For more than 20 years, Pam Peters has been researching Floyd County’s Underground Railroad and African-American history, driven by a personal interest and a desire to learn more about the area’s buried past. With the support of an Indiana Humanities grant in 1998 for $2,500, awarded via the Carnegie Center for Art and History, she was able to dig more deeply into historical records—and what she uncovered has transformed her community.
That $2,500 grant led to the publication of a book, which in turn led to a permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Center. In the 20 years that have followed, community interest—and pride—in Floyd County’s African-American history has surged. Most recently, the Friends of the Town Clock Church raised funds to replace the steeple of New Albany’s Second Baptist Church, more than 100 years after the steeple was struck by lightning. The church was a part of the Underground Railroad and served as a safe haven for runaway slaves, but its condition had been deteriorating until a renewed interest in its history brought it back to life.
Pam’s research has also led to local historical markers, the Carnegie Center receiving National Park Service designation as a Network to Freedom site, and another grant to the Friends of The Town Clock Church to tell Second Baptist’s history and celebrate New Albany’s African-American heritage. And much of it is the result of that $2,500 grant.
What if no one were here to help serve as the impetus behind this kind of humanities-based research and programming? What if curious citizens like Pam didn’t have resources to help tell their communities’ stories? What if New Albany’s buried past were lost to history?
Indiana Humanities is here to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’re here to help use the power of the humanities—which include history and our shared cultural heritage, but also literature, poetry, philosophy and more—to transform lives and communities, just as they’ve done for Pam and New Albany.
You can help us transform lives and communities by providing more places and more people with access to the humanities. Please give today.
When donors like you support the humanities, it makes us all stronger—just like in New Albany. Please help us provide more communities with grant funds, innovative program opportunities and catalytic conversations in 2018.