African-American Organizations, Institutions and Projects
BLACK HISTORY EXHIBIT. Photographs, 1981. P 0109. Forty-two color slides, four black-and-white prints and one black-and-white negative. No collection guide available. The slides were made in 1981 for a black history exhibit at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum and include portraits of entertainers and lecturers. The prints include an image of the 1906 ABC baseball team. This item was photographed from a newspaper image that appeared in the Indianapolis Recorder in 1906. The negative shows the congregation of the Bethel A.M.E. Church posing for a group portrait in 1919.
BLACK WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE WEST PROJECT. Records, 1932-1986. M 0530. Fourteen boxes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. During the 1970s, the National Council of Negro Women, Indianapolis Section, collected manuscript materials about the lives of African-American women in Indiana. Unsolicited, two members of the organization, schoolteachers Virtea Downey and Shirley Herd, delivered these materials to Darlene Clark Hine, a Purdue University history professor and vice provost. Many of the items were used in the publication of When the Truth Is Told: A History of Black Women’s Culture and Community in Indiana, 1875-1950, written by Hine in 1981. The relationship between Hine, Downey and Herd was the impetus for the Black Women in the Middle West Project.
The BWMW Project was a collecting effort to gather primary source materials of African-American women in Illinois and Indiana. The project, spearheaded by Hine, with assistance from Patrick Bidelman at Purdue University, was conducted in three phases from 1977 to 1985. Project records are located at five repositories within two states including the Indiana Historical Society [also houses the project’s administrative records], Calumet Regional Archives and the Northern Indiana Historical Society in Indiana and the Chicago Historical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society in Illinois.
Additional information about the project is contained in The Black Women in the Middle West Project: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, Illinois and Indiana (E 185.6 .B53 1986), edited by Hine, et al., and Wilma L. Gibbs’s article, “In Retrospect: The Black Women in the Middle West Project at the Indiana Historical Society,” in Indiana’s African-American Heritage: Essays from Black History News & Notes (E 185.93 .I4 B52 1993).
The collection is comprised of the administrative files of the Black Women in the Middle West Project. The files include biographical materials related to the project collectors, planning documents, financial records including budgets, the National Endowment for the Humanities application and general correspondence.
BLACK WOMEN IN THE MIDDLE WEST PROJECT. Miscellaneous Records, 1890-1984. M 0499, OM 301. One box, two oversize folders. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. The material contained in this collection represents an assortment of information collected from around the state during the Black Women in the Middle West Project (See previous entry for details about the project.). Of particular note are materials related to Helen Whitelowe and the founding of the Soul People Repertory Company, the Indiana State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs and Indianapolis churches.
BROWSERS BOOK CLUB (INDIANAPOLIS). History and Scrapbook, 1995-2000. SC 2676, BV 3377. One volume, one folder. Collection guide online. The Browsers Book Club dates their founding to 1946. The initial format of the monthly club meeting included a description of the author, a review of the book and a group discussion of the book. Browsers review seven books annually. The August meeting features a luncheon with a speaker, usually an African-American woman. The annual business meeting is conducted in September, and a celebration with friends and spouses is held in December. The collection is comprised of one folder and one bound volume. The folder contains news clippings and a short history of the book club written by Roselyn Richardson. The large scrapbook, “Browsers Book Club Celebrates 50 Years of Reading,” has six pages. The first page displays group and individual photographs of club members. The remaining five pages represent 10-year spans of club activity from 1945 to 1999. Each of the five intervals is denoted by a theme. In addition to providing a major theme, each page includes topics pertaining to issues and book titles of the era.
