and I will succeed. It is really rewarding because you are helping people and making a difference in people’s lives,” Pervine said.

Pervine got his first start as an emergency medical technician (EMT), but he knew the ultimate goal was to become a firefighter, and it was through hard work and dedication that he rose through the ranks.

“I am very grateful for the journey. I learned a lot. I came into the fire department when I was 22 years old. The fire department grew me up. I was on special teams, the dive team, heavy extrication, and rope repealing, and it helped me to conquer fears,” Pervine said.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority hired Pervine in 2021. Prior to his appointment, James Underwood served as the first Black fire chief for the airport in the 1980s and 1990s. According to Indianapolis Airport Authority, Underwood was the leader during the Oct. 20, 1987, U.S. Air Force A-7 D-4-CV Corsair II crash into the Indianapolis Ramada Inn, when he demonstrated his expertise and commitment to the safety of the airport and the community.

Before Pervine was appointed to Indianapolis Airport Authority, he held leadership roles during his 35-year career with the Indianapolis Fire Department. His leadership is centered around a community-oriented approach that prioritizes safety and communication.

“Every morning, I have to have it in my mind that this could be the day. I have to walk through my mind and ask, ‘What would I do if A, B, and C happen?’ I have to think about what could happen because the world’s eye will be on me,” Pervine said.

The Indianapolis airport’s fire chief says he is committed to continuing his legacy of promoting safety at the airport and improving the lives of Hoosiers. His accomplishment marks a significant moment in the city’s history and exemplifies how diversity and inclusion can be achieved in the workplace.

The Indianapolis Airport Authority seeks people interested in becoming firefighters’ EMTs. The government agency will host career outreach programs this spring.

This story has been corrected to show James Underwood was the first Black fire chief at the Indianapolis International Airport.

As part of our month-long celebration of Black history, WISH-TV presents our Celebrating Black History special! The show celebrates the contributions and important achievements by African Americans in U.S. history, and those striving for a better future.

Special thanks to The Jazz Kitchen for being our host.


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Martindale-Brightwood, a historically African-American neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis, has undergone significant changes in recent years.

The neighborhood’s history dates to the early 1900s when many Black people left the Jim Crow South for better opportunities and, along with a mixture of white immigrants, settled there. It was a blue-collar neighborhood, with mainly industrial workers, and was one of the few neighborhoods in Indianapolis where Black people could own homes.

Clete Ladd is a long-time resident and college professor. After serving in the military, he returned to the area and began creating his historical archive and collecting records of the beloved neighborhood.

“Frederick Douglass Park is so historic. The park has not only been a center of community but education. There were things we learned at Douglass Park that we didn’t learn in school,” Ladd said.

The area became a vibrant black neighborhood by the 1930s and through the 1960s. It played a significant role in the civil rights movement with leaders like Andrew J. Brown, the pastor of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, who served alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ladd recalled one of the many church gatherings he attended in his youth.

“We were invited to hear Dr. King when he came into town. I didn’t realize it then be we were a part of history,” Ladd said.

Today, the neighborhood is still predominantly Black, but things are different now. The area declined and struggled with poverty, unemployment, and crime. However, it has seen some reinvestment in recent years.

A few historical buildings and markers still exist in the area, including St. Rita Catholic Church, which has been a cornerstone of the Black Catholic community for generations.

“It was an old Irish Catholic Church in a poor Irish neighborhood, a black neighborhood, and an extension of St . Bridget Catholic Church,” historian Sampson Levingston explained.

According to Denise Gavia-Currin, the administrative assistant at St. Rita, the church was established during segregation.

“It was built for the Black African community because it couldn’t sit in the front (in other churches). We had to always sit at the back,” Gavia-Currin said.

Levingston takes people on tours and listens to oral histories from the remaining descendants of those from the neighborhood who can share their firsthand accounts and experiences about what it was like years ago. He says the remaining historical landmarks in Martindale-Brightwood are a reminder of the events and people that shaped the area.

“Black people were kind of forced — not kind of, they were forced — into these neighborhoods where they had to live and create their churches, schools, and our community,” Levingston said.

To help preserve the culture and heritage of the neighborhood, Sampson organizes group tours through Martindale-Brightwood that serve as a connection between the past and present.

“I see change is coming. I see parts of the history maybe being lost or erased, but also an extremely prideful community,” Levingston said.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The legacy of Indiana’s first Freetown founded by Black Civil War veterans, Norwood remains intact as a testament to its founders’ tenacity.

