History & Culture , Research & Learn

Local Black History

Explore Indianapolis’s local Black history by browsing through these online portals, digitized newspapers and documents, photo galleries, artifact collections, images, documents, and more.

Digital Indy Archive

  • Crispus Attucks High School Year Books
    In 1927, Crispus Attucks High School opened its doors as Indianapolis’ first and only all-Black high school.
  • Black History, Indianapolis History
    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.
  • Indianapolis Public Library African American History Committee
    Find information here about past AAHC events, lectures, and exhibits. View posters, programs, news items, and compilations of African American authors and illustrators.

Encyclopedia of Indianapolis

To learn even more about fascinating and inspiring black history makers, visit the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library. The Center is dedicated to celebrating the vibrant and resilient heritage and triumphs of those born of African roots.

Local Black History – Indiana

Indiana Historical Bureau
Being Black in Indiana
Highlights the Ordinance of 1787, Article XIII of the Indiana Constitution of 1851, and 1816 Constitution and the impact on fleeing enslaved people and black settlers in the state of Indiana.

Indiana Historical Society
Early Black Settlements by County
Explore Early Black Settlements by County including the town of Bridgeport (Sunnyside or Westview), located in Wayne Township in Marion County.

Indiana Historical Society
Mark A. Lee LGBT Photo Collection
Explore the Indiana LGBTQ Collecting Initiative and Digital Image Collection containing various oral history interview excerpts and photographs featuring some of our local Indy African American residents.

Indiana Landmarks
Black Heritage Preservation Program: Combating Erasure of Black History with Eunice Trotter (Slide Presentation)

Indiana Memory Hosted Digital Collections
Urban Displacement and the Making of a University IUPUI (1964-1990)
“You will find correspondence related to property purchases, campus planning documents, assessments of home and business values, abstracts of title, oral histories, and a few items collected by administrators that show community discontent.”

Indiana University’s Portal to Professional Education
Indianapolis African American Heritage
This is a self-paced FREE online course. Credit: None. If you don’t have an IU account, create a free IU Guest account to enroll in the course. The course content is offered under a Public Domain.

Indiana Humanities
Drag Resistance and Worker Solidarity on Indiana Avenue
During the jazz era, Indiana Avenue became the epicenter of Black life for Indianapolis. Emerging research into this local history reveals a queer nightlife and culture moving through and amongst Indiana Avenue and Indianapolis’ Black community with visibility in the jazz clubs and city sidewalks just outside the clubs.

IUPUI ScholarWorks
The Female Impersonators of Indiana Avenue: Race, Sexuality, Gender Expression, and the Black Entertainment Industry (1911-1980s)

National Trust for Historic Preservation and Indiana Landmarks
Preserving Black Heritage in Indiana and Beyond with Tiffany Tolbert (Slide Presentation)

Black History in Indiana

Stories of Black Hoosiers living and working in Central Indiana: Clip highlights Lockfield Gardens.

Local Black History – Indianapolis

African-American Hospitals and Health Care in Early Twentieth Century
Indianapolis, Indiana, 1894-1917 by Norma B. Erickson (2016): Study – Master Thesis: African American nurses, doctors, and images of African American hospitals (Ward’s, Lincoln, and Sisters of Charity) in Indianapolis.

Hoosier State Chronicles
Digitized African American Newspapers

Indianapolis at the Time of the Great Migration, 1900-1920
Originally published in August 1996 (No. 65) Black History News & Notes, a newsletter of the Indiana Historical Society. Highlights the movement of African Americans from the South to Indianapolis and the different infrastructure, job opportunities, residential segregation, and other inequalities they encountered once they arrived in the city.

Indy Parks
Pride of the Parks Honoring Black Culture Through Indy Parks
List of parks honoring Black Indianapolis residents, contributions, and culture through Indy Parks. View the Pride of the Parks brochure.

Indy Pride
2023 Black History Month LGBTQ+ Community Spotlight
Reflect on the contributions, challenges, and history of our Black and African American community members and celebrate the achievements of activists today who continue to lead, create, and envision a better future amidst the ongoing racism in our country.

Invisible Indianapolis
Race, Heritage and Community Memory in the Circle City
Explore a brief history of African American doctors and public health in Indianapolis during the 20th century.

A Neighborhood of Saturdays
Highlights African American and Jewish community history on the Indianapolis Southside, redlining and I-70.