CITIZENS FORUM Inc. Records, 1962-1985. M 0425, CT 704-712. Twelve boxes, nine audiocassettes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Citizens Forum, organized in 1964 by Mattie Coney to get an open housing ordinance passed, disbanded in 1984. Organized also to improve the condition of black neighborhoods in Indianapolis, it became an interracial self-help program that served as an umbrella for city block clubs. Various programs were administered through the block clubs including De-RAT-ification Campaign, Dogwood Tree Caravan, Concerts in the Park, Adopt-a-Park and Rake-a-thons. The Helping Hand Program, begun in 1973, was the most widely successful program, spreading to other Indiana cities and towns and to other states. The records contain minutes from the board of directors meetings, correspondence, constitutions and by-laws, and financial records. Also included are records of local block clubs, Citizens Forum newsletters and newspaper clippings about the organization and its founder.
CRISPUS ATTUCKS HIGH SCHOOL SCRAPBOOK, 1950-1996. BV 3469, SC 2697. One bound volume, two folders. Collection guide online. In 1955, led by Oscar Robertson, Crispus Attucks High School became the first Indianapolis school to win the state basketball championship. The school repeated the honor the following year. Coached by Ray Crowe, the school’s basketball team had won 45 consecutive games when they were named the 1956 Indiana High School Athletic Association champions. Opened as a high school for African-American students in 1927, Crispus Attucks was banned from playing in the segregated IHSAA state basketball tournament until 1943.
The collection is composed of a scrapbook (BV 3469) and two folders of materials (SC 2697) related to Crispus Attucks High School basketball teams. The scrapbook chronicles the 1950-1951 basketball season with newspaper articles from the Indianapolis Recorder, Indianapolis Times, Indianapolis News and the Indianapolis Star. There are also some news clippings and some miscellaneous items from other basketball seasons, namely 1951-1952, 1954-1955, 1955-1956 and 1958-1959. Miscellaneous items include tickets, programs, scorecards and cheerleading yells.
DIALOGUE TODAY (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Records, 1984-2000. M 0775. Five boxes, one box color photographs. Collection guide online. In 1984, Theresa Guise, Diane Meyer Simon and Carole Stein formed a coalition between African-American and Jewish women in Indianapolis. When the organization incorporated in 1987, Dialogue Today stated as its purpose: “To consider and deal with common problems through a coalition of Black and Jewish women.”
In an effort to keep informed, the women stayed abreast of current events, had book talks, attended lectures and planned thematic programs, including annual retreats. Two issues that captured their attention were racism and anti-Semitism. They discussed hate groups, myths and stereotypes about their two groups, problems in Africa and the Middle East, as well as the United States, and concerns facing women in society. Dialogue members saw their role as advocacy and working to make conditions better for groups within Indianapolis.
The collection is ordered by several series: Incorporation Papers and Minutes, Correspondence, Annual Reports, Directories, Committees, Programs and Financial Records, Newsletters and News Clippings, and Topic. Materials are filed chronologically. This allows for the reconstruction of materials that pertain to a specific presidential era. There are a limited amount of photographs in the collection, arranged according to their subject matter.
ECONOMY ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY Records, 1840. SC 0021. One folder. (Original documents in the Lindley Collection, Earlham College). No collection guide available. Established in 1840, the Economy Anti-Slavery Society was an auxiliary to the Indiana State Anti-Slavery Society. It was located in Wayne County, Indiana. The collection contains the constitution and minutes of the organization.
FEDERATION OF ASSOCIATED CLUBS, Inc. Records, 1937-1978. M 0429. Ten boxes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. The Federation of Associated Clubs was founded in 1937 by Starling W. James. An umbrella organization for African-American clubs, the FAC actively addressed educational, social, civic and economic issues concerning African-Americans in Indianapolis. It advocated causes through scholarships, petitions, civic gatherings and political campaigns. The club annually toured many places in the United States and several foreign countries.
Most of the collection materials reflect the social thrust of the organization. The collection contains correspondence, minutes, committee reports, program booklets, financial records, newsletters, journals and newspaper clippings. A brief history of the club, 1937-1975, and an overview of employment for blacks in 1948 provide background information about African-Americans in Indianapolis.
FLANNER HOUSE (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Laundry School Instructions, 1937. SC 2692. One folder. Collection guide online. Flanner House, a social service agency, was organized in 1898 in an effort to aid a black, rural, and migrant population adjust to an urban setting. It was named after benefactor Frank W. Flanner, a Quaker mortician. Since 1979, Flanner House has been located at 2424 Dr. Martin Luther King St.
