Columbus Neighborhoods: King-Lincoln

Exterior of renovated King-Lincoln Theatre

A sign of things to come? The exterior of renovated King-Lincoln Theatre

“They know it used to be great.”

So begins the latest episode of WOSU’s documentary series Columbus Neighborhoods.

The “it” refers to the King-Lincoln neighborhood in Columbus, which is also known as Bronzeville, NoBo (North of Broad Street), the Blackberry Patch, Mount Vernon, the Near East Side, and so on.

When we talked to people who lived in the area during its prime, they fondly recalled local grocers that kept children employed and a place where fresh produce was fully stocked. They wistfully remembered the thriving theater/nightclub district where jazz would flow through the streets like rainwater.

The construction of Interstates 70 and 71, along with the exodus of the inner-city population to the suburbs, changed all of that.

The roads cut through the hearts of the mostly African-American community on the city’s Near East side. Decades of failed experiments and broken promises have failed to revive the neighborhood back to its former glory, but, as King-Lincoln demonstrates, the area has much to celebrate, and than a few reasons to be optimistic.

One needs only to examine the woodcarvings of Elijah Pierce, to admire the murals by Aminah Robinson, the paintings of Roman Johnson and Emerson Burkhart (linked together in this famous image) to realize how rich the neighborhood is.

And despite the freeways that separated the Near East Side from the rest of the city, the renovation of Lincoln Theatre may be a sign of the community’s rebirth.

King-Lincoln – the place – earned its spot among the more “celebrated” neighborhoods. King-Lincoln, the documentary, gives it its proper spotlight.

Air dates:
4/19, 9:00 pm WOSU TV
4/20,  3:00 am WOSU TV
4/20, 9:00 pm WOSU PLUS
4/22, 10:30 pm WOSU TV
4/24, 5:00 pm WOSU TV

  • Patricia Clark

    Thank you for the brilliant spot light that you shined on my son Abraxas – Jeff was a true angel for a brief while here on planet earth. His spirit lives on through his many art works and wonderful memories that he left us – that was his wish – to be immoralized through his work. Bless you