Black History, Sharp End

I never get tired of this

One of the best things that happened in Columbia was when Sharp End was marked. Here’s a 2015 video about the marking of this economic and social heart of Columbia, which was lost due to urban renewal and some misguided policies.

I never get tired of watching this video about Sharp End, an area of Fifth and Sixth Street and Walnut Street!

The Sharp End Heritage Committee should be lauded over and over. Thanks to all who made this happen including James Whitt, Larry Monroe, Sheon Williams, Kenny Green, Mary Beth Brown, Mike Brooks.

I’m sure I’m many names. Fill me in!

Black History

Sharp End highlighted in August Columbia Business Times

This article by Brandon Hoops includes historic photos and the insights of Jim Whitt, Ed Tibbs, Lorenzo Lawson, Bill Thompson and Georgia Porter.

It’s headlined A Fresh Memory of Sharp End, and offers some interesting commentary on the times and reality that lead to the urban renewal in Columbia that swept aside that vibrant black community.

 

Areas, Black History

Lost Black history spotlighted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Black history will be the brought back to life on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 with the unveiling of a marker to highlight a place that once existed — Sharp End — will be highlighted. From 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., members of the Sharp End Heritage Commission and city and state officials will mark the unveiling of a historic marker near the REDI offices on Walnut Street.

This once vibrant entrepreneurial area filled with black-owned businesses including barber shops, restaurants, taverns and other firms filled the 500 block of East Walnut Street, now home to the Columbia Post Office and a city parking garage, according to this May 17, 2015 article by Rudi Keller in the Columbia Tribune.

Why is this important?

This site ColumbiaHistoricHomes.com stems from a desire to save and reveal Columbia’s history. Once a person dies, his or her life story can fade. But when there’s a building, that story can be sometimes be found again. For example, few people know that an early woman journalist once lived in the house at 121 West Boulevard North — or that she’d nearly been given up to a wealthy Boonville, Missouri family.

That’s why Tuesday’s event is so important. It will bring back to life history and lives that can’t be highlighted through the buildings and homes, which are all now gone, except for a few notable exceptions, such as J.W. “Blind” Boone’s home, Second Baptist Church and St. Paul’s Church. The history of these buildings is highlighted in this National Register of Historic Places document.

Looking for more of Columbia’s black history? Here are several links:

Black History Lessons by Kevin Walsh, Inside Columbia, February 2015.

Interested in doing your own sleuthing on black history? I can’t wait to dig into this collection at the State Historic Society: Boone County Black Archives Collection. It includes information on the 1923 lynching.

Looking for a great read? Here’s a review of Gary Kremer’s recent book, “Race and Meaning.”

As for me, I’ll be at the event on Tuesday, when Columbia marks history that I’m grateful didn’t fade once the buildings were gone.