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Harrison Center spotlights Martindale-Brightwood community ‘Greatriarchs’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Matriarchs are often the glue that holds families together, but it’s those same people that often hold communities together. In that case, the Harrison Center calls them Greatriarchs.

Greatriachs are those long term people in the community, who you can always count on for a smile, and a wave. This is a chance for not only the neighborhood to know them, but the entire city.

The faces posted along 16th near Yandes have plenty of stories to tell. They are the Greatriarchs of the Martindale-Brightwood and Hillside neighborhoods.

“Oh yeah I love being a Greatriarch,” Pearl Carter said.

She advocates for senior citizens and is a member of the neighborhood association. She shares the Greatriarch title with her late mother Miss Jimmie Luton.

“It was an honor because nothing like that had ever happened,” Carter said.

The Harrison Center came up with the concept for Greatriarchs in 2018 as a way to spotlight long term community members who’ve left their mark, like Terri Taylor.

“We were trying to save our children at the same time,” Taylor said.

Either through a warm smile, mentoring teens, and organizing fundraisers.

“We’d order reel to reel films of Black history. Let them know the history that they wouldn’t be learning in school,” Taylor said.

Mattie Kates, known for her quilts and sewing is the latest one to be added to a growing list. Yandes is where she grew up and raised her family.

“When our kids were a little, when dinner was over everyone was sitting on the porch. The kids were in the middle of the street ripping and racing,” Mattie Kates.

She said back then the community was stronger. Although there’s little left, she remembers what was.

“There’s only eight original houses on the 1600 block. When I was a kid from 16th street, really from 13th and Yandes to 22nd and Yandes, everybody knew everybody’s kids,” Kates said.

These women are fulfilling their duty on earth and their duty to community. And are now being given their roses while they can still smell them.

Several men are also part of the list of Greatriarchs.