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Local business teaches Hoosiers about Indy’s Black music history

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A local business is giving Hoosiers the chance to learn more about Indy’s place in Black music history.

Indiana State University graduate Sampson Levingston began his own business, Through2Eyes Indiana, during the pandemic.

“We’re stuck inside the house and then we had the Black Lives Matter movement and we had so much going on in our country,” Levingston said. “I knew so much about our history and how rich and how beautiful and untold it was.”

Now, Levingston offers tours in 10 different Indianapolis neighborhoods.

His most popular Walk & Talk attractions are one- or two-hour sessions along Indiana Avenue, a vital hub for Black culture, history, and business since the 1890s.

“Sometimes, they’ve heard a little bit of Madam C.J. Walker, and they know Walker Theater, but they don’t know why it is where it is or how a theater so big could be in a neighborhood so small. Well, it wasn’t — it was huge, and from this neighborhood came artists from all across the world.”

Levingston says people feel at home when they hear the music and learn the history of the Hoosier state.

“The avenue doesn’t feel right without this music without these musicians so when I play music on the Ave, people feel like they are where they are supposed to be.”

Guests can also tour Carmel, Martindale, Historic Irvington, Butler-Tarkington, Mapleton-Fall Creek, and Fountain Square. There have been over 400 Walk & Talks in Indianapolis since Through2Eyes Indiana began on June 13, 2020.

Sampson not only hosts Walk & Talks — he also hosts “Hawk and Talk” for kids. He visits Indianapolis students to discuss the people, art, sports, music, and nature that shape our city.