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Black Studies: Indiana History Resources

Indiana History

The following is a selection of Lilly Library and Ramsay Archives materials related to the research of Black communities, people, sites, and history in the State of Indiana. The majority of these materials are available to check out. Some sources are available online, and some include links and additional context for some items. 

***This page is a work in progress and will be added to and adapted over the 2023 spring and summer semesters. With questions, edits, and/or additions, please email Evan Miller at***

Reference Books


Popular Nonfiction

The Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing contains numerous issues covering topics across several towns, cities, and counties across the United States. (There is one publication with images from Crawfordsville, Indiana.) The following is a selection from the series about African American sites and communities in Indiana.

Historic Sites and National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places documents sites, structures, and neighborhoods that have been submitted and officially approved by the National Park Service. Before the Internet, the Register was available via printed publication; now all current entries and applications--which include detailed physical descriptions, statements of significance, and historical summaries--are available via the National Register of Historic Places website (or check out this interactive map for accessing the National Register database). 

Over the years, not as many Black historical sites and structures--as well as buildings and grounds associated with many different communities of color--have been nominated or approved for inclusion on the National Register; therefore, the list is not a comprehensive source. The National Park Service has been working to increase representation on the National Register and currently seeks properties that reflect African American heritage. State and local organizations are also working to educate and advocate for more nominations, such as the efforts of Indiana Landmarks' Black Heritage Preservation Program.

In the 1980s, the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana (now Indiana Landmarks) and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (specifically the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology) conducted a thorough inventory of historic sites and structures on a county-level throughout the State of Indiana. These inventories were published to primarily provide documentation of the physical landscape and buildings across the state in order to identify properties that could quality for the National Register (this does not mean that the properties that were identified still stand or were ever nominated for the National Register). 

Many of these published county-level historical site and structure inventories are available via a digital collection at IUPUI.The Lilly Library holds the majority of the series.

Historical Fiction

Underground Railroad

Lilly Library is a founding member of PALNI, ALI, and The Oberlin Group

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