(Incubator for Pioneers in Education, Civil Rights, and Religious Leadership)
In the semi-rural northeastern section of the city of Montgomery lies, almost hidden from view, a predominantly Black community called Madison Park. The name honors the contributions and memory of the community's founder, pioneer land developer, Eli Madison. Madison Park comprises approximately 2,000 acres of land, whose homes, people and products, all owe their existence to the pioneering efforts of Eli Madison.
Eli Madison was a man with early vision and foresight. He envisioned a community of residents who would make sacrifices and work industriously to develop a self-sufficient community during a time when most African Americans depended upon sharecropping to provide for their families and their futures. Eli Madison had a vision based on independent instincts and enterprising determination.
Through his individual efforts and support from family and neighbors, Eli Madison created a neighborhood with the ability to sustain itself. Available records indicate that Madison Park had businesses which produced row crops, table vegetables, grist mills, sawmills and other necessities of life in an isolated community.
From this humble start, Madison Park developed into a desirable community of dedicated and committed residents. Their concerns for education led to the establishment of one of the first Julius Rosenwald schools in Montgomery County. Several churches were later established and some still exist.
Through the years, Madison Park added to its efforts to provide for basic needs, as well as creature comforts for its residents. Along this line, a swimming pool and a ball park were created. Many other recreational facilities were established to the pleasure of both young and more mature residents.
Madison Park, over the years, has produced some of Montgomery's most outstanding and successful citizens and leaders. These leaders have taken positions of service covering a broad spectrum of responsibilities. The sixth generation of descendants of Eli Madison have carried on his legacy as pioneers in their own right. In education, medicine, religion and law, Madison's descendants have been leaders of the highest order. The legacy of Eli Madison lives through each descendent generation, which makes a mark for progress in today's society.
Today, Madison Park is a successful and thriving community. The spirit and determination which was created by Eli Madison still exists. Especially is this true as its residents fight to gain recognition as a contributing part of the city of Montgomery. Community activists are regular petitioners at City Council and other governmental agencies pressing the need for recognition and respect for Madison Park. The story of Madison Park is one that all of Montgomery should learn to appreciate.