An Ode to Columbus’s Black Enclaves

In the heart of downtown Columbus, at the intersection of West 10th and Front Avenue, lies an old brick building. At first glance, one might notice the faded yellow and white Nehi Cola sign, or the green accented windows surrounding the building’s perimeter, but there is more to this building than meets the eye.

As its architecture and location suggest, this old building was once a part of the famous Kinfolk’s Corner, one of Columbus’s former Black enclaves.

Kinfolk’s Corner was an economic hub for Columbus and Alabama residents as well as a place for people to gather, talk, and be in community with one another, according to The Columbus Black History Museum and Archives.

The term “Black enclave” is often used in reference to neighborhoods, but Black enclaves are more than places of residence. Black enclaves are Black liberatory spaces, or areas in which Black people can exist freely without any form of oppressive resistance.

Barbershops, grocery stores, hair salons, and even backyards are all considered Black enclaves because they serve as places of community. These spaces were created for Black people by Black people to connect with and establish a community of their own.

You can still find a few Black enclaves in and around the Columbus area. Their existence serves as a reminder of the importance and necessity of Black spaces and their benefit to the Black community. Here are a few digital and physical black Columbus enclaves that you can visit and experience for yourself:

Kinfolx Co.:

Founded by Sherricka Day, Kinfolx Co. is a digital enclave brought to life through the Facebook platform. Kinfolx Co. allows users to talk, laugh, and interact with each other, and as well as learn more about the history of the original Kinfolk’s Corner.

“Kinfolks Corner” plaque

St. James AME Church

    Located at 1002 6th Avenue, St. James has over 100 years of history. Founded in 1863, this church continues to be a place of harmonic gathering for Columbus’s Black community by having weekly worship service, community events, and revivals.

Historic Downtown

Home to places such as The Liberty Theater, Ma Rainey House, Claflin School, Mildred L. Terry Library, Historic Downtown is  one giant enclave that has many creative and educational spaces.