Black Civil War veterans and freedmen founded Norwood in the 1860s, carving out a safe haven in the city that neighbored Fountain Square, and the area remained a self-maintaining town into the 1970s.

Today, descendants remain and share their history, holding onto its legacy.

Freedmen were the first to walk the streets of Norwood; the legacy of it remains rooted deep into the foundation.

Flinora Frazier, 93, knows. Her grandfather Sidney Penick was one of them. “He was in the war. I heard my grandmother talk about that.”

Penick joined the Civil War to help free his mother from slavery, and he eventually moved to Norwood and founded its first church, Penick Chapel AME Zion Church.

Frazier said, “It’s hard to imagine. We didn’t have much, but we were happy.”

Back then, Frazier says, as a self-maintaining town, people came to rely on their neighbors for maintenance, guidance, food and family. “Family. Every house was a part of your family even though they’re not really kin, but that was the attitude.”

She’s one of the early puzzle pieces holding it all together, sharing what she knows.

Brenda McAtee, president of the Norwood Neighborhood Association, said, “Flinora Fraizer gave me all of the documents. It’s more than that, but she gave me this,” a binder of newspaper clippings and documents.

McAtee moved to the area in 1969, just before the town merged with the Indianapolis city government. In 1970, the community welcomed paved streets and sidewalks.

“We have had our turn and thank God for keeping us here, but we want to let the kids know this like we’re doing with this old history, way back when. We want them to know coming forward how all of this happened.”

McAtee had been a voice of advocacy for the community since then. “I love what I’m doing. I love the neighborhood.”

She and others are spearheading improvement efforts alongside city leaders to maintain the neighborhood’s historical integrity and build it up for the current generation. “We need to go forward, not backward, and that is what we’re doing. We’re going forward to improve the neighborhood, to make it a neighborhood where people can come and feel comfortable.”

McAtee has been working alongside the Department of Metropolitan Development, and the work it is doing to support the community. Lourenzo Giple is deputy director of planning preservation and urban design.

The histories of Black and brown communities, Giple says, didn’t get the attention it deserves, but those stories are an important part of the fabric of Indianapolis. Giple applauds the tenacity of the Norwood communities and others that grew despite the challenges of the day.

“Essentially saying, ‘Well, you don’t want us. We’re going to take care of ourselves.’ But as the city grew, the resources became very very limited,” Giple said, “and it came to a point where ‘You need access to us and we need access to you.'”

Working closely with McAtee and others, the city has worked to expand protections through historical designations to limit what people can do in terms of demolition while also supporting affordable housing options, which has been a major concern as nearby Fountain Square sees growing displacement and gentrification.

“Our No. 1 goal is to protect the community. That’s the No. 1 thing the community has asked for.”

McAtee says the community has always been the focus. So, the decisions that are made are made together. She’s hopeful to see what’s next.

As for Frazier, she knows the history and can be their guide. “Well, if you don’t know where you came from, you might repeat it.”

The neighborhood is going through the motions to establish a new community center to provide more resources and recreation for the community.

McAtee says she also hopes to get historical markers at the four entrances to the community.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As WISH-TV celebrates Black History Month, a special guest joined Sunday’s Daybreak to share information about a special event highlighting Frederick Douglass.

Susan Hall-Dotson is the curator of African-American collections with the Indiana Historical Society. She discussed what attendees can expect to see at the event.

Reservations are required. Those interested in attending can find out more information on

For more details, please watch the video above.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Flanner House opened its doors 125 years ago this year with the focus of support the needs of a growing Black community.

The Great Migration sent thousands of African Americans north in the years after slavery, and many settled in Indianapolis.

The Flanner House started as a tool to promote the moral, social and physical well-being of the African American community. In the 1940s, the nonprofit started building what would be known as Flanner Homes. The first of those homes built near Crispus Attucks High School. With many Black soldiers unable to cash in on the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the GI Bill, of those who did, many found their homes around Indianapolis.

The Flanner Houses were built on more than just wood. It’s a foundation laid with pride, welcoming in a group of people who made a lot of a little.

“The neighborhood was mostly African American when I was growing up,” said state Rep. Vanessa Summers, a Democrat from Indianapolis.

