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African-American Communities

CORD, XENIA. “Free Rural Communities in Indiana: A Selected Bibliography” (1982). SC 1883. One folder. No collection guide available. This bibliography includes various resources for researching Indiana’s early black rural communities. Most of the settlements included predate the Civil War. Xenia Cord includes books, articles and microforms. In addition to general Indiana history materials and attention to county-level communities, Cord cites sources related to North Carolina and Ohio, home states for many of these early settlers.

CRENSHAW, GWENDOLYN. The History of Blacks in Indianapolis, 1870s. SC 1981. Three folders. No collection guide available. Freetown Village Inc. is a living history museum. The 1870 mythical village was located in Old Ward Four in Indianapolis. Actors, led by founding director Ophelia Wellington, portray characters from the post-Civil War period. This collection represents much of the historical research done by Gwendolyn Crenshaw during the developmental stages of the Freetown Village Project. Divided into three parts, it includes the history of blacks in Indianapolis, the history of the black family in Indianapolis, and a script for the Freetown Village actors entitled “Our Triumph’s Just Begun.”

PETERSON, ROGER A. ”Using County Records for Historical African-American Research: Address at the Northern Indiana Center for History, South Bend, Sept. 13, 1999.” SC 0515, CT 783. One folder, one audiocassette. Collection guide online. The collection contains the written notes from a presentation delivered by Roger Peterson on Sept. 13, 1995, to the general public at the Northern Indiana Center for History located at 808 W. Washington St.in South Bend. The audiocassette contains the oral presentation of the program “Using County Records for Historical African-American Research,” focused on relevant records at the Owen County Archives, including files from the offices of the recorder, auditor and clerk.

POTTER, MARLENE. “Should Indiana Avenue Be Preserved as a Historical Landmark for the Black Community?” (1982). SC 1877. One folder. No collection guide available. Marlene Potter outlines background information on eastside Indianapolis. The paper, prepared for a college course, includes results of a survey of Indiana Avenue residents about their community.

REGENOLD, MICHAEL, “An Analysis of the Displacement of the Midtown Community by an Urban Campus” (1982). SC 1881. One folder. No collection guide available. Michael Regenold explores the impact of the development of the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis campus on the area adjacent to it. In his college paper, he gives a brief overview of the history of the area, including Haughville, Indiana Avenue and the near eastside.

“REMEMBERING INDIANA IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.” M0704. One box. Collection guide online. This collection consists of 15 transcripts of interviews that were completed as part of a project entitled “Remembering Indiana in the Twentieth Century.” Six of the interviews relate to Indianapolis; one relates to Tell City (Labhart); and the others relate to Evansville. All of the interviews discuss the individuals’ family and personal histories and the city or area where they lived. Interviewees include Hazel Hayden, Mildred Kuhlenschmidt, Alberta Murphy, Mary Brookins, Ida Edelen, Alice Hottenstein, Marcella Massey, Mary-Jane Koch, Dee Margardant and Mary E. Trabits.

“REMEMBERING THE PAST: AN ORAL AND PICTORIAL HISTORY of AFRICAN-AMERICANS in GRANT COUNTY, INDIANA.” 1996. BV 3165. One bound volume. Collection guide online. “Remembering the Past: An Oral and Pictorial History of African-Americans in Grant County, Indiana” (Grant #94-3014) was completed in compliance with a $2,500 Indiana Heritage Research Grant awarded to the Grant County Black History Council Inc. in 1994. The volume contains a list of project participants, acknowledgments and histories of African-Americans in Indiana as well as Grant County, photocopies of newspaper articles, and brief histories of some fraternal organizations. There are eight transcriptions of oral history interviews, as well as one short narrative by Fred Douglas Stevenson. Interviewees discuss various subjects including Weaver Settlement, an African-American rural community founded in Grant County during the 1840s; family names and histories; employment; social events; schools; churches; social organizations; and the 1930 lynchings of Tom Shipp and Abram Smith at the Marion Courthouse Square.

