Black Market Friday

A vendor sells Afrocentric earrings and bags at Black Market Friday in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. Feb. 28, 2014
A vendor sells Afrocentric earrings and bags at Black Market Friday in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. Feb. 28, 2014

By Charnay Pickett

On the last day of Black History Month, The Indiana University Black Graduate Student Association held its annual Black Market Friday. This event commemorates the physical market that used to sit on the corner of Kirkwood and Dunn. The Black Market used to be where People’s Park now sits across the street from Kilroy’s.

Black vendors from the Bloomington community sold African inspired products and products in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

In the fall of 1968, graduate student Clarence “Rollo” Turner and other African-American students and faculty members created the Black Market . They sold items made in Africa or by African-Americans. The store served as a meeting place and gathering area for the Black community. On December 26, 1968, the Black Market was bombed and burned to the ground by members of the KKK. The store was never rebuilt.

At the commemoration event, there were vendors that sold Christmas cards, journals and stationaries with depictions of African-Americans on the cover. Hair products, jewelry and household items were also for sale at Black Market Friday.

The Black community in Bloomington might be small, but events like this show that when the community comes together, it grows.

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