Summers was raised in a Flanner Homes neighborhood. “I grew up in the Flanner Homes. Flanner Homes were homes that families built, and they got sweat equity, low-income loans for working on their own homes.”

Summers is part of that foundation because her father helped lay it. Like many other between the 1930 and the 1950s, he helped build the family home with sweat equity. She reflects on the joys of her youth.

“If there were 20 kids on our street all day long, that’s just how it went.”

Today, she walks in his shoes, holding his former seat in the Statehouse while living on the same block. “My dad got it before they (her godparents) passed. They made arrangements to hand it over to him. So, my sister lives in our house that I grew up in, and I live in my godparent’s house, and we share a driveway.”

The Flanner House opened its doors in 1898, focused on servicing a growing population of Black people who’d migrated north from Southern states. Some of those families had been formally enslaved. The Flanner House also focused on moving people out of positions of crisis and vulnerability to positions of self-reliance and self-sufficiency.

Brandon Cosby, executive director of The Flanner House, said, “Fleeing the South, they got here, and, while things weren’t necessarily great here, they were better than where they come from. So, folks began to settle, and there were liberal, open-minded, very progressive, white folks who saw what was happening and was outraged by it. One of whom happened to be the wife of Frank Flanner.”

Initially, The Flanner House served as a sort of community center, offering training, education, food co-ops and much more. It evolved into Flanner Homes Inc.

“Less than 10% of all of the Black men who enlisted to serve in World War II, who were promised the benefits of the GI Bill, actually got them. Less than 10%,” Cosby said. “About 80% of all of the Black folks who did get them actually got them here in Indianapolis because of the work of Flanner House,” Cosby said.

The Flanner House was built on the idea that people would reach a place of solvency for the social challenges, and the institutional and systemic racism. That pattern of work continued in the following decades, as that goal hasn’t been reached.

Cosby said, “Quite frequently when I’m asked to come and speak, the good thing about Flanner House is that we’ve been in the business of meeting the unmet needs of the Black community for 125 years. The problem with a Flanner House is that we’ve been in the business of meeting the unmet needs of the Black community for 125 years.”

But, those foundational tools keep the work alive, pushing pass the impacts of deep-seeded racism from redlining and home loan access to provide long-awaited opportunity.

“So, there were people who could financially afford to own a home, who had the credit to qualify for financing to own a home but had never attempted it because of the stories they had been told about what happened to their parents and their grandparents,” Cosby said.

One of The Flanner House’s latest ventures of improving home ownership rates, Cosby said, is creating a foundation for family and generational wealth that had been absent for generations.

Summers says, as a child, the neighborhood was just the neighborhood. Today, she sees its value much more clearly. “I realized that later on. I just know that I was given a rich history and a rich childhood.”

The Flanner House executive director says, up next, it’ll be leaning more into its agricultural program through its greenhouse operation while also working to improve mental health care access.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Broadway-bound musical is premiering Friday at the historic Walker Theatre inside the Madam Walker Legacy Center.

“Five Points the musical concert is a story inspired by the confluence of African American and Irish cultures and the birth of American tap dance. It follows an African American performer named Willie Lane and Irish immigrant John Diamond as they risk everything to achieve the American Dream in New York City during the Civil War.

The event is hosted by the nonprofit Discovering Broadway, which was founded by Joel Kirk in 2021.

Discovering Broadway hosts Broadway-bound musical creative teams and casts for multi-week writer’s retreats in Indianapolis and takes them through the creative process. Ultimately, they offer coaching and scholarships and hire performers to test the new material.

“When I think of great cities, they tend to have strong business, good sports, strong arts and culture, and, usually, distinct art and culture. L.A.’s is Hollywood, New York’s is Broadway, and Nashville’s is singer-songwriters,” Kirk said. “So, when I started this, I said, ‘Indiana has to specialize,’ and so I do think Broadway incubation ties in so well with the history of Indiana.”

Michael Conley is a local musician. He has collaborated with Kirk on several musical projects over the last decade.    

“One of the best things that Joel does is that he brings the story to life in a behind-the-scenes way. It’s cool to see shows take shape that may very well end up on the Broadway stage,” Conley said.

The show will play at one of the most historic theatres in the city, the Walker Theatre, and Kirk says that’s by design.

“With the great Netflix series about Madam Walker, ‘Self-Made,’ she’s getting more and more awareness, which is fantastic. But when this musical came along, and it was about Civil War, it was about the Irish community and the black community coming together in New York. I thought, ‘Oh, man, if we could be in that building.'”

The “Five Points” cast includes Tony winner Jessie Mueller, Josh Kaufman from “The Voice,” Aisha Jackson, and Michael Wordly, along with a number of Hoosiers.

Morgan Anita Wood is a native of Indianapolis and one of the stars of “Five Points.” She began acting as a child.

“I am totally starstruck by the group that I have been asked to be a part of for this beautiful production,” Wood said.

Scott Vanwyke is another Hoosier who’s getting a shot to elevate their career with Discovering Broadway and “Five Points.”

“You’ll get a chance to work with bonafide Broadway talent and you’ll get a chance to see how people working today work, how they go about their business and want to learn great skills, how to come to work with a good ethic and preparedness, Vanwyke said.

Kirk says some of the audience members on Friday will be high school students Discovering Broadway is sponsoring. He says that for many, it will be their first time seeing theater.

“What better way for young kids to have something seen in them than by a Broadway actor and sort of have that spark and passion ignited at such a young age? That’s one of the most special things that that we can give,” Kirk said.

Tickets for “Five Points” are available on the Discovering Broadway website. Prices range from $39 to $89. A VIP all-access pass is available for $169.

A poster for “Five Points” The Musical Concert at the Madam Walker Theater in Indianapolis.
(Provided Photo/Discovering Broadway)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Lockefield Gardens is located in the heart of downtown, just across from IUPUI. It now serves as apartments, but at one point it was a vibrant community for African Americans in the city.

“There was poverty. We’re coming in and out of the depression. The housing stock was pre-war in many cases, in many cities,” Susan Hall Dotson, the African American Collections Curator at the Indiana Historical Society said.

In an effort to bolster the economy, as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s new deal, the Public Works Administration funded fifty low cost public housing projects in 20 states. Lockefield Gardens was the first major public housing property in Indianapolis. It was also specifically designed for African Americans.

“They had new appliances. New state of the art appliances that were emerging at that time. There were open spaces. There were courtyards and playgrounds. They were marketed as the oasis of newness, as better quality housing stock,” Hall Dotson said.

Lockefield Gardens didn’t come without controversy. In order to build the new housing project, many homes on that property were declared slums and ordered to be demolished.

“It displaced people who were already there when they demolished the existing homes, many of them did not qualify because they did not earn enough to live there, so they had to migrate to other parts of the city to live,” Hall Dotson said.

Hall Dotson says the the creation of Lockefield Gardens also created an intentional divide at the time.

“There were white housing projects, and there were black housing projects, so then they created the segregated divide. So, where people may have lived together based on income, now they were based on race,” Hall Dotson said.

Lockefield Gardens opened in 1938. Long before that, Indiana Avenue was a flourishing area for Black culture in Indianapolis.

Dr. Patricia Turley is an Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at IUPUI.

“It was the residents that took ownership and really built this community together,” Turley said.

The addition of these new living spaces only added to an already thriving community. The residents who lived there continued to build a place where Black Hoosiers in the city could have fun, relax, and watch their families flourish.

“That sense of community and that sense of family. I’m going to be watching and making sure. Now, you’re not supposed to be doing that right? Those types of things we saw in Lockefield,” Turley said.

Things began to shift for Lockefield Gardens in the 1950’s. As communities began to be more integrated and upkeep of the property began to waver, it wasn’t long before many of the residents began to move.

“Expansions and other things were creeping around Indiana Avenue neighborhood and Lockefield before they actually closed it,” Hall Dotson said.

Much of the area continued to change and in the late 1970s, the apartments closed and were partially demolished.

This made way for IUPUI’s expansion in the 1980s.

After demolitions, only six of the original 24 buildings remained and they were placed on the National Registery of Historic Places

The other units were rehabilitated, and new ones were built to house athletes of the Pan Am games in 1987. After the games, the apartments were rented out to IUPUI students.

WASHINGTON (AP) — For Jonathan Peter Jackson, a direct relative of two prominent members of the Black Panther Party, revolutionary thought and family history have always been intertwined, particularly in August.

That’s the month in 1971 when his uncle, the famed Panther George Jackson, was killed during an uprising at San Quentin State Prison in California. A revolutionary whose words resonated inside and out of the prison walls, he was a published author, activist and radical thought leader.

