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Carrie Parker – first African American woman to enroll at Indiana University

By Dina Kellams

Friday, July 24, 2015

So this past week I had one of those moments at work where I was reminded that:

  1. My job is awesome.
  2. There are always new discoveries to be made.
  3. My job is so so so very awesome.

I was spending some time with the Library’s subscription of the NewspaperArchive (if you haven’t checked it out, you should. It’s a little clunky and seems to work best with Internet Explorer, but it’s full text searching of historical newspapers. You can hardly ask for more). In browsing through a January 1898 newspaper in search of an article about IU’s former Jordan Field, I spotted this:

This is huge folks. Unless somebody has been keeping it a really good secret, to this point we had no idea who was the first African American woman to attend Indiana University. We know Frances Marshall was the first African American woman to graduate (1919), we knew there had been other black women before her who attended but did not complete their degrees, but we had no clue as to who was the first.

I contacted my friends at the Office of the Registrar who confirmed that Carrie did indeed matriculate January 4, 1898 and attended through Fall 1898. Wow. Okay, now to find see what else I could find out.

A bit more digging in the newspapers found a write-up about her graduation from Clinton High School, which names her as the first ever African American woman to graduate from a Vermillion county school. The article, titled “Colored Girl’s Triumph: She Overcomes Terrible Obstacles and Graduates With Distinction,” (June 4, 1897, Bedford Mail) covers nearly a full column and verily sings Parker’s praises:

She was the main object of interest in the graduating exercises. Her subject was “Home and Its Influence,” and when it came her time to speak she stepped to the front, cool and unembarrassed. She handled her subject with the skill and judgment of a professional lecturer, and it was the wonder of the audience how so young a girl could have learned so much on the practical affairs of life. She easily carried off the honors of her class, and the applause was hearty.”

The article continues, stating that after attending college (mistakenly stating she’d be going to Bloomington, Illinois), Parker intended to serve as a missionary to Africa. It closes with, “She has conquered the many and aggravating obstacles which confronted her during her unequal struggle in the Clinton schools, and her determination will make her a winner in the race for distinction which she now enters.”

Unfortunately, I was able to find very little about her year at IU and why she decided to leave. As with all students at the time, she had to find her own lodging since there was no University housing. According to the papers, she was to secure a room with Elmer E. Griffith of the English Department and his family. The wonderful librarians at the Monroe County Public Library’s Indiana Room scoured the local newspapers to see if there was anything new reported in the Bloomington papers but were unable to find anything more than an announcement that she had enrolled.

After striking out on locating additional information about her student days, I turned to the library’s subscription of Ancestry.com (that link comes with a warning: Time suck! Time suck! Time suck!) to see what I might learn about her time after Indiana University. It turns out she married John G. Taylor in 1899, just after leaving Bloomington, and the 1900 census reports they were living in Fairfield, Indiana (Tippecanoe County), where John was a laborer.

She remained married to John through most of her adult life and together they had six children. They moved around a bit, but stayed in the Midwest. Carrie was a homemaker and John held various jobs. The 1930 census has them living at 11261 Laflin in Chicago with their children and Carrie’s sister, who was a matron at a high school. John passed away and in 1937 Carrie married Richard Eaton (their marriage certificate reports he was a chef) in Michigan.

Eaton_Carrie_-_Obituary_KG_1958_03_03_007_1

Carrie died a widow on March 2, 1958 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Unfortunately, her obituary does not tell us much about her life. By this point, I’ve spent a good bit of time on the search and need to throw in the towel. I would love it if one of our readers could perhaps track down a family member and find out more about Carrie and her life (and could I possibly hope for a photo?) — and to make sure they know that Carrie was one of Indiana University’s pioneers.

I gathered together all of my research and loaded it to Box: https://iu.box.com/CarrieParker. For further information, feel free to contact me directly atdmkellam@indiana.edu.

If you are interested in streaming  Amos Brown interview with Dina Kellams about the Carrie Parker discovery, Here is a link from Amos Brown:
 
Interview will be available in real time on our website PraiseIndy.com on July 31 at  1:00 PM.
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Family Says North Carolina Teen’s Hanging Death Was A Lynching

Lennon Lacy March

(pictured above is Lacy’s mother)

The family of North Carolina high school student Lennon Lacy, whose death this summer was ruled a suicide by a state medical examiner, is now saying they believe the 17-year-old was murdered.

Lennon Lacy’s body was found hanging from a wooden swing set in a mobile home park near his home in August. The state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Deborah Radisch, conducted an autopsy and declared his death a suicide based on information she was given by law enforcement and a local medical examiner. However, Lacy’s family is now expressing concerns that the teenager did not take his own life.

