ICRC, Governor's office to host Black History Month Celebration

Indianapolis - The Governor's office for the State of Indiana, with help from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) and the Indiana Commission on Public Records will host the State of Indiana's Black History Month Celebration on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 in the Indiana Statehouse Rotunda at 12:00 pm.

The program will include a keynote address by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, remarks by Director and State Archivist Jim Corridan, along with words by ICRC Executive Director Jamal L. Smith. Also included in this year's program are two special presentations highlighting Leora Brown and Mary Bateman Clark.

Leora Brown
On a hill overlooking the small historic community of Corydon, with its historic capitol building and downtown shoppes, there stands a testament to the motivation and inspiration of African-American children taught during the days of segregation. It is Leora Brown School, a simple one-room wood structure built in 1891 for the education of black children. It represents one of Indiana’s longest standing black schools, and serves as a monument of the inspirational teaching of Leora Brown. Maxine Brown, a proud descendent of Leora Brown, will share with the audience the story of the Leora Brown School and the Indiana African American Heritage Trail.

Mary Bateman Clark
In 1975, Eunice Trotter founded Mary Bateman Clark Enterprises where she has worked to incorporate the history of African Americans in the State of Indiana into mainstream U.S. History. Born a slave in Kentucky, Mary Bateman Clark was brought to Indiana where she sued one of the most significant leaders in the Old Northwest Territory of the time, the early 1800s. Her lawsuit, seeking her freedom from an indentured servitude contract, was filed in 1821 in the Knox County Circuit Court in Vincennes, Indiana. She lost, but appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court then at Corydon and won the precedent-setting case affirming Indiana’s legal standing on the issues of slavery and indentured servitude. Her case helped stop slavery, under the guise of indentured servitude, from becoming acceptable in Indiana.

For those unable to attend the Black History Month Celebration a display for each of these women will be showcased in the Statehouse Rotunda throughout the month of February.

Indiana Civil Rights Commission
The Indiana Civil Rights Commission enforces Indiana Civil Rights Laws and provides education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers and visitors to the State of Indiana.