The collection contains instructions prepared by Maybelle King of the Flanner House Laundry School. The seven sheets instruct students on the correct method for washing silk stockings and corsets. There is background information on the use of hard and soft water for laundering purposes and a detailed description of the groups of stains (animal, vegetable and mineral) and methods for removing them. The instructions also include a discussion of caring for various fabrics cotton, linen, wool and rayon.
FLANNER HOUSE. Records, 1946-1954. M 0513, OMB 035. Two boxes, one oversized box. Collection guide online. Flanner House, a social service agency, was organized in 1898 in an effort to aid a black, rural and migrant population adjust to an urban setting. It was named after benefactor Frank W. Flanner, a Quaker mortician. A charter member of the Community Chest, the organization is now a member of Community Centers of Indianapolis. Since 1979, Flanner House has been located at 2424 Dr. Martin Luther King St. Its four earlier locations (Rhode Island, West, Missouri and Illinois streets) were also on the near northwest side of Indianapolis.
The collection was donated by descendants of Fred Reeve, who served as the director of the Flanner House Division of Self-Help Services during the 1940s and 1950s. It consists primarily of monthly reports of the division and reports related to various projects.
FORTNIGHTLY LITERARY CLUB. Records, 1927-1990. M 0585. One box. Collection guide online. The Fortnightly Literary Club was founded in Indianapolis in 1923. According to the club’s constitution, the organization’s purpose is to review and discuss new books, world problems, current events and other subjects of cultural value.
The organization’s records include correspondence, a minutes book, loose minutes and 28 yearbooks numbered irregularly from 1927 to 1983.
FREETOWN VILLAGE: SEAMSTRESS, WASHERWOMAN, BARBER, ROOTWOMAN, 1998. SC 2693. One folder. Collection guide online. Freetown Village is a living history museum that explores the lives of African-Americans in an 1870 mythical community in Indianapolis. The members of the museum company depict composite characters that lived during the post-Civil War era. The idea for the museum was conceived by founding and executive director Ophelia Umar Wellington in 1980. The Freetown Village administrative office and museum store is located at the Madame Walker Theatre Center in Indianapolis.
The collection contains one project abstract and a 45-page research paper authored by Lisa Lewis in 1998. The abstract provides the search strategy used to research four trades. The research paper examined the role of the trades giving them some context related to late 19th-century African-Americans.
GRAND BODY OF THE SISTERS OF CHARITY. Records, 1912-1977 (bulk 1930s). M 0619. Five boxes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. The Grand Body of the Sisters of Charity was organized in 1876 in response to the needs of a migrant African-American population settling in Indiana from the South after the Civil War. Early founders and officers of the organization included Celeste Allen, Eliza Goff, Ada Goins, Beulah Wright Porter and Hulda Bates Webb. From its inception, the purpose of the organization was to provide general support to those in need. Soon after the turn of the century the focus of the statewide group was to establish a hospital in Indianapolis. According to a notice in the Indianapolis Recorder, the hospital opened in June 1911.
The collection contains records of the organization, including correspondence, constitutions and by laws, minutes, program booklets, news clippings and financial documents.
HARLIN, HORTENSE. “The Indianapolis Recorder: A History of a Negro Weekly Newspaper” (1951). SC 1886. One folder. No collection guide available. Hortense Harlin’s Indiana University master’s thesis is an overview of the history of the Indianapolis Recorder. The thesis contains a history of the newspaper; information about staff backgrounds and the paper’s treatment of local and national issues; and a description of the business operation of the newspaper.
HARRIS BROTHERS STUDIO. Collection, ca. 1930s. P 0154. No collection guide available. Six black-and-white portraits and three cellulose nitrate negatives dating from ca. 1930s. These images of African-American adults were made at the Harris Brothers Studio on Indiana Avenue in Indianapolis.
