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CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION AND LITERATURE REVIEW

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO:  Talkin’ ‘Bout Revolution?: The Political and Cultural Moderation of Indianapolis’ African-American Community

 

 

            Indianapolis’ African-American residents watched in dismay and horror in the mid-sixties when cities such as Newark, Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Watts burned and fellow blacks destroyed neighborhoods, residences and businesses.  Indianapolis was fortunate, as there was no organized violence in the city until 1969.  Indianapolis was different than other major metropolitan areas because the majority of the black population was not crammed into massive public housing projects or high-rise apartments.  Although most blacks were confined to the Indiana Avenue corridor, Representative William Crawford believes it was the horizontal nature of the city that prevented widespread violence and strife.  Crawford said,

Looking at Indianapolis, we’re not a vertical city, we’re a horizontal city. We’re not stacked on top of each other.  Everybody, rich or poor, had some green space that they could access.  There was not that kind of tension that would arise out of places in more urban communities with a high population density and a high concentration of underprivileged people.[1]

 

Furthermore, most African Americans came from strong, intact families where the father went to work everyday.  Most had decent jobs and a strong work ethic, and if one needed a job, there was usually one available in the automotive industry, state government, or one of the many packing plants in the city.  The unemployment rate in Indianapolis was the lowest it had been since the early 1950s, so there were few people out of work, hanging out on street corners and looking to make trouble.[2] 

After 1968 tensions within the African-American community began to grow.  Disdain for the mayor’s office, apprehension over interstate construction and downtown development, and a rise in poverty, violent crime, and drugs all took their toll on the local black community.  Black angst came to a head in June 1969 with a riot in the Lockefield Gardens area at the north end of Indiana Avenue.  Although small, the riot indicated growing dissent and anger in the black community.  African Americans made several small gains in the community during the 1960s, including the removal of restrictive housing covenants allowing blacks to move into nicer neighborhoods.  But housing desegregation, combined with interstate construction, downtown development, and rises in poverty, drugs, and violence nearly pulled the community apart at its seams.  By 1968-69, the African-American community was spread throughout the entire city rather than in isolated areas, yet the community’s identity held together. 

            To argue that Indianapolis soul music was modest in message because of the moderation of Indianapolis’ black community, it is necessary to discuss the state of Indianapolis’ black community from 1968 to 1974 from a political and social perspective.  Despite perceived injustices on behalf of local government and construction projects that ripped apart the Indiana Avenue neighborhood, Indianapolis’ African-American community remained remarkably calm.[3]  The Black Power Movement, including the Black Panthers and other militant groups, did not gain a strong foothold, and that is one reason why Indianapolis remained relatively tranquil.  Indianapolis soul music was moderate in message because its black community was moderate in its political stance despite the tensions it faced.

 

Institutional Changes in Indianapolis’ African-American Community

Throughout the twentieth century, Indianapolis’ African-American community worked diligently for respect, equal rights, and an opportunity to be successful in a city where it had long been neglected and repressed.  When African Americans first came to Indianapolis in the mid-nineteenth century, they were relegated to the swamps in the western part of the city, which is where the Indiana Avenue neighborhood eventually came to be.  Prejudice was a dominant factor in the lives of many African Americans; blacks were discriminated against in nearly every facet of life, from renting and purchasing real estate to finding jobs.  However, as the twentieth century progressed, life began to improve for African Americans.  Jobs were plentiful and pay adequate in the many automobile factories and meat packing plants during the sixties.  Gradual desegregation of housing and neighborhoods afforded blacks the opportunity to spread out in the city.[4]  Despite these signs of hope, things began to turn for the worse again in the late 1960s.  With housing desegregation in place, new problems began to arise.  A new city-county government called Unigov took away much of the political power blacks had achieved throughout the last few decades.  State and federal construction projects split the traditional west side African-American community in two, displacing hundreds of residents and eventually forcing dozens of businesses to shut their doors.  The late sixties and early seventies were times of great turmoil in Indianapolis, yet the city’s African Americans maintained their moderate political, cultural, and social views as they dealt with the problems before them.

By 1968, African Americans in Marion County were becoming the base of the city’s Democratic majority.  Neighborhoods heavily populated by African Americans were known to swing entire elections towards the Democratic side.  The population of African Americans in Indianapolis was ever-growing as well, as blacks made up 27 percent of the voter base, up from 21 percent in 1960 and 15 percent in 1950.   The improving political influence of Indianapolis’ African-American community took a tremendous blow in 1969, however, with the formation of the unified city-county government, or Unigov. [5]  

After the 1968 elections, Republicans led by recently elected Mayor Richard Lugar controlled most of the political entities in Marion County and Indiana, including the Governor’s Mansion, the Indianapolis City Council, the Marion County Council and both houses of General Assembly.  In fact, Lugar was only the third Republican mayor in Indianapolis since 1925.  With this stronghold in place, Mayor Lugar set about his plan to consolidate the legislative and executive bodies of the city of Indianapolis and Marion County, creating a single strong council and single county-wide executive.[6] 

Despite promises of equity and fairness, Unigov was met with staunch resistance from both Marion County Democrats and Indianapolis’ black population.  Democrats called the proposal “Unigrab” based on the substantial advantage gained by Republicans in shifting power to the substantially white outlying areas of Marion County.  The addition of 250,000 additional white constituents to the Indianapolis voting registers was of great concern to the African-American community.  Few blacks lived in outlying areas.  In fact 87 percent of Marion County’s African-American population lived in Center Township.  In 1969, 27 percent of the voting base within Indianapolis was black; by 1970, after Unigov came into effect, blacks made up only 18 percent of the voting public within Marion County.[7]  Although Lugar still contends today that diluting minority voter strength was not a goal of Unigov, prominent black citizens and activists such as Willard Ransom, Sr. disagree.  Ransom, head of the local NAACP in the 1960s, felt Unigov was the death knell for Indiana Avenue and markedly changed Indianapolis’ black community.  In an interview he recalled that “Lugar brought the worst curse on all of us – Unigov.  We fought him on that but he got it through.  That brought the outlying areas of the city to vote.  [Unigov] was the big thing that Lugar did that was bad for blacks.”[8]  Black political clout and blacks’ growing majority within the Democratic party, which until Lugar’s election controlled the city of Indianapolis, was gone by 1970.

