Pension Row is representative of many small town African American neighborhoods. Once a thriving community with its own schools, churches, businesses, lodges, and recreation areas, it has been a part of Madison since Madison was incorporated in 1869. for much of the 19th and 20th centuries, it was home to most of Madison's black citizens, including businessmen, teachers, preachers, farmers, housekeepers, and workers in the town's gins and warehouses. The narrow streets, designed for horse-drawn carts, and the hedges, plantings, and trees help to define a strong sense of place, but the historic buildings are rapidly disappearing.
Many dilapidated houses were demolished in the 1990s, and younger residents have moved away. Pension Row remains home to a small population, many of whom have lived here for generations. It has two historic churches: St. Peter United Methodist Church, founded in 1887, and St. Elizabeth Cumberland Presbyterian Church, founded in 1910. both continue to draw worshippers from throughout western Madison County.