Gimbels Department Store was a part of the Gimbels chain of department stores from 1914 to the late 1980s. In 1935, the store saw protesters picketing the store for not hiring African Americans.


  • Women protesting Gimbels Department Store for refusing to hire black women.
    Women protesting Gimbels Department Store for refusing to hire black women.

Gimbels was a chain of department stores throughout the United States. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1914, Gimbels Department Store was opened to the public. The store was considered a "flagship" store and received nationwide attention

However, in the early 1930s, as racial tensions began increasing throughout the nation, it was discovered that the store refused to hire African American women. In 1935, a protest was held by young, African American women. They picketed the store wearing signs that called the store "UN-AMERICAN" and exposed the truth about the stores hiring policies. 

In 1997, the store, now called the Heinz 57 Center after Gimbels went out of business in the late 1980s, was added to the list of historic landmarks by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

Ferry, John William. A History of the Department Store. New York: The MacMillian Company, 1960.