(BLACK PR WIRE) -- Richmond, Virginia is a vibrant city chock full of African American history especially from the Historic Jackson Ward neighborhood, the revered hub of "black capitalism." African American tennis great Arthur Ashe hailed from Richmond as well as preeminent tap dance performer and film star Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Richmond, Virginia is a city of astounding history and genteel class.
Famed English explorer John Smith was said to have reached what is now downtown Richmond by way of the James River in June of 1607. Now, four hundred years later the city boasts over 900 restaurants, a plethora of fine hotels, museums and colleges and a cultural history detailing the presence of some of the most exceptional black Americans who ever lived. While in Richmond you may want to take the African American Heritage Walking Tour hosted by The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.
Jackson Ward, a historic neighborhood rich in African American history was once called the "Wall Street of Black America." After the Civil War, previously free blacks joined free slaves and their descendants to create a thriving African American business community. Jackson Ward leaders included John Mitchell, Jr. editor of the "Richmond Planet," a black newspaper and Maggie L. Walker the first woman in the United States to found a bank. As the daughter of a former slave, Walker's successes offered tangible improvements in the lives of African Americans and women. Her former home in Jackson Ward is now recognized as a National Historic Site operated by the National Park Service.
Also once called the "Harlem of the South" venues within Jackson Ward were frequented by such legends as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, James Brown and of course Bill "Bojangles" Robinson himself. The Greek revival and Italianate style architecture prevalent in this neighborhood tend to fascinate visitors to Richmond, unaccustomed to the rich history expressed through grand structural design.
There are so many outstanding cities in this nation, all with their own fascinating story to tell. Richmond, Virginia is a remarkable place with a rich African American history going back hundreds of years. These stories and strong voices paved the way for generations of great black Americans to follow.