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When downtown places refused to serve people of color, local people built their own thriving shops.

By the 1930s, the Birdsell and Liston streets area emerged as the commercial and cultural center of the growing African-American community. The business district included three hotels, three groceries, two funeral homes, three pool halls and other businesses. Private homes - both single family and apartments - as well as Linden School, a number of churches and civic institutions such as the Prince Hall Masons lodge called the neighborhood home. Enlarged and energized by the Second Great Migration of the 1940s, the business district offered many services within walking distance of African Americans’ homes in this tight-knit area. Some of the businesses located here were:
• The Liston Hotel
• Pigues Hotel
• Wilders Hotel
• Comers Grocery/Mr. Plump's Grocery
• Haynes Funeral Home
• Higgins Funeral Home
• Wiley's Pool Hall/Hank’s pool hall/Blanton’s pool hall
• Uncle Bills (Big house) Restaurant
• Saunders Ice Cream and Ice
• Adolf Howard's Dry Cleaning
• Willis Grocery
• A gas station
• A haberdashery
Civil Rights Heritage Center. African American Landmark Tour. 2013. .