After Unigov, blacks were a minority people represented by a minority Democratic party that did not return to power in Indianapolis until the 1980s.  This disfranchisement in the city led to growing malaise within the community.  Many of Unigov’s actions left thousands of African Americans wondering if their leaders cared for their needs.  In 1969, as Mayor Lugar held town meetings on the Unigov issue, black residents became livid about what they saw as his uncaring attitude towards the African-American community.  To some, he seemed more intent on solidifying his power base than being able to relate to and assist the black community.[9]  In April, hundreds stormed out of a town meeting after the mayor refused to comment on how Unigov might disfranchise the majority of the black community.  Richard Bridgewater of the Black Coalition accosted Lugar on the Unigov issue, claiming he cared more for his pet project than for the thousands of blacks living in squalor. He identified a variety of issues on which Lugar’s administration fell short.  In an interview with the Recorder, Bridgewater noted, “The city has chosen to build highways without creating or locating adequate housing for displaced people.  Slumlords, where are you now?  The city and state have rejected the need for quality education for anyone as evidenced by this past legislature.  The police continue to be reactionary and racist as demonstrated by the Shortridge [High School] incident.”[10]  The Shortridge incident, which occurred in March 1969, resulted in the arrests of several prominent black activists, including Ben Bell and the Reverend Luther Hicks, who were peacefully protesting the three-day suspensions given to a group of black students for disrupting a school concert.  The police came in and used “undue force” to arrest protesters.  An onlooker called the episode “the most brutal thing I’ve ever witnessed in my life.”[11]  This incident was an example of the Indianapolis Police Department (IPD) and local government overreacting to a situation involving black protest, and it added more fuel to the fire of discontent growing throughout the black community.  The discontent stemmed from the realization that their limited political power was dwindling, and they could not address issues like community loss, education, and other issues that mattered to blacks.

            Not only did African Americans see the lessening of their political power during the late 1960s, but they also witnessed the deterioration of their historic Indiana Avenue community.  One reason for the great change in the Indiana Avenue neighborhood was the desegregation of Indianapolis neighborhoods.  When Indianapolis was settled in the nineteenth century, the Indiana Avenue area was a mosquito-infested swamp deemed unsuitable for mass settlement.  However, with restrictive housing covenants and overt racism keeping blacks from inhabiting white neighborhoods, blacks were left with few options and eventually took up residence in the Indiana Avenue area.  The blacks who did live outside the area commonly paid up to 21 percent more than white residents for a comparable property.[12]  Until the early 1960s, de facto segregation was prevalent throughout the city.  This concentrated black residences and businesses in one area, making Indiana Avenue the economic, social and cultural focus of the black community.  Black-owned grocery stores, drug stores, clothing stores, and of course nightclubs, ran the entire length of Indiana Avenue.  Crispus Attucks High School graduate and NBA legend Oscar Robertson believes that the Avenue was created by the white community in order to contain local blacks.  He said, “Indiana Avenue was the center of everything for black people.  It seems that the white power structure said, ‘OK, if you’re going to do it, do it right here so we can watch you.’”[13]   

Although the segregation present in Indianapolis during the 1950s and 60s was never an official policy, it was omnipresent in the lives of most African-Americans.  The majority of African-American citizens lived either in the Indiana Avenue area or near Martindale Avenue on the east side of Indianapolis.  Several restaurants, including the Evans Restaurant on College Avenue, refused to serve blacks as late as the 1950s, while the Riverside Amusement Park allowed black customers only one day a year.[14]  The restrictive housing covenants that kept blacks out of most neighborhoods began to collapse, however, in the 1950s.  By this time, many African-Americans had well-paying jobs and were able to buy houses outside of the Indiana Avenue area. The area between 30th and 38th Streets, from Meridian Street on the east to Northwestern Avenue, became the new area for black houses, small businesses, and nightclubs. 

Another factor in the deterioration of Indiana Avenue was the construction of the inner loop of Interstate 65.  During the mid-1960s, there was more interstate construction in Marion County than any other county in the United States.[15]  This construction greatly altered the racial geography of Indianapolis. Despite community efforts and the involvement of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) on behalf of the local Homes Before Highway Commission, the highway split the Westside black community in two.  Indiana State Representative William Crawford, a former resident of Lockefield Gardens, believed this was the biggest generator of change within the black community.  In a 1994 interview, Crawford said, “The strain occurred when they ran the inner-loop of I-65 right through the heart of the African-American community and that disrupted and displaced a lot of people.  That was the catalyst of the deterioration process.”[16]  Not only were people displaced, but also the city of Indianapolis offered them little help.  Despite an influx of federal money, and the construction of new housing, it remains unclear whether or not the city used any money to house those repositioned from the Indiana Avenue neighborhood.[17]

            The construction of the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis campus also caused great consternation along Indiana Avenue.  Beginning in 1962, the university gradually began acquiring property in the area, and although no one was forced out, the residential community began to erode.  By 1971, IUPUI had purchased 751 parcels of land, mainly single-family houses, but also taverns, liquor stores and several churches.[18] Those in the black community appeared bitter about the land takeover, accusing the city of allowing IUPUI to expand and modernize while doing nothing to improve life for the residents of the area.[19]  Many feared that some of their local landmarks, namely Lockefield Gardens and the 11th Street YMCA, faced elimination, while others came to the realization that they would have to leave their homes.  “They [were] not going to put 30 to 40 thousand people in the Indiana Purdue and hospital complex and leave [that] many Negroes in the vicinity,” one resident concluded.[20]  By 1970, 75 percent of Indiana Avenue inhabitants were tenants, many times transients with little interest in community preservation.  Owners of these houses rarely lived on the Avenue anymore, so when word got around that IUPUI was starting to purchase homes along the Avenue, landlords flocked to the IUPUI Real Estate Office looking for the best deal.  High renter turnover, low rate of return on rent, and lack of social supports prompted landlords to sell out.  IUPUI then took over the properties, essentially becoming the landlord for thousands of people.  Although IUPUI claimed their relocation was done in a humane way, the school was placed in an “exposed position” to take the blame for the problems caused by the displacement.  According to former university administrator Charles Hardy, IUPUI forced no one from their residence until they found alternative housing, oftentimes with help from the university.[21] 

            Socioeconomic factors of the time, along with the infringement of IUPUI, I-65, and housing desegregation, prompted many residents to leave Indiana Avenue, decreasing the population drastically.  From 1960 to 1970, each Indiana Avenue census tract lost over 2,000 residents, although the percentage of black residents in the area remained consistent since whites also left. (See Table 1.) A lack of quality housing was also an issue, as properties around the Indiana Avenue neighborhood became decrepit and many were condemned, vacated, and eventually destroyed.  Although IUPUI helped many families relocate, there were others who could not afford to do so.  Aside from Lockefield Gardens, there was little or no public housing, and nearly one-third of families were living in poverty.[22] 

Table 1

Racial Breakdown and Population Change in Indiana Avenue Census Tracts, 1960 & 1970

1960

 

 

 

TRACT

3534

3535

3540

TOTAL #

3,185

7,473

3,849

WHITE

362

77

111

BLACK

2,823

7,388

3,737

% BLACK

88.6

98.9

97.1

1970

 

 

 

TOTAL #

965

5,087

1,175

WHITE

282

16

22

BLACK

649

5,066

1,151

% BLACK

67.3

99.6

98.0

Source: Table P-1, “General Characteristics of the Population,” and Table P-5 “General Characteristics of the Negro Population,” Census Tracts: Indianapolis, Indiana Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, April 1962 and 1972).   Please refer to Appendix A, Map 4 for census tract locations.