INDIANA ASSOCIATION OF COLORED MEN. Records, 1916. M 0631, OM 292. One box, one oversize folder. Collection guide online. The Indiana Association of Colored Men was headquartered at 426 W. North St. in Indianapolis in 1916. Nahum D. Brascher served as executive secretary. In February 1916, the association sponsored an Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass memorial program to eulogize both men through presentations made by two speakers. James A. Watson, Rushville resident and candidate for the 1916 Indiana Republican primary for U.S. senator, immortalized Lincoln, and Robert H. Terrell, a Washington, D.C., judge, paid homage to Douglass. The collection includes letters, political broadsides and leaflets, program booklets, and newspaper clippings, most of which pertain to the Lincoln and Douglass memorial program. There are letters that acknowledge that the association commissioned Indianapolis artist John Hardrick to draw portraits of Douglass and Lincoln that were displayed at the memorial and later donated to the Senate Avenue Young Men’s Christian Association.
INDIANAPOLIS ASYLUM FOR FRIENDLESS COLORED CHILDREN. Records, 1870-1922. M 0165, BV 1501-1509, F 1292-1299. Fourteen boxes, nine bound volumes, eight reels of microfilm. Collection guide online. A group of Indianapolis Quakers founded the Indianapolis Asylum for Friendless Colored Children in 1869. The institution cared for the destitute children of a migrant black population, many who had moved to the North after the Civil War. Initial funding for the orphanage came from the Western Yearly Meeting, several philanthropists and the Marion County Welfare Department. After opening, the institution accepted children from the entire state. The collection contains the records of the orphanage, including minute books of the Board of Women Managers, constitution and by laws, records of admissions and deaths, records of children from counties other than Marion, and treasurers’ annual reports. There are also papers pertaining to 674 children, arranged alphabetically by last name. Each record gives the child’s name, the dates covered by the papers and death date of the child if death occurred while the child was a resident at the orphanage.
INDIANAPOLIS MODEL CITIES PROGRAM. Records, 1970-1982 (bulk 1970-1971). M 0664, OM 0332. Three boxes, three oversize folders. Collection guide online. The Indianapolis Model Cities Program was an outgrowth of a 1966 Congressional Act called the Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act. This Act provided financial assistance for cities that wanted to solve neighborhood problems with new ideas and local agencies. The Model Cities program began in 1970 under the administration of Mayor Richard G. Lugar (later senator) and terminated in 1971.
The bulk of the collection dates from 1970 to 1971 and consists of plans and reports about the program.
INDIANAPOLIS MUSIC PROMOTERS. Records, 1903-1977 (bulk 1945-1977). M 0635. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. The Indianapolis Music Promoters was founded in 1919, as a branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians. Adelaide Thornton Riley and Ellen Thomas Merriwether, who served as first president of the IMP, established the branch after attending an organizational meeting of the national association in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the club was to encourage the members to pursue musical study and to foster musical talents among youth. Many of the club members directed musical groups at local churches, schools, and businesses. Programs were performed regularly at Caleb Mills Hall, Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association, Indiana War Memorial, Clowes Memorial Hall and the Christian Theological Seminary. The IMP records include correspondence, yearbooks and program booklets. There are also materials related to the NANM. They include correspondence, program booklets and the organization’s plans for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City.
INDIANAPOLIS RECORDER. Collection, circa 1900-1987. P 0303. 182 boxes, One box printed and graphics, one oversized box. Collection guide online. George Pheldon Stewart and William H. Porter established the Indianapolis Recorder, an African-American newspaper, in 1895. Stewart bought Porter’s share of the business in 1899. Fannie Caldwell Stewart became the owner and publisher of the Recorder after her husband’s death in 1924, and Marcus C. Stewart became managing editor. Marcus C. Stewart was owner and editor of the Recorder at the time of his death in 1983. Eunice Trotter purchased the business from the Stewart family in 1988. Trotter sold the Recorder to William G. Mays in 1990.
The Indianapolis Recorder Collection contains black-and-white and color photographs; printed material; manuscripts; and ink, pencil and mechanically reproduced drawings dating from circa 1900 to 1987. The collection is divided into two series. Series 1 dates from circa 1900 to 1983, with most items dating from circa 1950 to 1979. Series 2 dates from 1980 to 1981, and from 1983 to 1987, with a small number of photographs from the 1960s and 1970s. There are no photographs in the collection dating from 1982.
INDIANAPOLIS URBAN LEAGUE. Records, 1933-1983. M 0476. One hundred fifty-one boxes. Collection guide online. The Indianapolis Urban League, an interracial, nonpartisan, nonprofit and charitable organization was incorporated in December 1965. An independent affiliate of the National Urban League, IUL is an advocate for the poor, blacks and other minority groups. It is charged with eliminating racial discrimination. Most of the work of the organization is performed under the auspices of three program departments: Human Services, Community Education, and Education and Employment. These programs address issues that relate to housing, health, welfare, criminal justice, education and economic development.
The collection contains records of the Association of Merit Employment, a job opportunity program, founded in 1952 by the American Friends Service Committee. The bulk of the collection includes the records of the Indianapolis Urban League through 1980, mostly centered on its employment, social and educational advocacy. The organization’s focus is on job training and employment. Additional materials on school desegregation, public housing and a broad range of other issues are documented by minutes, correspondence, reports and publications.
LOCKEFIELD GARDEN APARTMENTS (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Records, 1935-1954. M 0786. One box, one oversize folder, one artifact. Collection guide online. The Lockefield Garden Apartments were built during the late 1930s as part of the Public Works Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal era. The first housing project in Indianapolis, it was one of about 50 federal apartment complexes developed in 20 states to address slum clearance and the need for low-rent housing during the time period. Designed by the architectural firm of Russ and Harrison, Lockefield Garden Apartments was located on 22 acres bound by Indiana Avenue on the north, Blake Street on the east, North Street on the south and Locke Street on the west. The project boasted 748 units offering African-American residents a modern, community-oriented and modestly priced place to live. The overall plan for the project incorporated a pre-existing elementary school (William D. McCoy Public School #24, located at 908 W. North St.) with the apartment buildings, commercial properties, offices, a landscaped mall, playgrounds and many open spaces.
The materials in this collection are from the management files of the Lockefield Garden Apartments. A small representation of the office files date from 1935 through 1954. They provide a glimpse of the beginning of the building project and the early development of the apartment complex as a community-oriented residence center.
ME-DE-PHAR GUILD. Records, 1944-1989. M 0761. One box. Collection guide online. Founded in 1944, the Me-De-Phar Guild included the wives, mothers, daughters and sisters of physicians, dentists and pharmacists. Membership now also includes spouses of retired and deceased medical professionals and medical students. The guild was created to promote good health facilities, to establish better relations between the community and health professionals, and to provide financial aid to women wishing to enter a branch of the allied health fields.
NATIONAL BLACK POLITICAL CONVENTION (1972: GARY, IND.). Collection, 1972-1973. SC 2643. Six folders. Collection guide online. On March 10-12, 1972, several thousand African-Americans gathered in Gary for the National Black Political Convention. The convention pulled together a cross section of people representing a wide range of political philosophies. Held at Westside High School, the event brought together Republicans, Democrats, nationalists, Socialists and independents. The steering committee consisted of Gary Mayor Richard G. Hatcher, U.S. Representative Charles C. Diggs and poet Imaru Baraka (also known as LeRoi Jones). The convention was a culmination of a series of earlier meetings, mostly held in 1971. The purpose of the meetings and convention was to develop a unified political strategy for African-Americans from 1972 forward.
The collection relates, mostly, to the National Black Political Convention. Of particular note are a conference program, a fact sheet describing the history of the organization, an outline of the delegate selection process in Indiana and a transcript of a speech attributed to Carl B. Stokes, former mayor of Cleveland.
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF NEGRO WOMEN, INDIANAPOLIS SECTION. Records, 1915-1985 (bulk 1982-1985). M 0539, OM 280. Eight boxes, two oversize folders. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. According to its constitution, the National Council of Negro Women, Indianapolis Section, was established to promote unity of action among all women in matters affecting the educational, cultural, economic, social and political life of the community; to collect, interpret, disseminate and preserve information affecting women and girls; and to work for the complete elimination of any and all forms of discrimination and segregation based on race, religion, color, national origin and sex. In 1979, members of the organization, namely schoolteachers Virtea Downey and Shirley Herd, worked with Purdue University professor and vice provost, Darlene Clark Hine, to publish When the Truth Is Told: A History of Women’s Culture and Community in Indiana, 1879-1950. The book was the impetus for the Black Women in the Middle West Project, a collecting effort to gather photographs and manuscripts of African-American women in Illinois and Indiana during the 1980s.
Like its national organization founded by Mary MacLeod Bethune in 1935, NCNW, Indianapolis Section, performs many service activities. The organization has sponsored youth groups; a Mental Health Gift Lift; programs about weight control, alcoholism, voter registration, volunteerism and self-awareness; a Newcomer Tea for all women new to the Indianapolis area; and annual black history observances. The organization has also completed service projects in conjunction with other organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the United Negro College Fund.
The collection contains materials related to the National Council of Negro Women, Indianapolis Section. The materials include a constitution and by laws, correspondence, agendas and minutes, reports, directories, brochures, and yearbooks. The last several boxes contain information about various Hoosier African-American women and numerous local organizations and institutions. Of special note are 16 folders that pertain to the Top Ladies of Distinction, an Indianapolis social club.
PHYLLIS WHEATLEY YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION. Records, 1897-1955. M 0494, OM 300. One box, one folder. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide in library. Preliminary meetings of the Phyllis Wheatley Young Women’s Christian Association were held in Indianapolis from 1914 to 1916. By 1928, the organization had its own building located at 601 West St. The organization offered concerts, plays and various seminars and conferences, along with physical education programs, recreational facilities and practical classes such as sewing.
The collection includes pamphlets, program booklets and newsletters of the organization. There are also several newsletters from the Senate Avenue branch of the Indianapolis Young Men’s Christian Association.
PROGRESSIVE COMMUNITY CLUB. Records, 1940-1982 (bulk 1957-1977). M 0531. Two boxes. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. The Progressive Community Club was active in Indianapolis during the 1950s. The club sought different ways to improve the African-American community, including its involvement in a number of clean-up programs such as the Litter Prevention Program and the Clean House Series. In 1959, the club became a member of the Federation of Associated Clubs.
Records within the collection emphasize the Progressive Community Club’s programs and activities, as well as information about the Federation of Associated Clubs. More specifically, the collection contains correspondence, minutes and financial records of the Progressive Community Club.
SENATE AVENUE YMCA (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Hi-Y Spring Conference Photographs, ca. 1947-1948. P 0394. One folder. Collection guide online. The cornerstone of the Senate Avenue YMCA (Indianapolis) was laid in October 1912 at Michigan and Senate avenues. Booker T. Washington dedicated the building in 1913. Until the early 1960s, the Senate Avenue YMCA held the largest membership of any African-American branch in the United States. The facility provided cultural and recreational activities as well as vocational guidance for young men. The center closed in 1959 following the opening of the Fall Creek YMCA.
The Hi-Ys was a boy’s club founded in the mid-1940s by the national YMCA movement. Hi-Y groups operated out of high schools as part of the YMCA’s core youth program and were popular until the 1960s.
The collection contains five group photographs of delegates to a spring Hi-Y Conference at the Senate Avenue YMCA in Indianapolis in 1947 or 1948. The participants, mainly young African-American men, belonged to the Indiana and Evanston, Ill., Hi-Ys.
SOJOURNER TRUTH CLUB. Records, 1922-1975. M 0540. Two boxes. Collection guide online. The Sojourner Truth Club was organized in Richmond in 1921. A member of the Indiana Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs, it sponsored health programs and an annual scholarship to a college-bound student. It also contributed money, food and holiday baskets to the needy. Money-raising efforts included teas, suppers and rummage sales. The club disbanded in 1976.
The collection contains club records, including its constitution and by laws, correspondence and minutes. There is also information pertaining to Richmond’s black citizenry.
SOUL PEOPLE REPERTORY COMPANY (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Scrapbook, 1973-1987. BV 3422, SC 2682. One bound volume, one folder. Collection guide online. Soul People Repertory Company was a community-based organization established in Indianapolis in 1975 by Helen Whitelowe. It was one of the many theater companies founded to express an African-American perspective after a new tide of Black Nationalism swept the United States during the 1960s.
Most of the collection pertains to the Soul People Repertory Company. There are also materials that relate to the Hillside Cultural Center Inc. and its plays; productions of other theatres; the activities of staff at SPRC including Whitelowe, Glenn White and Mose Laderson; work of other known personalities such as Ed Bullins, Mari Evans and Steve Oxendine; and general African-American history and cultural events. Items in the collection include correspondence, programs, postcards, flyers, news clippings, certificates, stage bills and photographs.
UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND, INDIANA CAMPAIGN. Records, 1950-1955 (bulk 1951-1952). M 0748. One box. Collection guide online. An Indiana state committee for the United Negro College Fund began organizing in August 1950. The purpose of the organization was to solicit contributions for the 32 African-American colleges belonging to the fund. Corporations, companies, black college alumni and individuals contributed monies. When the Indiana Committee of the UNCF was established, it was estimated that the black colleges graduated 90 percent of all African-American college graduates. Frederick D. Patterson established the national organization in 1944.
The collection contains materials pertaining to the Indiana Campaign of the United Negro College Fund. Joseph Russell Brown (1915-1979) worked as the state organizer for the 1950 and 1951 campaigns of the fund, and as the executive secretary during the 1952 campaign. The collection includes office files, minutes, reports, financial records and photographs related to the Campaign.
WOMAN’S IMPROVEMENT CLUB (INDIANAPOLIS, IND.). Records, 1909-1965. M0432. One box. Black Women in the Middle West Project. Collection guide online. Founded in 1903 by Indianapolis journalist and elocutionist Lillian Thomas Fox, the Woman’s Improvement Club’s early roster boasted the names of community activists Ida Webb Bryant, Ada Harris, Rose D. Hummons and Beulah Wright Porter. According to its constitution the purpose of the organization was “mutual improvement of its members, the care of tubercular persons, and all other uplift work.” The organization was especially active in the care of local black tuberculosis patients, establishing an outdoor camp at Oak Hill in the Brightwood area in Indianapolis in 1903.
The Woman’s Improvement Club collection contains minute books, a constitution, brief handwritten histories, correspondence and club rosters with addresses. It also includes financial records, including account statements, account books, information on dues and disbursements, and receipts.
YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION. Records, 1896-1986. M 0485, OM 185, BV 2373-2387, F 997-F1010. Eleven boxes, one oversize folder, 15 bound volumes, 14 microfilm reels. Collection guide in library. The Indianapolis Young Women’s Christian Association opened at 139 N. Meridian St. in 1895. It offered classes, lunches and lodging. Practical and recreational programs were offered for women and girls. In 1976, it moved to North Guion Road from its longtime location at 329 N. Pennsylvania. A group of black women met between 1914 and 1916, making preliminary plans to form the first African-American branch of the Young Women’s Christian Association in Indianapolis. The group had the support of beauty culturist and businesswoman Madam C.J. Walker, who offered a meeting space in the Walker Manufacturing Company building. After formally organizing as the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA in 1922, the group built a facility at 601 N. West St. in Indianapolis. The organization disbanded in 1959. The collection contains the records of the Young Women’s Christian Association in Indianapolis. It includes board of directors minutes, contracts, leases, department reports and newsletters. Materials that relate to the Phyllis Wheatley branch are in Box 8 and BV 2373-2379.