Black Women in Indiana History: Virtue and Aletra Hampton

Meet Virtue and Aletra Hampton talented musicians and Indianapolis natives.

As we all know, February is Black History Month which has us looking back on some of the amazing Black women we’ve featured in past stories on Indy Maven. By continuing to share their stories, we celebrate these women and shine a spotlight on their achievements. 

LIke the incredible Hampton sisters who Will Higgins wrote about in his story, “The Badass Women of Crown Hill Cemetary”—originally published in October 2019.

Here’s an excerpt:

Two of these women are Virtue and Aletra Hampton. Virtue and Aletra were talented musicians and Indianapolis natives.

The Hampton family was surely Indianapolis’ most celebrated musical family. Parents Clark and Laura, and their 12 children, became a fixture in Indianapolis’ jazz clubs along Indiana Avenue. In the 1940s, when most of their brothers were drafted into the military, sisters Aletra, Virtue, Carmelita, and Dawn formed the rhythm and blues group known as the Hampton Sisters. They split up in the 1950s, with Dawn moving to New York to pursue cabaret and Carmelita taking a post office job in Chicago.

Aletra, who played piano and sang, and Virtue, a bassist, remained in Indy. They performed together until 2006. Virtue died in January 2007, and Aletra 10 months later.

Read the full story here.

Ellie Allen is Indy Maven’s Editorial Intern.


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