Indianapolis tour guide shows off the city’s black history

13News presenters joined tour guide Sampson Levingston on tours around Indianapolis to learn more about Circle City’s often overlooked black history.

INDIANAPOLIS — This year, WTHR is recognizing Black History Month by celebrating our city’s diversity — to inform, inspire and positively impact the public.

Indianapolis is full of black stories and people unknowingly pass by every day. Our 13News presenters joined tour guide Sampson Levingston from Through2Eyes Indiana. He leads tours around Indianapolis to learn about Circle City’s often overlooked black history.

Jalea Brooks, Angela Buchman, Carlos Diaz, Felicia Lawrence, Chuck Lofton, Julia Moffitt and Scott Swan visited eight historic sites around Indianapolis:

  1. St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church
  2. St. Rita Catholic Church
  3. Bethel AME Church
  4. Neighborhood Ransom Place
  5. 500 block of Indiana Avenue
  6. Jazz master mural
  7. Senate Avenue YMCA
  8. Lockefield Gardens

Throughout the month, our team will be sharing what they’ve learned after walking the historic tours with Levingston. Watch for their individual thoughts as these stories air in February, and check back here for summaries of each of the historic sites.

St. Rita Catholic Church

“My trip on WTHR’s Black History Month tour took Anne Marie Tiernon and I to the historic St. Rita Catholic Church on Dr. Andrew J. Brown Avenue. I had walked past this beautiful church for years, but I didn’t know about its history and importance to the black community in town.

Our guide, Sampson Levingston, said that in 1919 the church – an extension of St. Bridget’s Catholic Church – began meeting in a Knights of Columbus chapel and, after a series of changes, moved at its current location in 1958.

Over the years the church has hosted a school and weekly dances which have attracted hundreds of people.

Even though the neighborhood has changed, the church continues. It still offers weekly worship services, but under the direction of Parish Life Coordinator, Sister Gail Trippett. It also offers other outreach ministries, from courses on breaking the cycle of poverty to helping its participants through the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

Read Chuck’s full reflection on his time on the tour here.