INDIANAPOLIS – Hundreds of times, Sampson Levingston has walked Indiana Avenue. Rain, sleet, snow or shine, Levingston is hitting the pavement sharing Indianapolis’ Black history and so far more than 2,000 Hoosiers and tourists alike have joined him.
“Walk and talk — it’s so simple but it ends up having so much meaning when you do it in a way that allows people to engage,” Levingston said standing on Indiana Avenue.
The 26-year-old’s first walk and talk was during the racial injustice protests in the summer of 2020. He said he wanted to bring people together and educate them on often untold stories. Not long after that, he turned it into his full-time job and started the tour company called “Through 2 Eyes.”
“My connection to Indiana history is the strongest because it’s right here that people that look like me were creating a future for themselves and that’s kind of what I’m trying to do,” Levingston said as he took WRTV down Indiana Avenue.
So far, he’s led 210 tours and says Indiana Avenue is his favorite. But the historic street is not the only place he brings groups on tours. Levingston also takes groups through various Indianapolis neighborhoods rich with Black history, including Irvington and Martindale. He even travels around the state, sharing stories there on social media.
“There’s no way you could ever, ever, ever tell Indianapolis’ history story and overlook Black people and their contributions to the city, right? We’ve been here since the city started so if you’re going to tell a story of Indianapolis, you’re going to have to celebrate the Black history,” Levingston said.
A part of Levingston’s “why” behind his passion dates back to playing football at Indiana State.
“I had a football coach; I played football in college he used to say, 'be where your feet are' — and so if you’re present in your moment and you like history, then you look for the history right under your feet,” Levingston said.
Black history month or not, the history buff encourages Hoosiers to take the time to learn their city and all its history.
“Whether you’re Black, white, gay, trans doesn’t matter; your history is right here so the more that you celebrate it the more that you educate others on it,” Levingston said.
And Sampson’s mission is far from over.
“We look at the City of Indianapolis and we have a lot more than 2,000 people, so I’m comfortable right here waiting until I walk and talk the whole city.”
To find Through2Eyes tour dates or learn more about Levingston’s guided tours, click here.