 

                       

A clear change became evident in the location of Indianapolis’ black population between 1960 and 1970.  A close examination of U.S. census data reveals the migration of black population away from Indiana Avenue and towards 30th Street.  Although this neighborhood never reached the pinnacle of community pride that Indiana Avenue had in the 1930s, it became another large black settlement in Indianapolis.   

Although the percentage of black residents in the Indiana Avenue area remained steady, the 1970 census shows a drastic increase in the number of African Americans living in areas north of 30th Street formerly inhabited by a predominantly white population. (See Table 2.)  Despite a massive influx of African Americans into these areas, population numbers remained steady or dropped because most whites moved out as blacks moved in.  Thus in some tracts, the percentage of black residents increased dramatically. 

Table 2

Racial Breakdown and Population Change in New Entertainment District Census Tracts, 1960 & 1970

1960

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRACT

3501

3505

3508

3509

3510

3511

3512

3513

3514

3515

3516

3517

3518

TOTAL #

3,012

3,907

3,305

3,465

6,284

6,250

5,933

2,261

3,609

3,097

8,059

9,670

3,498

WHITE

381

3,374

1,352

3,439

3,274

388

273

1

68

2103

4,833

4,209

3

BLACK

2,625

521

1,949

18

3,006

5,858

5,651

2,259

3,538

976

3,190

5,449

3,494

% BLACK

87.2

13.3

59.0

0.5

47.8

93.7

95.2

99.9

98.0

31.5

39.6

56.3

99.9

1970

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL #

2,543

4,305

4,383

4,724

5,798

4,538

5,009

1,570

2,237

2,427

5,632

7,674

2,058

WHITE

63

440

193

345

1,008

107

70

3

10

418

1,037

358

2

BLACK

2,471

3,831

4,173

4,372

4,777

4,425

4,932

1,566

2,220

2,000

4,582

7,308

2,054

% BLACK

97.2

89.0

95.2

92.5

82.4

97.5

98.5

99.7

99.2

82.4

81.4

95.2

99.8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chg. In %

Black Pop.

 

+10.0

+75.7

+ 36.2

+92.0

+34.6

+3.8

+3.3

- 0.2

+1.2

+50.9

+41.8

+38.9

- 0.1

Source: Table P-1, “General Characteristics of the Population,” and Table P-5,  “General Characteristics of the Negro Population,” Census Tracts: Indianapolis, Indiana Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, April 1962 and 1972).  Please refer to Appendix A, Map 4 for census tract locations.

 

In the area bound by 30th, 38th, and Meridian Streets, and Northwestern Avenue, whites went from being a clear majority to being almost non-existent by 1970.  This “white flight” was caused by the encroachment of a rapidly increasing and recently relocated black population.  This change, along with the construction of I-65 and IUPUI, dissolved the old Indiana Avenue community and introduced new social and economic tensions.  These political, economic, and social tensions frustrated the black community, yet they formed a moderate response to these problems with hopes to improve their situation.

 

The Black Response

Although the African-American community maintained a moderate political stance throughout the sixties, the institutional changes brought about by Unigov finally began to wear on many blacks in Indianapolis.  The historical Indiana Avenue community had begun to disperse, leading to the deterioration of the business and entertainment districts for which the area was once known for.  The community was in a constant state of flux because of these changes, yet it was subject to even more stresses.  As the sixties came to a close, the national push for militant action from Black Power advocates such Huey P. Newton, Stokely Carmichael, and others began to resonate with younger members of the local black community.  The historically moderate Indianapolis community became concerned that this rise in militancy could adversely affect their well being.  Drugs, crime, and police brutality also increased during this era, further increasing tensions in the black community.  African-American business owners and the entire Indiana Avenue business district confronted great hardships as nearly all white patronage left the area because of the fear of violence.  The area dealt with further economic depression as many business owners left the area altogether.  When faced with the dispersal of their community and a series of other political, economic, and social tensions, blacks in Indianapolis acted out their frustrations but ultimately chose a moderate response to their problems. 

Throughout the history of Indianapolis’ African-American community, local newspapers provided insight into the opinions and feelings of the local residents.  In fact, these newspapers continue to be the only substantial repository that documents Indianapolis’ African-American political opinion and black culture during the 1960s and ‘70s.  At the forefront was the Indianapolis Recorder, the city’s leading black newspaper, which chronicled African-American achievements since its inception in 1895.  Published every Saturday, the paper was the stump that black Indianapolis used to not only voice displeasure with the white establishment, but also to support and promote their city, their culture, and their community.  The paper recognized shortcomings in black housing, employment and education because that was what their “readers knew about and understood and wanted to know about.”[23]  Local newspapers illustrated how the black community dealt with both institutional changes and political, social, and economic tensions, revealing the moderate stance of Indianapolis’ black community..

            With little representation within the Indianapolis city-county government, few chances to publicly express dismay with the policies of Unigov, and a nearly total lack of coverage by the major Indianapolis newspapers, the Star and the News, African Americans relied on predominantly black newspapers as forums for discussion.  In addition to the Indianapolis Recorder, several smaller or underground newspapers were available to a younger, more militant black audience.  The monthly Participant, created in 1967, and the bi-weekly Indianapolis Free Press, first published in 1969, were the most prevalent underground publications in Indianapolis.  Both papers included news stories untouched by the mainstream Indianapolis papers and the Recorder.  Although not as militant or radical as the nationally circulated Black Panther, many blacks considered these papers to be radical because they covered topics usually ignored by the mainstream press, and they gave voice to a radical minority whose opinions did not coincide with the majority of the black population.

