Ninth Street in downtown Little Rock was once known as the central hub of African American retailing and commercial services in the city. It was nicknamed "The Line."
Prominent black firms in the area included Miller-Elston Mortuary, Roger's Shoe Shop, the Burger Bar, the local NAACP and State Press offices, United Friends Mortuaries, the Gem Theater, La Girls Beauty Shop, Flying Chicken Cafe, New Look Shine Parlor, Honeycutt Confectioners, Majestic Liquor Store and Tavern, Red's Liquor Store, Red's Pool Hall, Dr. D. Young's Drug Store, Angel's Hot Dog Stand, Triple King Bar-B-Q, Walker's Cafe, and the Chat n Chew.
Other landmarks included Tobarian Hall, the Magnolia Ballroom, AF and AM, and Saint James Grand Lodge. Nightclubs in the neighborhood included the Safari Room, Century Billiard and Recreation Parlor, the Diplomatic Club, and the Flamingo Club. Several churches were also located there: Bethel A.M.E., Eastern Star, and the Congregationalist.
Many Ninth Street businesses were relocated in the 1960s with the construction of the Wilbur D. Mills Freeway that cut through the neighborhood and during the Central Little Rock Urban Renewal Project. Three blocks on the north side of Ninth Street west of Broadway survived, as did some businesses on the south side.
Main Street also took some business away as integration took hold. The perception of high crime in the neighborhood and Ninth's transformation into a one-way thoroughfare also kept some people from patronizing the street in the 1970s.
- Leroy Donald, "No More 'Down on the Line,'" Arkansas Gazette, October 9, 1977.