“Tired of Going to Funerals”: Transforming Protest into Policy at the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana

Nicole Poletika, an independent scholar, will document and analyze the impact of hosting the 1972 National Black Political Convention on the city of Gary and its residents. She aims to understand the degree to which hosting and interacting with convention attendees shaped the long-term political views and actions of Gary people. Poletika will also examine whether the conference increased local political parity for minorities and resulted in the election of more African Americans into public office. Her work will result in the publication of one or more scholarly articles, a podcast episode for Talking Hoosier History, conference presentations and potentially an essay for a new anthology on midwestern liberalism. 

Nicole Poletika is an Indianapolis-based historian who specializes in social justice and minority history, as well as history relevance. She earned her master’s degree in public history from Indiana University, along with a professional editing certificate, which serves her well in her role as editor of a popular history blog. Additionally, she is a member of Indiana Landmarks’ LGBTQ+ Committee, advises on women’s suffrage centennial projects and serves on the steering committee of the forthcoming Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Belt Publishing has featured her work in The Gary Anthology, The Indianapolis Anthology and Dispatches from the Rust Belt, Vol. II: The Best of Belt Magazine 2019.