Black Indianapolis’ response to the Black Panthers and other militant organizations was at best limited.  Despite two underground newspapers that spoke to the benefits of black power, there was little participation and interest among the black community.  Because of this limited interest, a mostly moderate incarnation of Black Power developed in the city that seemed more intent on community improvement than revolution.  Both the Participant and the Free Press publicized the few Black Panther rallies held in Indianapolis, as well as the group’s community activities.  However, the arrival of the Black Panthers, and their activities in Indianapolis, received very little attention in the Recorder.[24]   The lack of interest in the arrival of the Black Panthers, who had made national headlines for their outspoken militant beliefs, again showed the indifference of middle-class blacks towards radical politics.  The group held weekly classes at the Eldridge Cleaver Information Center on East 23rd Street on how to deal with the “government, puppets of the power structures and the ‘pig’ police.”[25]  The Panthers saw themselves more as a community resource than a militant political group because, as Richard Pierce pointed out, Indianapolis’ African-American community would not have sanctioned nor accepted acts of violence or radicalism.  The Indianapolis Black Panthers were much less politically active than other chapters, choosing to focus more on community involvement through their children’s breakfast program.[26]

            Although not as rampant as in other major cities, police brutality was a concern for blacks in Indianapolis.  The Recorder, the Participant and the Free Press documented uprisings in response to such brutality in Fort Wayne and Louisville, as well as the “St. Valentine’s Day massacre” at the Pendleton Reformatory (a prison), which injured several black inmates.[27]   These articles alerted the Indianapolis community to police violence elsewhere in the region and covered how other black communities dealt with problems similar to what they were facing in Indianapolis.  During the 1960s, violent crime and drug abuse rose dramatically in the Indiana Avenue area and throughout Indianapolis as a whole, putting a great strain on the police department.  Perhaps fearing a large-scale riot as seen in other major metropolitan areas, the Indianapolis Police Department took action to subdue the African-American population, according to Ben Bell, director of the College Room.  He believed that the police department could only think of one way to “keep the niggers in their place,” by using guns, mace, fists and police dogs.[28]  The IPD also began to crack down on black entertainment, entering bars and after hours clubs without a warrant.  On June 8, 1969, a group of predominantly white officers entered The Place, located at 3339 Central Avenue, an after hours club that served no liquor and was a place for blacks to meet after a long night of dancing or clubbing to enjoy live music.  Police entered the building without explanation, pushing some patrons out of the way and drawing guns on others who resisted.  Officers held one band member and his wife at gunpoint, while threatening to arrest the club owner and shut the place down because officers considered it a dump and a public nuisance.  Although the incident passed without injury, it made an impression with club owner James Schaffer, who wondered in a letter to the Recorder if the IPD really wanted to improve race relations.  In his closing, Schaffer remarked “This place could end up like Watts, Detroit, or Newark.  We blacks are not going to take it like we have in the past.  The time is now for you to use some diplomacy, and my advice is to take heed.”[29]  Clearly, the relationship between the African-American community and the white-run local government was straining and it was just a matter of time before an incident, like the June 1969 riot, took place. 

            A small group of predominantly younger blacks became involved with more radical political groups and actively protested malfeasance by the IPD.  These groups identified deeper problems and sought more immediate solutions to them than older, more conservative African Americans.  They were not out to overthrow or usurp the power of the local government, although that was of great concern to the mayor’s office and the IPD. The Black Radical Action Project, led by Charles “Snooky” Hendricks, was the first black militant organization in Indianapolis and was very active in anti-war demonstrations and protests at the City-County Building.  Indianapolis Free Press reporters sought out interviews with local radicals such as Ben Bell, whose organization, the College Room, aided the fight against a “racist Amerika,” and with Black Panther members Duck Campbell and Keith Parker.[30]  These interviews illustrate that a small, radical, anti-white element was active in Indianapolis during 1969 and later years.  Bell’s interview with the Free Press indicates the disdain that portions of the community felt towards the local government and police.  These groups felt there was little being done to improve living conditions in the city, and they were greatly concerned about the lack of political power held by African Americans.  Bell’s interview took place in April 1969, two months before the Indiana Avenue riot.  He offered a chilling prediction of what was to come, remarking, “Indianapolis is like any other city in that as soon as the people realize the problems they’re faced with, you will have social disorder (or race riot) or whatever you want to call it.  But as soon as people find out what is happening with city hall and city government the city will not be unblemished.”[31]

In June 1969, a riot broke out in the Indiana Avenue area.   As more residents and businesses left Indiana Avenue and frustration over living conditions grew, tension increased on the Avenue.  The riot began when two police officers were called to respond to a fight in the Lockefield Gardens complex, a traditionally working-class area that was seldom affected by crime or violence. As the officers restored peace, a local youth swiped one officer’s gun and headed towards an area where there were small children playing.  Officers pursued the youth and fired several shots in the direction of the children, which drew the ire of many residents.  As these residents grew angrier, they took to the streets and eventually turned to violence, smashing storefronts and setting several fires.  The police and black community leaders subdued the crowd, but not before the riot damaged several local businesses. 

Newspaper articles and eyewitness accounts identified the two white officers as intruders seeking to solve an incident among blacks that did not require their assistance.  Making it worse, these officers chased a young man through a playground and fired three shots, threatening innocent children and the community itself.  These actions served as the catalyst for unrest when combined with the many institutional changes occurring within the African-American community.  The riot showed that despite the moderation of the black community, when pushed, Indianapolis’ African-American population would fight back and defend their own.  Blacks felt misrepresented, uncared for, mistreated by the mayor’s office and local officials, and perhaps for good reason.  The white-run city government brought about several changes that greatly altered the residences, political power and history of Indianapolis African-American community from 1968 to 1974.

Still, even militant blacks reacted to the riot with caution.  Although these groups preached black unity and black pride, and they consistently railed against the local police and government, they were not outspoken proponents of violence or property damage.  During the June 1969 riot along Indiana Avenue, Bell, John Lands of the Our Place market, and several Black Panthers played a major role in keeping rioters off the streets and from destroying and looting businesses and residences along the Avenue.[32]  Former Black Panther Makau Gaiti recalled, “We were trying to calm the people down and tell them they were hurting their community, that people in the community weren’t the enemy.”[33]  At the forefront of a growing malaise among the black community, these community action groups fought to protect the black community and improve the quality of life.  They recognized the possibility of violence because they drew attention to the racism around them, but these groups did not condone violence towards fellow blacks, or the destruction of black-owned businesses.  Clint Jones, a former activist, said “We all used to say ‘burn baby burn,’ but then we realized we were burning our own shit, so we stopped.  It was just silly to think that this was a good way to protest.” [34]

