African Americans in Indianapolis
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WISH-TV interview: Author David Williams newly released book 'African-Americans in Indianapolis' explores how community overcame horrendous experiences

Indianapolis has long been steeped in important moments in African American history, from businesswoman Madame C. J. Walker's success to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan to the founding of Crispus Attucks High School, which remained segregated through the 1960s.

In African Americans in Indianapolis, author and historian David Leander Williams explores this history by examining the daunting and horrendous historical events African Americans living in Indianapolis encountered between 1820 and 1970, as well as the community's determination to overcome these challenges. Revealing many events that have yet to be recorded in history books, textbooks, or literature, Williams chronicles the lives and careers of many influential individuals and the organizations that worked tirelessly to open doors of opportunity to the entire African American community.

African Americans in Indianapolis serves as a reminder of the advancements that Black midwestern ancestors made toward freedom and equality, as well as the continual struggle against inequalities that must be overcome.


1. Indiana Becomes a State
2. Early Indianapolis
3. The Shame of Indianapolis
4. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
5. "Negroes, Yaw Go Back to Africa!"
6. The Civil War and Beyond
7. Post–Civil War Achievement
8. Power of the Fourth Estate
9. Dawn of the Struggle
10. The Twentieth Century—Going "Up South"
11. Francis "Frank" Flanner
12. White Policemen Murdered! Where's Jesse Coe?
13. The Indianapolis Recorder—Catalyst for Change—The Monster Meetings/Senate Avenue Y. M. C. A.
14. Madame C. J. Walker and Early African-American Female Trailblazers
15. The Roarin' Twenties!
16. David Curtis Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan
17. Crispus Attucks High School
18. A Decade of Turmoil/Lockefield Gardens
19. Heroes and Sheroes of World War II
20. The 1950s
21. Entertainment Industry Flexes Its Muscle
22. The Black Community Battles Negative Stereotypes and Introduces Jazz and Poetry
23. Indiana Avenue Jazz Connection/MacArthur Conservatory of Music/The Exodus
24. Historic "Firsts" of the 1950s and Its Movers and Shakers
25. Urban Renewal or Negro Removal?
26. Woman of Valor



Publié par
Date de parution 08 février 2022
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780253059512
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 11 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0850€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


