In 1940, the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority developed 426 dwelling units in 33 buildings to provide modern, affordable housing for African Americans in Columbus. This new community, Poindexter Village, became one of only four pre-World War II examples of public housing in Ohio and the first in Columbus. The Ohio History Connection (OHC) and the James Preston Poindexter Foundation (JPPF) have saved two of the housing buildings to preserve and tell the story of a community that has not always been valued or remembered.
OHC/JPPF have partnered with 106 Group and artist/designer Seitu Jones to develop a cultural/interpretive plan for the Poindexter Village site to help management staff consider ideas, make choices, and set priorities about interpretation and programming. In addition to stories involving Poindexter Village, the Great Migration, Columbus’s wider Near East Side community, and African American cultural resources, the plan is defining an overall vision for 3,000 square feet of exhibits along with programs set in a Cultural Learning Center.
The Poindexter Village interpretive plan reveals and celebrates important place-specific stories in order to preserve both the physical site and the community’s memories. Exhibits will take a uniquely Afro-centric approach, inviting black artists to express a series of tales of the long African American history of the region, the Great Migration, the richness of black culture, community values, and African American cultural resources. The plan lays the foundation for the site’s transformation into a place where people can gather and share stories, helping to keep these places alive and growing for each new generations.
“The 106 Group brought a level of comfort and trust that allowed us all to go through this journey. The finished product took us in a direction that I wasn’t expecting and I appreciate the fresh and nontraditional recommendations.”
—Ohio History Connection Regional Site Coordinator