Although the Recorder and local underground papers carried extensive coverage of the June 1969 riot on the front pages of their respective publications, the Star and the News relegated riot coverage to the back page.  The majority of coverage by the Star and the News concerned itself more with the actions of the Indianapolis Police Department, Mayor Lugar, and how they communicated with the governor’s office.  Although local black leaders and several Black Panthers were acknowledged for their actions in restoring peace, the police and fire departments received greater acclaim for “getting the trouble area cordoned off.”[35] There were no statements from leaders within the black community or any reactions from Indiana Avenue residents, only comments from Mayor Lugar and several white police officers.  With the rise of violence in other similarly sized cities, the article tried to alleviate the concerns of readers who were afraid that widespread panic and violence would come to the Circle City.  Not once does the article deal with the effects of the riot on Indiana Avenue businesses, business owners, or residents, nor does it address how black citizens reacted to the event.[36] 

Although the Lockefield riot indicated the ability of the black community to react violently when threatened, the event also emphasized the deep-seated moderation of the community.  First, the riot itself received very little press coverage in the Recorder.  Published weekly, the Recorder only discussed the riot in one issue.  To the editors, and most likely to many residents, the riot was a one-time event and they saw no need to discuss it further.[37] Second, the riot lasted only for several hours and was concentrated in the Indiana Avenue area.  Riots in cities like Watts, Newark, and Detroit sometimes lasted for days on end, destroying millions of dollars in property and taking many lives.  Along Indiana Avenue, rioters looted several businesses and attempted to start fires, but they were quickly extinguished.  The riot did not spread throughout the city nor did it jeopardize businesses or residences in other black neighborhoods.  According to Representative William Crawford, the Black Radical Action Project and other militants attempted to spread the violence throughout the city, but cooler heads prevailed and the riot stayed centralized on the near west side.[38] 

Despite the actions of the militant Black Radical Action Project, many of Indianapolis’ black radicals helped quell the riot rather than declare open revolt.  Activists like Ben Bell, who had earlier warned the city that something like this might happen, hurried to the Avenue to restore peace.  Although his radical politics set him apart from the majority of Indianapolis’ blacks, he realized the importance of maintaining the community and not destroying it.  Our Place organizer John Lands and several ministers also played a key role in helping bring the riot to a peaceful ending.  In most cities, riots ended when white police officers entered the area and shot rubber bullets or tear-gassed the rioters.  Indianapolis black leaders called for law and order themselves and sought a solution from within the community itself.  

The brief coverage of the Indiana Avenue riot in the Recorder further signified the moderation of the newspaper’s audience.  Middle class blacks were the core audience of the paper, and for the most part, this group was embarrassed by and wanted to forget the riot.  The Recorder appealed to the majority of Indianapolis’ black residents by finding a political middle ground.  With the exception of letters to the editor and Andrew W. Ramsey’s “Voice From the Gallery” column, there was rarely a harsh indictment of the city government or an in-depth study of the African-American quality of life in Indianapolis.[39] The paper treated the arrival of the Black Panthers with as much notice as wedding or cotillion announcements.  Much like the city’s locally produced soul and funk music, the Recorder serves as a reflection of the African-American population’s political moderation.

The paper also treated Black Power and black pride as something alien, further indicating the cultural tensions that existed between young and old African Americans.  Although advocates of Black Power wore Afros and dashikis and listened to soul, fashion and music did not necessarily indicate a growing trend in radicalism and militancy.   Nevertheless, the growing popularity of soul music, dashikis, and the Afro hairstyle among young blacks greatly concerned the older generation, who believed that over-zealous or militant young blacks could undo all they had worked for since the 1950s, including housing desegregation and increased representation in the city government.  The content of the Recorder reflected this attitude.  The only materials directly appealing to a younger audience were small articles on the local music scene and an in-depth recap of high school and college sports.  Letters to the editor covered many topics, but many were from concerned older citizens who did not understand or felt threatened by the younger set.  They identified soul music, for instance, as a particular cause for concern.  One reader wondered why Indianapolis needed a new FM radio station that featured soul music.  WTLC-FM powered up for the first time in 1968, much to the delight of a listening audience that felt neglected by other popular music stations, yet some residents worried about the messages of black power contained in soul music.  The concerned citizen, who was “disgusted at the programming” put on by the station, wrote “…if and when the station in question is censored or better still cancelled, there will be a very small minority of the 100,000 soul brothers he [the station manager] thinks are listening who will even miss it.”[40]  Although the station and its programming were welcomed by younger blacks, older middle-class blacks were not comfortable with it.  Nor were they comfortable with other nods to Black Nationalism and the militancy it implied.

The latest fads in clothing and hairstyles concerned older blacks.  They saw these new styles as key components of a militant reaction to national and political changes and feared the city’s young blacks were taking a radical turn.  In 1968, the Recorder dedicated nearly an entire front page to discussing a new trend in African-American hair care: the Afro.  The natural look was new to Indianapolis in 1968, at least to the older middle class set that the Recorder saw as its core audience. The paper felt the need to explain the Afro, what it meant to black culture, and what local residents thought about it.  The article associated the hairdo with a definite rise in racial pride and debunking of the “white is right” theory that made natural, kinky black hair seem ugly and shameful.  “Young people by the thousands,” the author noted, “have discarded what was at one time considered household necessities: hot combs, and curling irons, hair pomades, and hot towels.” [41]  Although mainstream ideas were changing and younger blacks had already embraced the hairdo, the paper still presented the concept of the Afro as foreign to its audience and even a political threat.  In a later issue, a letter to the editor conveyed the concerns of a local resident over the popularity of the Afro.  She wrote,  “I am rather fed up with the Afro fad.  I have no intention of feeling guilty about the way I wear my hair….I dress to please my husband who does not care for the Afro style, and I refuse to break up my home over a hairdo.”[42]  This woman was most likely offended by the assertion that if one does not wear their hair naturally, then they are submitting to the white standard of beauty and are not part of a united black community.[43]  By 1968 and 1969, the trend of hair straightening fell across the country.  Even James Brown gave up his prized coiffure in favor of a tight Afro to show his black pride.  Many communities celebrated this trend, yet in Indianapolis, older blacks stayed true to a traditional hairdo and seemed to view black pride with suspicion.