The story of the Black experience in Indianapolis is one of hardship, triumph, and hope. As we continue to write that story, it s vital to know where we ve been. David Leander Williams expertly explores and examines that rich history in his new book. As a native Hoosier and a proud Black man, I am continually inspired by our ancestors who helped build our city and make it a more just and equitable community. Mr. Williams is giving these heroes and sheroes the credit they are due, and for that I am grateful.
-Representative Andre Carson, US Congressman, Seventh District of Indiana
Once again, David is filling in the blank pages of a history that has been intentionally excluded, diluted, diminished. This book must be placed in libraries and classrooms throughout the city, state, and country so teachers, parents, and children-all children-will learn the authentic truth about the unrelenting trials and tribulations faced by a people who refused to allow systemic racism to break their spirit and dismantle their goals. The story of African Americans in Indianapolis during the period of 1820 to 1970 is but a microcosm of our story wherever we are or have been. Dr. John Henrik Clarke, noted professor and historian, tells us that to control a people you must first control what they think about themselves and how they regard their history and culture. And when your conqueror makes you ashamed of your culture and your history, he needs no prison walls and no chains to hold you. David Leander Williams, we are so grateful that your brilliance was molded, shaped, and developed by the extraordinary professors at Crispus Attucks High School, and now it s being illuminated and used to benefit your people and all others whose lives this book will touch. The Ancestors are smiling.
-Patricia Payne, Director, Racial Equity Office, Indianapolis Public Schools
Without a doubt, David Leander Williams has saved the day. For all of the people who have contributed stories about Black life in Indianapolis, Mr. Williams has picked up the pieces and formed them into this deep perspective of African American history in the Hoosier capitol. Unlike other local histories, African Americans in Indianapolis pays homage to national, political, and social issues that have affected Indianapolis. It is destined to become a staple not only on bookshelves in Indiana but on bookshelves of history lovers everywhere.
-Stanley Warren, DePauw University
The Story of a People Determined to Be Free
This book is a publication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
2022 by David L. Williams
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
First printing 2022
Cataloging information is available from the Library of Congress.
ISBN 978-0-253-05948-2 (hardback)
ISBN 978-0-253-05949-9 (paperback)
ISBN 978-0-253-05950-5 (ebook)
Dedicated to the baby boomers, millennials, Generation X, and Generation Z of all races, creeds, and colors who strive toward freedom, justice, equality, and empowerment in search of a more perfect union.
1. Indiana Becomes a State
2. Early Indianapolis
3. The Shame of Indianapolis
4. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness
5. Negroes, Yaw Go Back to Africa!
6. The Civil War Years and Beyond
7. Post-Civil War Achievement
8. Power of the Fourth Estate
9. The Twentieth Century: Going Up South
10. Francis Frank Flanner
11. White Policemen Murdered! Where s Jesse Coe?
12. Madam C. J. Walker and Early African American Female Trailblazers
13. The Indianapolis Recorder , Catalyst for Change, and the Monster Meetings at the Senate Avenue YMCA
14. The Roarin Twenties
15. David Curtis Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan
16. Crispus Attucks High School: Miracle in the Ghetto
17. A Decade of Turmoil: Lockefield Gardens
18. Heroes of World War II
19. The 1950s
20. The Entertainment Industry Flexes Its Muscle
21. The Black Community Battles Negative Stereotypes and Introduces Jazz and Poetry
22. The Indiana Avenue Jazz Connection/Crispus Attucks/McArthur Conservatory/The Exodus
23. Historic Firsts of the 1960s and Their Movers and Shakers
24. Women of Valor
25. Urban Renewal Is Negro Removal
THE GENESIS OF THE PUBLICATION of this book occurred two decades ago when my bewildered niece wandered into my computer room, with a look of anguish accentuated by anxiety written across her cherubic face. She had been charged by her social studies teacher with the task of writing short biographical sketches of local African American trailblazers and history makers or significant events that occurred in Indianapolis during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She lamented, in her young mind, the notion that many of the Black history projects she had completed in the past, during Black History Month, centered on old, dark, moldy, shadowy figures like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, William Edward Burghardt DuBois, Rosa Parks, or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. They lived in the dark, dank basements of libraries and historical societies and were resuscitated in February of each year, trotted out to an adoring public, and returned to their dungeons on the first day of March.
I reflected on my educational experience at the segregated Crispus Attucks High School and identified with her disillusionment. I remember our school celebrating Negro History Week, wherein the photographs and biographies of several African American history makers like Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and Mary McLeod Bethune adorned the space above the blackboards, but only for one week. This history was not incorporated into our curriculum, and I never saw these figures photos in our textbooks or class assignments. Interestingly, we had permanent photographs of Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and explorer Christopher Columbus, who purportedly discovered America and the Native Americans, who had inhabited this land thousands of years before his ship sailed from Spain in 1492.
I understood my niece s concern and inability to grasp the history or identify with our heroes of yesteryear, many of whom lived and died centuries ago. I took her by the hand, and we walked to the Indianapolis Central Library to begin our historical exploration. After an hour of searching many collections, we were totally exhausted and comically thought of the nursery rhyme of Ole Mother Hubbard who went to the cupboard to give her poor dog a bone; when she came there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none. There was not one book, adult or juvenile, that dealt comprehensively with the history of African Americans in Indianapolis!
We traveled to the Crispus Attucks High School to consult with educators and discovered that in 1938 a distinguished social studies teacher, Dr. Joseph Cephas Carroll, wrote Slave Insurrections in the United States: 1800-1865 , which was based on his doctoral dissertation from the Ohio State University. Decades later, another distinguished Crispus Attucks social studies teacher, Dr. Stanley Warren, wrote Crispus Attucks High School: Hail to the Green, Hail to the Gold and The Senate Avenue Y. M. C. A. for African-American Men and Boys .
We visited the Butler University library and discovered two books by Professor Emma Lou Thornbrough, This Far by Faith: Black Hoosier Heritage and The Negro in Indiana before 1900: A Study of a Minority . Afterward, we traveled to the Indiana Historical Society and discovered the book authored by Dr. Richard B. Pierce, Polite Protest: The Political Economy in Indianapolis, 1920-1970 . Finally, we discovered fine works by individuals who had interesting connections to Indiana Avenue history. A Lelia Bundles, the great-granddaughter of Madam C. J. Walker, wrote On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker and Madam Walker Theatre Center: An Indianapolis Treasure . Thomas Howard Ridley Jr., an Indiana Avenue resident and nonagenarian who is considered the dean of Indiana Avenue history, wrote From the Avenue: A Memoir . Hoosier author Phillip Hoose wrote Hoosiers: The Fabulous Basketball Life of Indiana and Attucks! Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City . These historical masterpieces covered important periods in the history of African Americans in Indianapolis and aided me immensely in my research and documentation. However, I wanted to take a more comprehensive, panoramic snapshot of that history to illustrate the historical connectivity between these periods and their relationship to contemporary issues. For example, how did the rights and privileges stipulated in the Emancipation Proclamation influence the treatment of African Americans in Indianapolis in the early twentieth century? Did the sacrifices of African American soldiers in the Spanish-American War and World War II contribute to the empo

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