The Indianapolis Ghetto Story
One of the biggest cities in the Midwest and known locally as Naptown, the story of the Indianapolis ghetto and the city’s urban communities tells how Indiana’s largest city became a mecca for African-Americans in the state and in the Midwest.
Currently, Indianapolis is one of the most thriving and up and coming cities in the United States with the average income of the Indianapolis’ metropolitan being well over $50,000, together with having over 44,000 employers.
Unfortunately, Marion County has one of the highest poverty rates in the state, as the Indianapolis ghetto is located in the heart of Indiana’s capital city.
At 21%, the concentration of the poverty seems to be located on the city’s Near East Side between Rural-Keystone and Sherman, including sections of Post Road and Arlington, as well as the West Side from the Crown Hill area to Haughville.
With African-Americans making about 28% of the 930,000 residents living in Marion County, the majority of the communities that seems to lack the most resources is in the Indianapolis ghetto neighborhoods of the city, with a few of the areas being mix with white, black, and Latino families.
The beginning of the community was originally based around Indiana Avenue, which at one time was one of Indiana’s most thriving communities and famously known for black businesses and entrepreneurs like the country’s first black female millionaire, Madame CJ Walker.
After the community of Indiana Avenue was created and well developed, the black community began to expand into other neighborhoods like Brightwood along 25th street and into specific West Side neighborhoods that were not that far away from Indiana Avenue.
With the majority of the black families living in communities that were near downtown Indianapolis, the black population slowly moved further away from the city’s center into East Side communities like the Meadows or Devington, as well as Crown Hill and other West Side neighborhoods.
By the 1980s and 1990s, when people began leaving older and traditional black communities of the West and East sides, many relocated as far as Post Road on the East Side and High School Road on the West Side, while today the movement of people is leading people into the North Side in areas like Ditch Road.
The streets of the Indianapolis ghetto at one time may have been influenced by Gary, Indiana or the city of Chicago, but today the streets are more influenced by Indianapolis’ on culture.
The city has legendary areas on the East Side between 10th Street and 46th Street, like the DimeLife, BrookSide, GangstaVille, or ‘hoods around Arlington, while the West Side is known for the Crown Hill section with Kenwood and the 4th Ward, Harding Street, Haughville, or MLK’s 3rd Ward and LandLife.
The other parts of the Naptown are a small area on the North Side mostly around 71st and Michigan, and the old projects of the South Side like the GraveYard, Zooneyville, or Brick City.
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.