As the voice for Indianapolis’ African-American community, the Recorder staff oftentimes raised concerns about the status of life along the Avenue.  In some instances, columnists became spokespeople for the community, or at least for its middle class majority.  Readers trusted the opinions of these writers.  When Indiana Avenue began to decline in the late sixties, The Saint, one black voice among the many, took it upon himself to alert his readers of the forthcoming peril.  J. Saint Clair Gibson was critical not only of perceived shortfalls in city government but also the poor behavior of Indianapolis’ black population.  The Saint’s “The Avenoo” began in the 1930s.  He knew the history and importance of the Avenue and did not want to see it die.  In the 1930s and ‘40s, the Avenue was the centerpiece of the community, giving Indianapolis a nationally known landmark to be proud of.  However, as early as 1941, residents along Indiana Avenue feared their beloved “Funky Broadway” was nearing its end.  In an open letter to their readership, Recorder editors proposed the question, “Is the Avenue Doomed?” in the January 4, 1941 edition.  In reply, The Saint expressed concern over the many sordid acts observed during his time. “We have witnessed many good fights and shootin’ scrapes…we have peeped out of our windows and seen men disrobed to their underwear and have stood helpless while a drunk was having his pockets picked,” he wrote. “[We have] seen women fight over women, ditto for men; had a mind to call the police, but changed my mind…heard young boys and girls use all kind of profanity at all times.”  In 1941 and again in 1970 when the Recorder reprinted the letter, The Saint expressed concern that non-residents came to the Avenue to raise hell and then returned to their homes in other sections of the city with no remorse.  However, the most troubling aspect of the turmoil on the Avenue was that it was also caused by “members of our group,” Indianapolis’ black population.  No matter what the police and city authorities did to shut down taverns and nightclubs, it was the violence and vice brought to the Avenue by its black patrons that most threatened its livelihood.[44]

The reprinting of The Saint’s letter was fitting considering the dilapidated state of Indiana Avenue in 1970.  Building condemnations, widespread poverty, increasing violence, and drug use racked the neighborhood, driving away potential consumers and visitors.  By placing some of the blame for problems in the community on Indianapolis’ black population, The Saint raised a moderate, if not conservative opinion.  If The Saint had placed blame solely on Unigov, IPD, or white residents of Indianapolis, it would have indicated a much more radical stance.  In fact, The Saint encouraged reaching out to whites, not for a handout, but rather to make them feel comfortable enough to visit the area and put money into the local economy. 

The Saint saw the rise of violence amongst blacks and the lack of patronage along the Avenue as a major cause for its demise.  For example, after several white persons were attacked during a basketball game at Crispus Attucks High School, the Saint was very critical of the incident and warned of the consequences.  He wrote, “Believe it or not – Attucks will be BLACK-BALLED…and there is nothing you can do about it…but sit on the sidelines and weep real tears for the unholy behavior of your gallant black offspring.  This thing will not only hurt ATTUCKS but all the black-owned taverns on this side of town and beyond.”[45]  During the heyday of Indiana Avenue, it was not uncommon for white couples and college students to frequent the jazz clubs and cafes along the Avenue.  However, with the increase in violence white attendance dropped dramatically because patrons were afraid to enter black neighborhoods.  Violence towards whites also extended to those in the service industry, who began to avoid the Avenue because of the danger and refused to deliver goods to the area.[46]  Unlike more radical blacks, The Saint understood white patronage as central to the strength of black businesses and the black community and he argued that its decline would only expedite the deterioration of the Avenue. Community preservation was more important to The Saint than Black Power.[47] 

Although increased violence greatly affected the economy of the Avenue, residential dispersion also took its toll.  Black families became spread out throughout the city and were no longer compelled to rely upon their own community for goods and services.  The decline in black patronage extended to the retail market as well.  Those who were unable to reach the larger retail outlets in the outlying areas of the city depended on Indiana Avenue to provide for them, as it had when they were young.  The National Jacket Company, a manufacturer of outdoor work clothes, was one business affected by the population outflow.  The business, a staple on the 200 block of Indiana Avenue for over seventy years, closed its doors in 1971.  In her memoirs, Elizabeth Enix, daughter of the owner, reflected on the economic downfall of Indiana Avenue.  She said, “My father closed his business in 1971.  Unfortunately, the effects of desegregation chipped away at the profits of black businesses along Indiana Avenue.”[48]  Blacks understood the problems created by desegregation, and despite their frustration, the majority did not turn to the radical political element.  Instead, blacks blamed themselves for their problems and widely criticized those within the community who did not put money back in.

During 1970, The Saint lamented the loss of a black owned business on almost a weekly basis.  Unlike some in the community, he realized that without support from within the black community, especially younger blacks, many African-American owned businesses would suffer.  As it was, there was little white patronage and without community support, businesses would close.  The closing of a filling station at 22nd Street and Central Avenue was especially troubling to the Saint.  He could not understand how every street in the black community could be lined with cars and yet this filling station failed.  According to him, blacks were only concerned about supporting black businesses that were illegally run.  The Saint wrote, “Negroes just won’t support black enterprises unless it’s a ticket joint, bootleggin’ joint or gamblin’ joint.”[49]   Most, if not all, retail stores along the Avenue closed down or were looted out of business by the early 1970s, forcing residents to look elsewhere for household items.  Very few new businesses opened during the late sixties or early seventies because there was no customer base; if they did not live away from the Avenue, they certainly had begun shopping elsewhere.  The many nightclubs along Indiana Avenue also faced a decrease in patronage.  Local residents began to look elsewhere for live music and entertainment, taking their leisure dollars to new and exciting clubs in other areas of the city.

 

The Last Years of Indiana Avenue

The institutional, social, and political stresses that affected the Indiana Avenue community also took their toll on the local entertainment scene.  In the 1930s, the Avenue boasted nearly twenty clubs where live music could be heard on a nightly basis.[50]  However by 1966, that number had dwindled to five clubs, and by 1974 it had shrunk to four.[51]  With the end of de facto segregation in certain areas of Indianapolis during the early 1960s, black residents could choose from a greater variety of clubs outside of Indiana Avenue.  This, coupled with the migration of the black population away from the area, greatly affected nightclub attendance on the Avenue.  Despite heavy advertising and press releases from Indiana Avenue clubs in the Recorder, club goers now preferred the 19th Hole, the Hub-Bub, and others north of 30th Street over the clubs on The Avenue such as the Blue Eagle and the Place to Play, that their parents frequented. As of 1971, it was uncommon to see an ad in the Recorder for an Indiana Avenue club.  According to Charles Hardy, head of the Indiana University Real Estate Office, the Indiana Avenue area had become the “worst slum in town” by 1967.[52]  Poverty made living conditions horrendous and the overall appearance of the Avenue became unsightly.  Most residents had little civic pride in their domicile or their neighborhood.  Some club-goers patronized “ofay,” or white run businesses, altogether going outside the black community.  The Saint wrote, “blacks are packin’ ofay joints around the town (and they aren’t advertising for your business – you are going voluntarily – like hogs to slaughter).”[53]  The Saint believed that blacks should put money back into the community and support their own rather than white nightclub owners. 

