INDIANAPOLIS — In the Ransom Place neighborhood, the neighborhood association is celebrating the history of the people who live there by forever placing their names and bricks in a commemorative park just north of Indiana Avenue.
"We did this campaign a few years ago and we started with just like neighborhood folks," said Candyce Hawkins. She's the President of the Ransom Place Neighborhood Association and has lived in the neighborhood for all 33 years of her life. Hawkins already has her name on a brick that was installed a few years ago.
"I am a third-generation Ransom Place resident. I lived here before it was even coined the name Ransom Place," Hawkins said.
The history in this neighborhood runs deep, once home to the epicenter of Black culture and business in Indianapolis. "Freeman Ransom actually lived in the house that I grew up in where my parents live in. Freeman Ransom is Madam CJ Walker's lawyer," said Hawkins.
Much of the Ransom Place and Indiana Avenue area was bulldozed to make way for the IUPUI campus, which sits just across the street from the small park where bricks will tell a story. "Making it something that people in the neighborhood could come to, to visit, to honor people that have passed or people that maybe have moved. We're just trying to honor the Indiana Avenue corridor, really," Hawkins said.
Hawkins is hoping the residents, organizations, and businesses that call Ransom Place and Indiana Avenue their original home will purchase a brick and have their name forever imprinted on the changing neighborhood.
"Not only is it Black history, but another tag would be Indianapolis History. We are extremely close to downtown. We are extremely close to the Avenue. A lot of the people again, worked and played on the Avenue that lived in this neighborhood previously. They worked, they had families, they were doing everything we are doing now, it just was obviously in a different time," said Hawkins.
Any person, organization and even business are eligible to put their name on a brick. The bricks are $75 and the process will go to help maintain the park and other common areas in the neighborhood. The Ransom Place Neighborhood Association is hoping to get orders completed by mid-March 2021. You can learn more here: https://www.ransom.place/