May 9, 2007

Expert Tailoring Since 1949

Filed under: Downtown, Historic District, Markers, & Flags — lessie @ 4:18 pm

I wish the tailor sign weren’t fuzzy, but other than that, I like this picture. Anderson Tailor Shop — the sole proprietorship that I can see, actually on East Church. 

The picture is taken standing in the middle of East Church Street, which isn’t really a street anymore. It runs from Main into a municipal parking lot, where city vehicles (i.e., rows and rows of police cars and the SWAT van) and high-end civilvan vehicles (i.e., sports cars, sedans, and the occasional motorbike, belonging to residents of nearby rennovated loft apartments) rest quietly in a tree-lined, white-grided sea of asphalt. Savy citizens know turning onto East Church and speeding through the parking lot is a short cut to Fant and Rivers Streets — which I learned from observation one Saturday night, while looking for good photo angles.

East Church is quietly famous in Anderson, not so quietly in the African-American community. A beleagured historical marker, placed in what used to be the center of East Church, now a median in the parking lot, memorializes East Church’s history. It was the center of the African-American business community at the beginning of the 20th Century, a time when segregation marginalized black people and spurred them to succeed in spite of overt oppression.

The momument names seven black pioneers whose businesses thrived on East Church from 1907 to 1980. The epitaph reads: What was once can never be again; records will show we were here.  Dr. N.A. Jenkins 1907 to 1922, M.D.; Dr. Moses Jenkins, Pharmist, 1907 to 1920; Stewart Anderson, Merchant, 1913 to 1925; E.J. Thomas, Tailor, 1918 to 1977; W.I. Peek, Mortician, 1919 to 1957; Fred W. Jackson, Mortician, 1934 to 1941; Arfleton Adger, Taxicab, 1948 to 1977.

I wonder…is Johnny Williford of the Anderson Tailor Shop since 1949 also a black pioneer? Some additional photos are here.


1 Comment »

  1. Thanks for the history lesson. And I love the colors in your pic!

    Comment by Renee Mass — May 9, 2007 @ 4:26 pm

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