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Conversations in African American History and Culture: Anthony Conley

Hosted by Freetown Village

Join Freetown Village’s monthly conversation with historians, researchers and educators to discuss topics related to Indiana’s Black heritage.

April 18
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT
Indiana Landmarks
1201 Central Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Event Details

In 2024, Freetown Village continues its monthly conversations with historians, researchers and educators to discuss topics related to Indiana’s Black heritage.

April’s program will feature local historian Anthony Conley, who presents “‘We Return Fighting’: Defense and Defiance in Muncie, Indiana.”

Conley’s presentation will focus on the courageous role that the Black congregants of Muncie’s Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church played in one of the most grisly episodes in our state’s racial history. On the evening of August 9, 1930, a white mob stormed the Grant County jail where Thomas Shipp and Abraham Smith were being held following their arrest after being falsely accused of raping a young white woman. The men were forcibly removed and hanged from a tree on the courthouse square.

More than 24 hours elapsed before congregants of Muncie’s Bethel AME Church, along with a white Delaware County law-enforcement officer, were able to retrieve the two lynching victims, protecting them from further desecration.

Bethel AME’s actions that evening, this presentation maintains, exhibited the spirit that W. E. B. DuBois’s “We Return Fighting” essay captured as the venerable activist and intellectual implored African Americans to “marshal every ounce of our (Black) brain and brawn” to fight against racism and injustice in postwar America.

The event, which includes a question-and-answer session, will be presented both in person and online via Zoom. Registration is required for both in-person and online attendance. Click on the RSVP link above to register for both the in-person and online options.

For more information, visit Freetown Village’s website at www.freetown.org, email info@freetownvillage.org or call 317.631.1870.

This program received support from an INcommon Grant through Indiana Humanities and the Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate. Additional sponsors include Indiana Landmarks’ Black Heritage Preservation Program, IUPUI’s Africana Studies program and the Association of the Study of African American Life and History’s Joseph Taylor branch.