blk ivy

Blk Ivy: A thrift store and museum of Black nostalgia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An old garage in West Philadelphia has been gutted and transformed into a new clothing store. But it’s also a museum of sorts paying tribute to the struggle for social justice.

Nestled near the corner of 36th Street and Lancaster Avenue in West Philadelphia, you can hear the vintage vinyl playing before stepping through the door.

And once inside Blk Ivy, pictures on the wall and the racks of clothing take you back in time.

“This jacket that I picked up in Arkansas, this is a 1961 Lees denim jacket,” Kimberly McGlonn, the store owner, said.

She was a classroom teacher for 20 years and opened the unique experiment two weeks ago.

Blk Ivy is a shoppable museum stocked full of items associated with the fashion of the civil rights movement.

“They’re going to see fashion that’s thrifted and that’s in alignment with the fashion of the 50s, 60s, and 70s,” McGlonn said, “and then, they’ll see vintage pieces that also tell the same story.”

McGlonn curated and collected the pieces from across the country.

“Whenever I’m traveling, I actually pack an extra suitcase to pick up things,” she said.

You will also find books detailing the journeys of activism, a rotary phone in the dressing room and a 1959 Remington typewriter.


“Letters from Birmingham jail by MLK, these were pieces first written by hand and then typed,” McGlonn said.

Black and white photos taken four blocks away capture the moment MLK led a protest with 10,000 people in 1965.

“Even the photography is going to get you to remember the history of Philadelphia, particularly through the lens of MLK’s involvement,” McGlonn said.

She says this store is a way for people to take home a unique piece of clothing and a way to pay honor and

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