At a July 31 event featuring leaders of Bloomington's Black business community and city officials, the Chamber led a ceremony to install an Indiana historical market in Peoples Park. The maker commemorates the Black Market, a Black-owned business that was firebombed in 1968.
This ends a process that officially began in the summer of 2019 with an application to the Indiana Historical Bureau, in partnership with the Chamber's Black-Owned Business Affiliate Group and the City of Bloomington.
Peoples Park was originally the location of the Black Market in Bloomington, opened by Rollo Turner in 1968 on land owned by Larry Canada, a businessman and antiwar activist. This was a peaceful gathering place for citizens of Bloomington as well as Indiana University students where LPs, books, artwork, and African imports were sold. On December 26th, 1968, the Black Market was firebombed by the local members of the KKK. Ultimately, the Market was forced to close after all inventory was lost. Not long after, the building that housed the Black Market was razed, leaving an empty plot of land. In the early 1970’s, Indiana University students started plantings flowers and vegetation in the area, eventually naming it Peoples Park in honor of a park at UC-Berkeley.
Click here to watch a video of the event.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy