Also visit our Slavery and Underground Railroad sections.
Indiana's African American Settlementsis a searchable database is at The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Early Black Settlements and Early Black Settlements by County discusses Allen County Hanna Addition with as many as 30 families in the 1850 census, posted by the Indiana Historical Society. Retro Indy: African American Settlements at IndyStar.com.
One of the most disturbing items African-American researchers discover is Article 13 of the 1851 Indiana Constitution at IN.gov. See also Indiana Constitution of 1851, Constitution of 1851 as originally written, The 1851 Indiana Constitution by David G Vanderstel, page 10 of the Indiana Constitution by the Indiana Historian A Magazine Exploring Indiana History, and Being Black in Indiana all at IN.gov. Sundown Towns are another little known history of many Indiana communities.
Article 13 - Negroes and Mulattoes
Section 1. No negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in the State, after the adoption of this Constitution.
Section 2. All contracts made with any Negro or Mulatto coming into the State, contrary to the provisions of the foregoing section, shall be void; and any person who shall employ such Negro or Mulatto, or otherwise encourage him to remain in the State, shall be fined in any sum not less than ten dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars.
Section 3. All fines which may be collected for a violation of the provisions of this article, or of any law which ay hereafter be passed for the purpose of carrying the same into execution, shall be set apart and appropriated for the colonization of such Negroes and Mulattoes, and their descendants, as may be in the State at the adoption of this Constitution, and may be willing to emigrate.
Section 4. The General Assembly shall pass laws to carry out the provisions of this article.
- The African American Genealogical Society of Fort Wayne is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aagsfw/ has a Facebook Video page: www.facebook.com/aagsfw/videos/, and is creating a growing collection of videos www.youtube.com/channel/UCXKpcegWbuTA1NRpKk0oA-A/featured on YouTube.
- The video below was filmed in 2021 while COVID Pandemic restrictions were in force at the Allen County Public Library.
- African-Americans found in Fort Wayne, Allen County, Indiana, city directories goes back to the first 1858 city directory thru 1910 by Margery Graham the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana
- Marsha Smiley African American Collection Database of local African-American pioneers
hidden stories of those who dared to cross through the gateway firstin the Marsha Smiley Collection: Crossing Opportunity's Threshold at The Genealogy Center. Read Hidden History: Curator highlights Allen County’s African-American pioneers in online database with video by Kaitor Kposowa published February 19, 2018 by CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15. Sharing black history Resident's project grows to become ACPL collection by Janet Patterson published May 14, 2019 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.
The Black Lutheran Alumni Scholarship Team, or BLAST, has awarded two graduating Concordia seniors the Peggy Greer Calloway/Richard J. Ridley Jr. Trailblazer Award Scholarships, named in honor of the school’s first four-year Black graduates.Copied from Black Concordia Lutheran alumni group's scholarships honor trailblazers by Maya Wilkins published July 31, 2022 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. Concordia welcomes back its first African American graduates at Concordia Lutheran High School.
- Indiana Negroes and the Spanish American War by Willard B. Gatewood, Jr. 25-page report published in the Indiana Magazine of History journal in the archives at Indiana University Scholarworksonline at IU Scholarworks. From a January 20, 2022 Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebookpost.
- Mary Clark Woman of Color read about the African-American woman in Vincennes who sued in 1821 to end indentured servitude in Indiana published by the Mary Bateman Clark Foundation.
- Racial justice in 1820s Indiana: Slave trial and Fall Creek Massacre - encore (originally November 2, 2019) posted July 4, 2020 on the Archives of Hoosier History Live podcast on Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM introduction starts with:
With various aspects of racial justice in the headlines, Hoosier History Live will explore precedent-setting legal trials in early Indiana involving African Americans and Native Americans. We are drawing upon our rich archive for a special encore show focusing on two landmark cases of racial justice in early 19th century Indiana. The two trials: one in which an enslaved Indiana woman successfully sued for her freedom, and a second in which white men were found guilty and executed for slaughtering nine Native Americans, an infamous incident that history has dubbed the Fall Creek Massacre. The shows focusing on these milestone legal cases both originally aired in 2010. In 1821, Mary Bateman Clark, a young African-American woman living in Vincennes, made history when her lawyer filed a lawsuit seeking her release from an "indentured servitude" contract with one of the most prominent men in the new state of Indiana. The contract required Clark to cook, clean and sew for Gen. Washington Johnston and his family for 20 years. Her only pay was housing, food and clothing. The case, which made its way to the Indiana Supreme Court, involved determining whether such "indentured servitude" contracts violated the state's Constitution as a form of slavery. Nearly 200 years ago - on Nov. 16, 1821 - the state Supreme Court ruled in Clark's favor and ordered her employer to release her.
- February 3, 1852 - the Indiana General Assembly requested information about Liberia from James Mitchell, agent of the recently formed Indiana Colonization Society that began providing funds to help Indiana free blacks emigrate to Liberia on the western coast of Africa.
- 1881 - Article XIII of the 1851 Indiana Constitution was formally removed from the constitution. It prohibited African-Americans from migrating to Indiana, despite the fact that 11,262 blacks were Hoosier citizens as of the 1850 census.
- An 1853
Registry of Negroes and Mulattoesfor Vigo County is discussed in the video From the Vault | Vigo County Registry by the Indiana Archives and Records Administration published January 25, 2019 on YouTube. This was posted January 25, 2019 on Twitter as:
Founded as a free state, Indiana nevertheless had a Constitutional provision that attempted to exclude free African-Americans from living there. In this episode of From the Vault, we analyze an item that shows this contradiction: the Vigo Co registry.by the Indiana Archives on Twitter.
- The Negro in Indiana Before 1881 by Earl E. McDonald in 1931 Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 291-306.
- African American Gateway on the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indianaweb site. Lots of good stuff like the Marsha Smiley African American Collection with highlights of individuals from Fort Wayne and Allen County.
- African / African-American Historical Society Museum has a Facebook page.
Fort Wayne's African/African-American Historical Society Museum by The News-Sentinel posted February 4, 2018 on YouTube
members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Wayne toured the African/African-American Historical Society Museum with Executive Director, Dr. John Aden.
- Early African Americans find local life a constant struggle
By 1900, there were 276 African Americans in Fort Wayne. The overall population was 45,115. Part of the reason for the increase was the migration of African Americans moving from the South. ... By 1910, William Warfield had built a solid life for his family.by Shannon Kin.
- African Americans in Fort Wayne: The First 200 Years 2000 book by Dodie Marie Miller
- Civil Rights in Fort Wayne : A Photographic Retrospective at The History Center.
- On May 13, 1869, at a special session called by Governor Conrad Baker, and after much deliberation the Indiana General Assembly approved a law that admitted African American children to public schools.
In a 1912 article for the Indiana Magazine of History, Professor Abram C. Shortridge noted that around 1862 the Indiana State Teachers' Association began to lobby for "colored schools," but lawmakers failed to take on the issue until 1867. Shortridge lamented that until the 1869 special session it looked as if “the black children were doomed to run the streets for another term of two years while their fathers and mothers continued to pay their taxes, by the aid of which the children of the more favored race were kept in school ten months of the year." He noted that shortly after the amendment passed, Indianapolis prepared to accommodate these students and reported, "[S]ome of the buildings already abandoned were repaired and refurnished; others were rented, properly seated and made quite comfortable. By the first of September we were ready for all who might apply."
From this time until the late 1920s, Black children attended segregated elementary schools and integrated high schools. In the late 1920s, many Indiana cities established segregated high schools, such as Crispus Attucks in Indianapolis, Lincoln High School in Evansville, and Theodore Roosevelt High School in Gary. While a 1949 “fair schools” bill attempted to integrate Indiana schools, many remained segregated until the 1970s. Copied from a May 13, 2022 post by the Indiana Historical Bureau on Facebook. See their link to THE SCHOOLS OF INDIANAPOLIS—III A. C. SHORTRIDGE The Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History Vol. 8, No. 3 (SEPTEMBER, 1912), pp. 122-131 (10 pages), published by: Indiana University Press available on jstor.org.
The Negro Motorist Green Book, 1949 shows Fort Wayne businesses listed on page 29. The 2018 movie Green Book about a 1962 field trip won the 2019 Best Picture and three out of five Academy Award nominations on February 24, 2019. The Green books were discussed January 13, 2019 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Private group on Facebook. See Road Tripping in the Era of the Green Book
Victor Hugo Green, Harlem postal worker turned travel agent, published the Negro Motorist Green Book from 1936-1967 posted March 10, 2017 on Indiana Landmarks. The guide recommended businesses and attractions around the country, including sites in Indiana, that would be friendly to African American travelers. TheUnwelcome Travelers video by Eric Olson, 21Country Featured Reporterdiscusses and shows the five Fort Wayne stops listed in the Green Book, where they were, and which one is still here published January 31, 2019 on ABC WPTA21.com TV station. The New York Public Library Digital Collections has 23 different years of the Green Book from 1930s to 1967. The Green Book and Indiana sites posted December 18, 2021 on the Archives of Hoosier History Live podcast on Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FMintroduction starts with
The Green Book was an annual guidebook for African America motorists during an era of widespread discrimination. Published from the mid-1930s through the mid-1960s, the Green Book listed hotels, restaurants, gasoline stations and other sites that welcomed all travelers. Because sites across Indiana were included in most editions of the book that became known as the "bible of Black traveling", Hoosier History Live will explore them with a popular guide for Indiana history tours. Sampson Levingston of Through2Eyes will be Nelson’s guest to share insights about the impact of The Green Book and about the Indiana sites, many of them long gone.
Twenty-two years before Loving v. Virginia, Anna Harley, a white woman, and Daniel Winters, an African American man, sacrificed family, friends, and even country, to live together as husband and wife.Copied from Before It Was Legal: a black-white marriage, 1945-1987 by Nancy Poling posted on January 17, 2018 by the Indiana Historical Bureau.
- Your black history matters! Can you afford to lose your history? by Leah H. Reeder published September 5, 2015 in a Special to Frost Illustrated discusses a number of Fort Wayne firsts: Arthur Williams was the first African American policeman. The second policeman was Oliver Lee, hired in 1919. Laura Jackson was the first black female police officer . Dr. Theodore Roosevelt Borders, a Howard University graduate, was an early African American physician. Dr. Roland B. Wilson was another physician on staff at three different city hospitals. Dr. Alfred Stovall, a Howard Medical School graduate, along with Dr. Jeff Towles, a University of Louisville Medical School Graduate, in 1993 opened a full service medical facility on Lafayette and Pontiac Streets. Other early African American medical practitioners were: Dr. Roland B. Walter, Dr. James Graham, and Nancy Lester R.N. There were several small business owners, such as Dr. Stovall’s mother, Arrie Stovall, a graduate of the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty College of Birmingham, Ala. Carl and Mamie Wilson came to Fort Wayne in 1917 and were owner operators of several small businesses, a pool hall, an exterminating company and Wilson’s Chicken Shack, a small diner. In 1925, Ellis Micheaux Sr. opened the first funeral home in service to the African American community, after his passing in 1952; the business was operated by his wife, Mrs. Josie (Bryant) Micheaux until closing in 2002.
- Remembering slavery : African Americans talk about their personal experiences of slavery and emancipation by Berlin, Ira, 1941-; Favreau, Marc, 1968-; Miller, Steven F Publication date 1998, borrow online at Internet Archive.
- PrimeTime39 - September 28, 2018 Season 2018 Episode 31 | 26m 52s Fort Wayne Colored Giants Baseball. Guests - Al Brothers, Dr. Miles Edwards, and Jerry Markle. This area's only in-depth, live, weekly news, analysis and cultural update forum, PrimeTime 39 airs Fridays at 7:30pm. This program is hosted by PBS39's President/General Manager Bruce Haines.
- The Fort Wayne Colored Giants helped bring the Fort Wayne community together around baseball - Alfred Brothers Jr. of Fort Wayne discussed the Fort Wayne Colored Giants baseball team during a Mather Lecture Series presentation Sunday, February 4, 2018 at The History Center. by Kevin Kilbane published January 31, 2018 in The News-Sentinel newspaper. He also was the guest writer for The Fort Wayne Colored Giants by Alfred Brothers Jr., PhD posted February 28, 2018 on Indiana Historical Bureaublog. Photos and discussion July 28, 2019 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Private group on Facebook
- Copied from the article: The Boston native has learned a lot, such as:
- Rather than playing for about a decade, as he first believed, Brothers discovered the Colored Giants started playing games as early as 1907 and continued until 1949.
- African-American baseball teams existed all over Indiana, not just in a few large cities.
- The Colored Giants traveled and played teams from a wide area. They occasionally played teams from the legendary Negro Leagues, including the Indianapolis ABCs; Homestead Grays from Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; and the Chicago American Giants.
- The Colored Giants had friendly rivalries with some of the all-white baseball teams in Fort Wayne, and the teams played each other frequently.
- “We tend to think of the community as segregated,” Brothers said. “This (baseball) was one thing that pulled the community together.”
- Copied from the article: The Boston native has learned a lot, such as:
- Illuminating a Legacy|African Americans rose above inequality to make contributions to local community
The first African Americans in the Fort Wayne area were probably here before the arrival of Revolutionary War Gen. “Mad Anthony” Wayne, whose fort gave the town its name.By Linda Lipp published February 23, 2007 on KPC News.com.
- INJUSTICE’S LARIAT | LYNCHING IN INDIANA by Justin Clark published June 4, 2018 in
Hoosier State Chronicles Indiana's Digital Historic Newspaper Programblog was a June 4, 2018 Tweeter Tweet. The first paragraph states:
Indiana, a state claimed as “free” from its statehood in 1816, was nevertheless the 7th highest non-southern state with racial terror lynchings, with 18 separate incidents. When searching through Indiana newspapers, many stories emerge of outlaw vigilantes who terrorized and brutalized African-Americans, sometimes for nothing more than alleged crimes. Since many were lynched before they received equal justice under the law, many of their lives ended tragically through injustice under the lariat.The article includes links to videos and more articles.
- OSCAR ROGAN
Several years ago Todd Peterson sent me this box score, from the May 7, 1917, Fort Wayne (Indiana) Daily News, which showed a pitcher named Rogan and outfielders named Carr and Hawkins playing for the Fort Wayne Colored Giants.Published May 10, 2013 on Agate Type Reconstructing Negro League & Latin American Baseball.
- Firefighter at the forefront 2nd black man on force reflects on career, life by Terri Richardsons published September 16, 2018 in The Journal Gazette newspaper. In 1963, Marvin Eady applied with the urging of a Fort Wayne city councilman who was working to make the fire department more diverse.
- A lively segregation discussion with over 100 Comments February 23, 2019 on You are positively from Fort Wayne, if you remember... Private group on Facebook.
- Indiana's Hidden History
- Indiana's Hidden History 20-minute video of local African American histories by Terra Brantley, posted: February 26, 2019 on CBS WANE-TV NewsChannel 15. Stories on Al Brother, Terra Brantley's DNA test results, the Alexander T. Rankin underground railroad house, Johnny Bright best college football player in the country,
- Indiana's Hidden History
- How we got here Voices of Fort Wayne's black experience across the centuries by Connie Haas Zuber published June 21, 2020 in The Journal Gazette newspaper in reponse to the killing of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police. She discusses early Fort Wayne history with Alexander T. Rankin the abolistionist preacher who arrived in the fall of 1837 after recovering from a beating by a mob in Dayton, Ohio after his February abolition preaching. She covers the great migration of Blacks from the south to manufacturing jobs in Fort Wayne to the Rolling Mills area and more.
- Migration of African Americans during 20th century to Northern states posted February 27, 2021 on the Archives of Hoosier History Live podcast on Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM introduction starts with:
As Hoosier History Live salutes Black History Month, our focus will be on a massive movement of an estimated 6 million people during a span of nearly 60 years. Beginning during the World War I era, African Americans migrated in unprecedented numbers from the South to cities in Northern states, including Indiana. According to an article published in Smithsonian magazine, the waves of 20th century migration began with a move of Black families during the winter of 1916 from Selma, Alabama, to the North, a little-noticed start to powerful demographic shift that also encompassed a transition from agriculture to factory work. By the time it ended in the early 1970s, "a rural people had become urban." Some historians use the term Great Migration to apply to the entire span. Others refer to the era from the 1910s to 1940 as the First Great Migration, and describe the 1940s to 1970 movement as the Second Great Migration.
- Edwin Gibson: A Distinguished Career Begins
- Teacher’s book explores 1963 MLK visit to Fort Wayne about Christopher Elliott a teacher of world and U.S. history at Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne's book Before the Dream: Martin Luther King’s 1963 Speech, and Civil Rights Struggles in Fort Wayne, Indiana by Kevin Kilbane posted July 12, 2021 in Today's Catholic.
- African-American students during the late 1800s in Indiana posted July 24, 2021 on the Archives of Hoosier History Live podcast on Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM introduction states: During the 1860s and '70s, "colored schools" (the term used during that era) began to open in Indiana. State laws required Black students to be educated in schools separate from their white counterparts.In 1886, the ceremony for the first graduate of Vincennes Colored High School in southwestern Indiana sparked a national controversy when whites boycotted the event, according to an article in the spring issue of Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, the magazine published by the Indiana Historical Society. The article's author is acclaimed journalist, historian and researcher Eunice Trotter, who will be Nelson's guest to share insights about the ways Indiana cities handled the education of African American youth during the late 19th century.
- We have a section on Slavery in Indiana.
- Researching Formerly Enslaved Ancestors: It Takes a Village!
The Black Cemetery Network - was discussed in the monthly E-Zine Genealogy Gems: News from the Allen County Public Library at Fort Wayne, No. 221, July 31, 2022 from the The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
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Black Cemetery Network
by Melissa Tennant
For many researchers, it is difficult to learn that our ancestors are buried in cemeteries that are not maintained, have become overgrown, possibly destroyed, or worse. For African Americans, this search for burial grounds can become even more complex. Historically segregated by race and with the expansion and growth caused by urban development, many Black cemeteries have become lost to history. Unfortunately, the number of African American cemeteries that have disappeared is unknown.
The Black Cemetery Network <https://blackcemeterynetwork.org> is a project created by the University of South Florida to bring the stories of these neglected African American cemeteries and those buried within from obscurity by collaborating with other individuals and organizations, researching the cemeteries or locations, and advocating to preserve historical Black burial sites. The Black Cemetery Network is a national network where individuals and groups working to preserve the history of a lost African American cemetery can contribute to the network.
As of the end of July 2022, there are sixty African American burial grounds registered across nineteen states, including Arkansas, North Carolina, and Michigan. To search for a cemetery, select the “Explore” tab at the top of the site and choose “The Archive” from the drop-down menu. One can search by a specific state, county, or town to learn the history of these lost graves and the work being done to preserve the stories of those buried at these locations.
When the project began, one of the initial locations researched was Zion Cemetery, the first African American cemetery established in Tampa, Florida, in 1901. Images show the apartments, warehouses, and other structures that were built over the cemetery. Using ground penetrating radar, more than 300 graves were located, and by researching death records, the group discovered 382 individuals were buried in Zion Cemetery between 1913 and 1920.
Other entries include the Nantucket Historic Coloured Cemetery in Nantucket, Massachusetts, which has burials starting potentially in 1805. Information provided includes maps of the cemetery sections along with names and dates for those buried. The Quarter Place Cemetery in Brookneal, Virginia, was once a plantation cemetery, where 147 burials have been discovered, some dating back to 1794. And finally, the Woodland Cemetery in Clemson, South Carolina, is where 667 unmarked graves were located using ground penetrating radar.
The details and information provided in each entry differ dramatically yet they each tell a story; a story of a lost cemetery, a community, the deceased individuals, and those hoping to preserve or document these cemeteries. The Black Cemetery Network <https://blackcemeterynetwork.org> is a great place to connect with and learn about African American cemeteries once lost and gratefully rediscovered.