INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Madame Walker’s theater still stands on Indiana Avenue, even after 95 years. And a weekend of events will mark this milestone, with the Grammy-winning artist and Indy native Babyface kicking things off.
The Walker Theater opened its doors eight years after Madame Walker’s death. And today it is the last black-owned building on historic Indiana Ave. Representatives say his legacy is strong and important to stick to.
If you could access the foundation, you would find that this building has 95 years of history to tell. Opened to create a safe entertainment space for the Black Hoosiers, it remains a staple in the heart of the city.
“His vision was born because he was denied access to another theater. Without having to pay a black tax. And that’s when she decided she was going to build something for black people,” said Kristian Stricklen, president of the Walker Legacy Center.
The acts of entertainment that have gone through it have helped shape his legacy. From Ella Fitzgerald and Wes Montgomery of the past to more modern artists like Mike Epps and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds.
“Now, given that it’s black music month, and being able to highlight the local black artist and the national artist, who are also from Indianapolis like Kenneth Babyface” Edmunds. It’s just an incredible moment and opportunity,” Stricklen said.
“He’s very important. Not just for black history but for Indiana history. History as a whole,” Stricklen said. we do everything we can to preserve it.
Although Stricklen is now president, she grew up knowing the value of the Walker Theater by visiting and hearing her grandmother’s stories. She is now doing her part to keep history alive.
“It is our ultimate goal as Legacy Center to elevate his legacy.”