To many, February is the month dedicated to celebrating Black Americans’ contributions to a country where they were once enslaved. But Black History Month has an alternative: It’s called Black August.

First celebrated in 1979, Black August was created to commemorate Jackson’s fight for Black liberation. Fifty-one years since his death, Black August is now a monthlong awareness campaign and celebration dedicated to Black freedom fighters, revolutionaries, radicals and political prisoners, both living and deceased.

The annual commemorations have been embraced by activists in the global Black Lives Matter movement, many of whom draw inspiration from freedom fighters like Jackson and his contemporaries.

“It’s important to do this now because a lot of people who were on the radical scene during that time period, relatives and non-relatives, who are like blood relatives, are entering their golden years,” said Jonathan Jackson, 51, of Fair Hill, Maryland.

George Jackson was 18 when he was arrested for robbing a gas station in Los Angeles in 1960. He was convicted and given an indeterminate sentence of one year to life and spent the next decade at California’s Soledad and San Quentin prisons, much of it in solitary confinement.

While incarcerated, Jackson began studying the words of revolutionary theoreticians such as Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, who advocated class awareness, challenging institutions and overturning capitalism through revolution. Founding leaders of the Panthers, including Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, were also inspired by Marx, Lenin and Chinese Communist leader Mao Tse-tung.

Jackson became a leader in the prisoner rights movement. His letters from prison to loved ones and supporters were compiled in the bestselling books “Soledad Brother” and “Blood in My Eye.”

Inspired by his words and frustrated with his situation, George’s younger brother, Jonathan, initiated a takeover at the Marin County Superior Court in California in 1970. He freed three inmates and held several courthouse staff hostage, in an attempt to demand the release of his brother and two other inmates, known as the Soledad Brothers, who were accused of killing a correctional officer. Jonathan was killed as he tried to escape, although it’s disputed whether he was killed in a courtroom shootout or fatally shot while driving away with hostages.

George was killed on Aug. 21, 1971, during a prison uprising. Inmates at San Quentin prison began formally commemorating his death in 1979, and from there, Black August was born.

“I certainly wish that more people knew about George’s writings (and) knew about my father’s sacrifice on that fateful day in August,” said Jonathan Jackson, who wrote the foreword to “Soledad Brother” in the early ’90s, shortly after graduating from college.

Monifa Bandele, a leader in the Movement for Black Lives, a national coalition of BLM groups, says Black August is about learning the vast history of Black revolutionary leaders. That includes figures such as Nat Turner, who is famous for leading a slave rebellion on a southern Virginia plantation in August 1831, and Marcus Garvey, the leader of the Pan-Africanism movement and born in August 1887. It includes events such as the Haitian Revolution in 1791 and the March on Washington in 1963, both taking place in the month of August.

“This idea that there was this one narrow way that Black people resisted oppression is really a myth that is dispelled by Black August,” said Bandele, who is also a member of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a group that raises awareness of political prisoners.

“And what we saw happen after the 1970s is that it grew outside of the (prison) walls because, as people who were incarcerated came home to their families and communities, they began to do community celebrations of Black August,” she added.

The ways of honoring this month also come in various forms and have evolved over the years. Some take part in fasting, while others use this time to study the ways of their predecessors. Weekly event series are also common during Black August, from reading groups to open mic nights.

Sankofa, a Black-owned cultural center and coffee shop in Washington that has served the D.C. community for nearly 25 years, wraps up a weekly open mic night in honor of Black August on Friday. The event has drawn local residents of all ages, many who have shared stories, read poetry and performed songs with the theme of rebellion.

“This month is all about resistance and celebrating our political prisoners and using all of the faculties that we have to free people who are in prison, let me say, unjustly,” emcee Ayinde Sekou said to the crowd during a recent event at Sankofa.

Jonathan Jackson, George’s nephew, also believes that there are largely systemic reasons as to why Black August, and his family history specifically, are not widely taught.

“It’s difficult sometimes for radicals who were not assassinated, per se, to enter into the popular discourse,” he said. “George and Jonathan were never victims. They took action, and they were killed taking that action, and sometimes that’s very difficult to understand for people who will accept a political assassination.”

Jackson hopes to honor his father’s and uncle’s legacy through documenting the knowledge of elders from that era, as a means of continuing the fight.

“We need to get those testimonies. … We need to understand what happened, so that we can improve on what they did. I think now is as good a time as any to get that done,” he said.