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Black people have always been a part of Indianapolis- we were here when it was founded and we will be here far into the future.

-- Richard Pierce

 

 

Black history has a long presence in Indianapolis, and makes up the very fabric of the city. Six years after the founding of Indianapolis, out of the 1,066 total residents 55 were African American (source). There is no history of Indianapolis without Indianapolis’ vibrant and diverse Black population.

 

The Black History, Indianapolis History digital archive owes its existence to the dedication of the Indianapolis community to preserve and share family history. Thanks to a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) between 2018 and 2019, seven community cultural heritage preservation events were held at Indianapolis Public Library branches around the city. These Scan-A-Thons invited community members to bring family photos and memorabilia to be scanned, recorded, and made publicly available in the Black History, Indianapolis History digital archive by Indianapolis Public Library staff.  The Indianapolis Public Library plans to continue to host Scan-A-Thons at branches and in the greater community. If you would be interested in learning more, please contact digitalindy@indypl.org.

 

People of interest in this collection include Elder Watson DiggsDr. Earle Robinson Senior and Junior, and Crispus Attucks alumni

 

For other collections on the topic of Black history in Indianapolis, please see Indianapolis Public Library African American History Committee, Families Talk: Indianapolis Public Schools Oral Histories, Indianapolis African-American Firefighters, Crispus Attucks High School, Crispus Attucks Museum (external link), and the Indianapolis Public Schools.

 

 

Further Reading and Resources

Attucks: The School That Opened A City, Ted Green

Indiana Avenue, Clyde Nickerson Bolden

Indiana Avenue - Life and Musical Journay from 1915 to 2015, Aleta S. Hodge

Invisible Indianapolishttps://invisibleindianapolis.wordpress.com/

Indianapolis Jazz, David Leander Williams

On Her Own Ground, A'Lelia Perry Bundles

Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis, 1920-1970, Richard Pierce

 

NEH Logo

This collection has been made possibleby the National Endowment for the Humanities.   

 
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