From early black settlements of the 1820s, to stops in Indianapolis along the Underground Railroad, African Americans have played an essential role in the growth of the city. The Indiana Avenue District was the commercial and social hub of black Indianapolis where some of the hottest jazz spots in the Midwest drew the likes of Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. They were astounded by the talent they found here. Today that music heritage is alive at a variety of clubs. The district offers art galleries, artist studios, historic attractions, unique restaurants, museums, parks and public art.