History of Jackson Ward

Jackson Ward is one of Richmond's most valuable and significant neighborhoods. Nicknamed the "Harlem of the South" because of its strong African-American heritage and culture, the people of Jackson Ward in the early 20th century created a self-sustaining economy that made the area famous as the "Black Wall Street", alive with restaurants, theaters, and clubs. The area was a center for black enterprise and entertainment from the early 1920's to the late 1940's. Each year, the neighborhood hosts the Second Street Festival to celebrate the history and vitality of the time.

The historic district of Jackson Ward is located in the heart of Metro Richmond and boasts more cast iron work than any neighborhood outside of New Orleans. The National Register inventory lists more than 600 significant historic structures in the neighborhood. Many homes have been restored and many more major revitalization efforts are underway. Check out the outline of some of the major renovations in our area.

Jackson Ward was also home to Maggie Lena Walker, the first woman bank president. She founded Consolidated Bank & Trust, the oldest survivng black-operated bank in the United States whose main branch is still located in Jackson Ward at 1st and Marshall Streets. The area has many historic and unique homes that range from the early to late 1800's. Feel free to take a visual walking tour down the streets of the neighborhood.

If you are near the corner of Adams and Leigh Sts., you can't miss the 9 foot statue of another Jackson Ward legend, the famous Richmonder, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson who was born in Jackson Ward. The statue is a tribute to this dancing legend.

Renovation and preservation are happening all over Jackson Ward. The Dairy on Marshall Street has been made into apartments, the W.W. Browne House, built in 1845, has been renovated on West Jackson Street, and across from it, Tucker Cottage has found a new home and has been restored in a neighborhood that is showing great revitalization efforts with the Jackson Commons project.

The Jackson Ward community is coming back, and the Historic Jackson Ward Association works to bring people together in order to make progress happen while maintaining the significant historical assets that make our community what it is. The residents also get together throughout the year to have fun, build community spirit, and bond as a group. Our monthly meetings are held the third Tuesday of every other month at 501 N. 2nd Street beginning at 6:00 pm. If you have any questions, please contact us at hjwassociation@gmail.com.

Come join us!