“RESEARCH FOR FREETOWN VILLAGE, OLD WARD FOUR, 1870” by Amy Glowacki. (1992). SC 2542. Three folders. Collection guide online. The collection consists of one unbound copy of Amy Glowacki’s unpublished history paper “Research for Freetown Village, Old Ward Four, 1870.” The manuscript was completed while Glowacki was a student in the master’s program in public history at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. The 85-page study includes an explanation of her research method; an introduction to the paper; the body of the paper that contains several subheadings, including physical descriptions, location of dwellings, education, streets, social and civic activities, markets, and occupations; a bibliographical essay; detailed endnotes; a bibliography; and an appendix. Freetown Village Inc., as portrayed in a living history museum, is an 1870 mythical place set in Old Ward Four in Indianapolis. The boundaries for Old Ward Four in 1870 were West Washington Street on the south, the White River on the west, First Street (present-day Tenth Street) on the north and Mississippi Street (present-day Senate Avenue) on the east. Much of the area is currently occupied by IUPUI. In 1870, the ward was home to 974 African-Americans (which represented the largest population of any ward in Indianapolis) and 4,248 whites.

SCHEIDT, DUNCAN P. Collection, ca. 1930 ca. 1949. P 0257. Forty black and white photographs. No collection guide available. Photographs of African-American jazz musicians and other performers who played Indiana Avenue in the 1930s and 1940s. The photographs include portraits of Speed Webb and his orchestra, and Wes Montgomery.

“THE TRANSFORMATION OF A NEIGHBORHOOD: RANSOM PLACE HISTORIC DISTRICT, INDIANAPOLIS, 1900-1920” by Carolyn Brady. (1995). SC 2533. Four folders. Collection guide online. The collection consists of one unbound copy of Carolyn M. Brady’s unpublished manuscript “The Transformation of a Neighborhood: Ransom Place Historic District, Indianapolis, 1900-1920.“ The manuscript was submitted to the faculty of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a master’s degree in history. The 122-page study, completed in 1995, contains an introduction, three chapters, a conclusion, maps, tables, graphs, an appendix and a bibliography. It explores the demographic trends of a six-block area of Indianapolis during a 20-year period. Brady’s basic premise is that the area shifted dramatically from 86 percent white majority to a 96 percent black majority from the 1900 to the 1920 population census. The area, currently known as Ransom Place, was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. Its namesake, Freeman B. Ransom (1882-1947), was an attorney and longtime business manager of the Madam C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company. Information from Brady’s study will be used by the Ransom Place Neighborhood Association in its efforts to develop the Heritage Learning Center. Also the thesis and database records will be used by the Center for Archaeology in the Public Interest at IUPUI, which plans to excavate Ransom Place.

“WAS FREEDOM DEAD OR ONLY SLEEPING?” (1995). SC 2624. One folder. Collection guide online. The Northern Indiana Center for History applied for and received an Indiana Heritage Research Grant (IHRG #95-3031) from the Indiana Humanities Council and the Indiana Historical Society. The purpose of the grant was to complete a project, “Was Freedom Dead or Only Sleeping,” an overview of African-Americans in La Porte County before 1870. The project researcher was Terry Douglas Goldsworthy. The collection, contained in one folder, has three parts. There is a one-sheet abstract, an unpublished manuscript, and an index to four United States decennial censuses. The abstract outlines the project. A 10-page manuscript entitled “Was Freedom Dead or Only Sleeping?: The Pre-1870 African-American Rural Communities of La Porte County, Indiana” by Terry Douglas Goldsworthy names William Greenwood alias Randall, a free black man, as the first known African-American in the county. Goldsworthy identifies Banks, Henderson and Clear Lake as three African-American rural communities that evolve in the county during the 1830s, 1850s and 1860s, respectively. The final item in the folder is an index and abstract of all African-Americans in La Porte County who appear in the 1840 to 1870 United States population schedules.