Three Main Streets awarded grants to preserve women’s history

SOURCE: News release from Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs

INDIANAPOLIS – Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who serves as chair of the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and the Indiana Main Street Council, today announced three Main Street communities are awarded Preserving Women’s Legacy Grants. This funding will aid in their efforts to highlight and preserve women’s history.

“The awarded projects capture how influential these strong Indiana women were to the suffrage movement,” Lt. Gov. Crouch said. “I’m excited to visit each of the cities to walk the new trails, appreciate the public art and see Hoosiers of all ages learn more about these extraordinary women.”

Preserving Women’s Legacy Grants support historic preservation work, public art and other projects that commemorate Indiana women’s history and promote visits to Main Street communities. These projects will provide a lasting legacy in celebration of the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.

Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities, said “We are absolutely thrilled to support the telling of these lesser known but incredibly impactful stories and the extraordinary trailblazers behind them. These rich pieces of history woven into the fabric of our state deserve to be widely known and celebrated. We look forward to partnering with the grantees in their efforts to connect these stories with Hoosiers in their local communities, across the state and beyond.”

The grants are a project of the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission, presented by a partnership between the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana Humanities. In addition to project funding, the partnership is providing capacity building and marketing training to ensure the project’s sustainability in all three cities.

Read more about the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial and the work of the Commission at IndianaSuffrage100.org.

Click here to watch the announcement video. Below is a summary of each project that will be completed over the coming year:

Rediscover Downtown Peru is awarded $35,000 to create the Miami County Woman’s Suffrage Trail. The trail will begin with a life-size bronze statue of Marie Stuart Edwards as a young teen standing by her bike on the grounds of the Peru Public Library. The statue, as well as displays and plaques around the county, will increase awareness of the role local women played in the fight for suffrage. This project is in partnership with Miami County Worth Remembering, AcesPLUS and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Downtown Angola Coalition is awarded $40,000 to commission a life-size sculpture of abolitionist Sojourner Truth. In 1861, Truth gave a speech on the Steuben County courthouse steps supporting civil rights and the Civil War. This sculpture will commemorate Truth’s connection to the city of Angola and serve as a reminder of the significance women and women of color had in the fight for equal rights and suffrage. With help from the public library system, the project will also include book studies and lesson plans about Truth. This project is in partnership with the Steuben County Commissioners, the City of Angola and the Steuben County Tourism Bureau.

Michigan City Mainstreet Association is awarded $40,000 to construct either a sculpture, mosaic or mural (based on community and artist input) in Charles R. Westcott Park to honor Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson. Anderson was born in Michigan City in 1843 to free African American parents and became a significant suffragist, civil rights activist, orator, writer and poet. The artwork will have a narrative format for all ages, and a companion to this will be the creation of an archived collection of biographical information about Anderson. This project is in partnership with the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, the NAACP LaPorte County Branch–Unit 3061 and the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County.

About the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs
Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as the Secretary of Rural Development, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ (OCRA) mission is to work with local, state and national partners to provide resources and technical assistance to assist communities in shaping and achieving their vision for community and economic development. For more information, visit ocra.in.gov.

About Indiana Humanities 
Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. Learn more at www.IndianaHumanities.org.