Richmond mayor declares April 17 as Giles B. Jackson Day, honoring Jackson Ward’s 150th anniversary

Jackson Ward community celebrates 150th anniversary

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Community members, lawmakers and Richmond’s mayor are kicking off a yearlong celebration to commemorate Jackson Ward’s 150th anniversary with a new holiday.

During Saturday’s event, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney will officially declare April 17 as Giles B. Jackson Day. On this day in 1871, the City of Richmond established the sixth district known as Jackson Ward.

An area defined by redlining, gerrymandering and gentrification evolved into a resilient community known as “Little Africa,” “Harlem of the South” and “Black Wall Street.” Now, it’s known as the the birthplace of Black entrepreneurship.

Jackson, who died in 1924 at the age of 72, was the first African American to practice law before the Supreme Court of Virginia. He also helped organize the Southern Negro Business League, which promoted economic advancement for Black businesses and communities.

It was rumored the neighborhood was named after Jackson, but a historical landmark honoring the attorney states the name first appeared during his childhood.

Saturday’s celebration will highlight the origins of Jackson Ward, the nation’s first officially registered historic Black urban neighborhood.

The event, which requires pre-registration due to COVID-19 protocols, will feature trolley cars, food trucks, art activities and more than a dozen live projections from 6-10 p.m.

Community members who did not pre-register are still welcome to stroll the neighborhood, support Black-owned businesses and view the illumination show.

For more information on Saturday’s event, the history of Jackson Ward and Giles B. Jackson’s legacy, visit this website.

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