The rise of drugs scared off many would be patrons.  Musician Jimmy Guilford linked the fall of the Avenue with the sudden increase in drug use at the beginning of the 1960s, noting that addicts would prey on white couples who came to the Avenue on the weekends for jazz or on those blacks, like Guilford, who were from outside the area and looked like they had some money.[54]  Although the clubs offered shows nearly every night, weekends still drew the biggest audiences.  However, according to Charles Hardy, a frequent visitor to many homes along the Avenue, the weekend was also the most dangerous time because some people were drinking heavily or using drugs, and fights and domestic quarrels occurred frequently.[55] 

Throughout all these tensions, Indianapolis’ African-American population remained moderate.  The impact of Black Power on the cultural history of the city is visible from its music and clothing to its movies and art, but local responses to black power, to the Lockefield riot in 1969, and to other tensions within the black community remained moderate. As a by-product of the changing face of Center Township and downtown Indianapolis, the downfall of Indiana Avenue had far reaching effects, not only for the neighborhood’s residents, but also for musicians in Indianapolis.  The nightclubs they grew used to playing in for years were now dilapidated and could no longer draw an adequate crowd, so they moved along with the population to nightclubs in different parts of the city.  The club scene changed greatly, with music still at the forefront, but variety shows, special theme dances and contests added to draw in greater audiences.  Indianapolis musicians tailored their sets to adhere to the desires and wants of their audience, and with the onset of the 1970s, music with an edge, both lyrically and musically, became the preferred sound.  Audiences wanted music that reflected their concerns within the community and that made them feel better about themselves and their role within society. Bands no longer wore matching tuxedos or suits, as dashikis and other characteristically African-American clothing became popular.  These changes illustrate the complex relationship between music and society, evident within Indianapolis throughout the latter part of the 60s and the early 70s.  The dissolving African-American community, the underlying threat of unrest, and the tensions surrounding the construction of I-65 and IUPUI made the sounds of soul appealing to a black audience looking for comfort, hope and a way to forget their problems.



[1] Interview, author with Representative William Crawford, December 20, 2002. 

[2] Ibid.  Although Representative Crawford maintained that jobs were readily available for African Americans in Indianapolis, census statistics indicate that unemployment rates among Indianapolis blacks were substantially higher than what Crawford recalled.  According to the 1970 census, taken just after Unigov was implemented, the black unemployment rate in Indianapolis was 8.3%, while Indianapolis as a whole was around 3%.  The white unemployment rate was also around 3%, and since blacks were still a minority in the city (12.7% of the population), their unemployment statistics had little bearing on the final total.  For more, see: Table 53, “Employment Status by Race, Sex, and Urban and Rural Residence” and Table 92, “Employment Characteristics of the Negro Population for Areas and Places: 1970.” 1970 Census of the Population, Volume 1: Characteristics of the Population (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, April 1973).  

[3] For more on the moderate political stance of Indianapolis’ black community, please see Emma Lou Thornbrough, Indiana Blacks in the Twentieth Century (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000). 

[4] Rachael L. Drenovsky, “The Issue Now is Open Occupancy: The Struggle for Fair Housing in Indianapolis, 1890-1968” (M.A. thesis, Indiana University at Indianapolis, 2001)

[5] William A. Blomquist, “Unigov and Political Participation” in David Bodenhamer and Robert G. Barrows, editors, Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1994), 1356.  By the late sixties, African-Americans made up 57 percent of Marion County’s Democratic voters.

[6] William A. Blomquist, “Creation of Unigov (1967-1971)” in Bodenhamer and Barrows, Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, 1351.  Fire and police departments and local school districts were not consolidated.  Also, the towns of Beech Grove, Southport, Speedway and Lawrence were not absorbed by Unigov. 

[7] Ibid, 1351.

[8] As quoted in Fred Ramos and Steve Hammer, “The Death of a Black Neighborhood: It’s A Lot Different Now Along Indiana Avenue,” NUVO Newsweekly, July 20-27, 1994.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Recorder, “Blacks Storm Out of Meeting Addressed by Mayor Lugar,” April 5, 1969. 

[11] Recorder, “Witnesses Say Teens Dragged On Steps,” March 1, 1969.

[12] Emma Lou Thornbrough, Since Emancipation: A Short History of Indiana Negroes, 1861-1963 (Indianapolis: Indiana Division, American Negro Emancipation Centennial Authority, 1963), 28.

[13] As quoted in Ramos and Hammer, “The Death of a Black Neighborhood: It’s A Lot Different Now Along Indiana Avenue,” NUVO Newsweekly, July 20-27, 1994.

[14] Interview, author with Representative William Crawford, December 20, 2002.

[15] Interview, Philip V. Scarpino and Sheila Goodenough with Charles Hardy, Head of the Real Estate Office of Indiana University at Indianapolis from 1962 to 1971, October 27, 1989, bound transcription, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, IUPUI.

[16] As quoted in Ramos and Hammer, “The Death of a Black Neighborhood,” NUVO Newsweekly, July 20-27, 1994.

[17] Kenneth L. Kusmer believes that the effect of structural forces, namely transportation, housing, and communication systems, is one of three interrelated factors that affect the African-American urban experience.  In the case of the Indiana Avenue neighborhood, the construction of the I-65 transportation system tore apart the community and forced thousands to move elsewhere in the city.  Although Kusmer argues that these structural forces are inherently non-racial, the situation in Indianapolis showed otherwise.  The interstate passed directly through an entirely black neighborhood, one that had been there for nearly one hundred years and had created its own cultural and social values.  The city could have explored other options, but chose to destroy the black neighborhood as housing had grossly deteriorated over the years. This, Kusmer states, is another factor that affects the urban experience: how the African-American community responds to their living circumstances.  Indianapolis blacks had no other choice but to develop their own set of values and beliefs since white Indianapolis essentially shunned the black community, restricting them to residing in this former mosquito-infested swamp on Indianapolis’ west side.  Along those same lines, Kusmer’s other factor affecting the African-American urban experience were external forces, in the case of Indianapolis, de facto segregation and restrictive housing covenants that kept blacks out of many residential areas.  For more, please see:  Kenneth L. Kusmer, “The Black Urban Experience in America,” in Darlene Clark Hine, ed., State of Afro-American History: Past, Present, and Future (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1986), 91-122.

[18] Interview, Philip V. Scarpino and Sheila Goodenough with Charles Hardy, Head of the Real Estate Office of Indiana University at Indianapolis from 1962 to 1971, January 3, 1990, bound transcription, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, IUPUI.

[19] As quoted by John I. Lands, executive director of the Fall Creek YMCA and founder of Our Market, in the Indianapolis Star, December 2, 1979.

[20] Recorder, “The Avenoo” column by The Saint, June 27, 1970.

[21] Interview, Scarpino and Goodenough with Charles Hardy, 1990.

[22] The mean incomes for the 1970 census tracts adjacent to Indiana Avenue were as follows: Tract 3534 - $2,152, Tract 3535 - $1,658, Tract 3540 - $1,857. “Income Characteristics of the General Population,” Census Tracts: Indianapolis, Indiana Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, April 1972). 

[23] Wilma Gibbs, “Indianapolis Recorder,” in Bodenhamer and Barrows, editors, Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, 805.

[24] Recorder, “Black Panthers Form Chapter In Our City,” November 2, 1968. 

[25] Indianapolis Free Press, “Panthers Teach People,” June 26, 1970.

[26] Richard B. Pierce, II, “Beneath the Surface: African-American Community Life in Indianapolis, 1945-1970” (Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1996), 63.  Pierce also noted that the Indianapolis chapter did not publish one single article in the Black Panther News, the group’s monthly newsletter and propaganda tool, further indicating the moderation of the Indianapolis chapter.  The tone of the Black Panther News was very revolutionary and commonly promoted violence to achieve their goals, something that did not fit in with the activities or beliefs of the Indianapolis chapter.

[27] The Participant, “St. Valentine’s Day at Pendleton,” September 26, 1969.  The incident started as a peaceful protest by black inmates wanting more black guards and counselors, improved medical treatment, better food preparation, the right to wear an Afro and greater access to black literature.  The author of the article notes that Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler was available, while Eldridge Cleaver’s Soul on Ice was outlawed.

[28] Indianapolis Free Press, “Black Leader Raps: An Interview With Ben Bell,” April 19, 1969.

[29] Recorder, “Police Brutality Charge Made by Showtime Prexy,” June 28, 1969.  It is important that the incident in question took place on June 8, roughly twenty-four hours after the unrest and violence on Indiana Avenue.

[30] Indianapolis Free Press, “Black Leader Raps,” April 19, 1969; Indianapolis Free Press, “All Power to the People: An Interview with Duck Campbell and Keith Carter,” May 6, 1970.  Carter was the student body president at Indiana University-Bloomington.

[31] Ibid.

[32] The Indianapolis Recorder, “Two Nights of Disorder Rack Westside; Calm Restored Saturday,” June 14, 1969.  Aside from the June 1969 riot, there were very few instances of property damage or vandalism reported in the Recorder or any of the Indianapolis newspapers.  The Big 10 Market, a staple at 849 Indiana Avenue for over twenty years, was firebombed in May 1969.  The white owner of the store had always felt like part of the community on the Avenue until recently when he felt threatened by the “growing wave of black militancy” in Indianapolis. Recorder, “Big 10 Market Firebombed,” May 10, 1969.

[33] Pierce, “Beneath the Surface: African-American Community Life in Indianapolis, 1945-1970,” 63. 

[34] Interview, author with Clint Jones, December 16, 2002.

[35] Indianapolis News, “Quiet Returns to Indiana Avenue,” June 6, 1969.

[36] See also Indianapolis Star, June 7, 1969; Indianapolis News, June 7, 1969; Indianapolis Star, June 8, 1969. 

[37] For more, please see Recorder issues from June 11 and June 18, 1969.

[38] Interview, author with Representative William Crawford, December 20, 2002.

[39] Recorder, “A Voice from the Gallery” column by Andrew W. Ramsey, June 14, 1969. 

[40] Recorder, “Reader Questions Need of Soul Radio Station, Negro Leaders” in “Our Readers Write” column, September 21, 1968.

[41] Recorder, “Natural Look Reflects Racial Pride,” August 17, 1968.

[42] Recorder, “Natural Hair-dos Not For Disgusted Reader,” in “Our Readers Write” column, September 21, 1968.

[43] Hank Ballard,  “How You Gonna Get Respect (If You Haven’t Cut Your Process Yet)?” (King Records KS6196, 1968).

[44] Recorder, “The Avenoo” column by the Saint, January 4, 1941, reprinted July 4, 1970. 

[45] Recorder, “The Avenoo” column by the Saint, January 11, 1970.

[46] Recorder, “The Avenoo” column by the Saint, July 25, 1970.

[47] For more, see: Harold Cruse, The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual: From its Origins to the Present (New York: William Morrow, 1967).  Cruse contended that there were two differing streams at work in the black community: assimilationist and separatist.  The assimilationist stream was more politically militant and oftentimes aligned themselves with white groups, who instead of working with blacks, instead began to oversee and manipulate blacks.  The separatist stream believed in the necessity of black oriented, black controlled economic and cultural institutions, yet submitted themselves to be governed by political parties.  Cruse believed that these competing factions had to come together for the preservation of cultural and economic institutions.  The Saint fell somewhere in between these groups, believing that blacks were plenty capable of governing themselves, but needed the help of white patronage along the Avenue to sustain to help rejuvenate and improve the economy and culture in the area.  He felt this was necessary since many blacks did not patronize black-run businesses in their own neighborhoods anymore.  Many members of the community seemed disinterested in preservation, and the community, its businesses, and culture suffered.

[48] “Memoirs of Indiana Avenue,” Elizabeth Enix papers, M756, Folder 6, Indiana Historical Society.

[49] Recorder, “The Avenoo” column by the Saint, August 15, 1970.

[50] Wilson, “The Swing Era on Indiana Avenue,” iv.

[51] Polk Indianapolis (Marion County, Ind.) City Directory (Indianapolis: R.L. Polk and Company, 1960-1974).  These particular city directories were found at the Indiana Historical Society, however, they are available at nearly every library within the city of Indianapolis in text or microfilm.

[52]  Interview, Philip V. Scarpino and Sheila Goodenough with Charles Hardy, Head of the Real Estate Office of Indiana University at Indianapolis from 1962 to 1971, October 16, 1989, bound transcription, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, IUPUI.

[53] Recorder, “The Avenoo” column by The Saint, January 11, 1970.  Twenty years earlier, The Saint admonished black social clubs for holding their Christmas gatherings in white-owned halls, asking “What is the need of Negroes investing their money in nice places if all of our top [social] clubs are going to take their $1,000 functions to ofay spots?”  Recorder, “The Avenoo” column by The Saint, January 14, 1950 as cited in Wilson, “The Swing Era on Indiana Avenue,” 128.

             [54] Interview, author with Jimmy Guilford, March 22, 2002.

[55] Interview, Scarpino and Goodenough with Charles Hardy, October 16, 1989.  This is one reason why the Saturday afternoon matinee (usually 4-7pm) became commonplace at nearly every club, since most patrons were more apt to come to the Avenue at four o’clock rather than at eleven.


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