He may have either been strangled somewhere else or been placed there, or he was hung there while people were around watching him die,” Lennon’s older brother, Pierre Lacy, told CNN this week.

Lacy’s mother, Claudia, believes her son was the victim of foul play and that he “didn’t do this to himself.” She wants evidence of the events that led up to and caused his death. When asked by CNN if she believed his death was a lynching, she said yes.

“That’s all I’ve ever asked for: what is due, owed rightfully to me and my family — justice. Prove to me what happened to my child,” Lacy said.

The FBI announced Friday that it is opening an investigation into Lacy’s death.

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Michael Brown’s Father Expresses Solidarity With Bay Area Protesters

MikeBrownDad

Michael Brown’s father spoke in San Francisco on Monday evening, where he urged students to get an education and told of his own recently learned lessons on police violence.

“It really didn’t hit hard until it hit my own backyard,” Michael Brown Sr. said about the killing of his unarmed son in August by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Weeks of protest in the Bay Area since a Missouri grand jury decided on Nov. 24 not to indict former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting the 18-year-old lured Brown Sr. to San Francisco to express gratitude for the support and to show solidarity with demonstrators and students.

“I’m real tired of our kids getting misused and abused,” Brown told several hundred people at Mission High School. “I’m here to stand, stand strong, with you all to make a change.”

On Sunday, Brown sent a similar message at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, according to the Contra Costa Times.

Brown’s trip to the West Coast shows his growing role as a public voice of opposition to police violence against minorities.

“Somebody’s got to stand up and take a stand,” Brown said in brief remarks, wearing a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap and a T-shirt with photos of his son. “It’s my job and my duty to stand for all of us.”

In response to questions from the audience later, Brown called for outfitting all police with cameras.

Monday’s event was organized by Mission High School’s Black Student Union with assistance from the local NAACP chapter, according to a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Unified School District.

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This Is What It Looks Like When New York City Erupts With Cries For Justice

ny1 ny2 ny3 ny4

 

Demonstrators flooded New York City’s streets Saturday afternoon and into the evening, swarming the NYPD headquarters and demanding an end to racial injustices across America. More than 50,000 individuals joined the protests, according to some estimates.

“For over three hours we marched throughout Manhattan with the survivors of police brutality and homicide,” said Synead Nichols, who founded the event, Millions March NYC, in a statement. Tens of thousands of others joined similar demonstrations throughout the nation Saturday, including in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver and an equally-massive rally in Washington, D.C.

“They marched because their sons and daughters will never be able to march again,” Nichols added. “Together we peacefully demonstrated that NYC, and people in cities across the country, will not stand for a police system that shoots to kill with no accountability. This is only the beginning.”

Check out more pictures:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/15/millions-march-photos_n_6321918.html?utm_hp_ref=black-voices

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Tamir Rice’s Death Declared A Homicide

tamirr

The death of a 12-year-old Cleveland boy fatally shot by police in November has been formally ruled a homicide, according to a Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report released on Friday that found he was struck once in the abdomen.

Tamir Rice, who was black, was shot on Nov. 22 by police responding to a call of a suspect waving a handgun around in a Cleveland park. The weapon turned out to be a replica that typically fires plastic pellets. He died the next day.

The autopsy report said that Rice sustained a single wound to the left side of his abdomen that traveled from front to back and lodged in his pelvis.

The shooting came at a time of heightened national scrutiny of police use of force and two days before a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August.

Rice was shot less than two seconds after the police car pulled up beside him in the park, police have said. They also released a security video of Rice in the park before and during the shooting.

Check out the link below:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/12/tamir-rice-death-homicide_n_6316104.html?1418405768&utm_hp_ref=black-voices

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#WhiteCoats4BlackLives

whitecoats

Medical students from more than 70 schools on Wednesday protested racial profiling and police brutality through the social media initiative #WhiteCoats4BlackLives.

Hundreds of medical students wore white coats at “die-ins” and other protests on campuses to spotlight racial bias as a public health issue.

The medical students joined others who have demonstrated since grand juries in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York City declined to indict white police officers in the killings of unarmed black men. Some of the protests have involved students, including those in high schools, colleges and Ivy league schools.

Click below for more information on this article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/10/whitecoats4blacklives_n_6304736.html?1418257805&utm_hp_ref=black-voices

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Teen Nobel Prize winner Malala’s bloodied school uniform on display

malala

For the first time since she was attacked two years ago, the world can now see the uniform that teenager Malala Yousafzai wore when she was shot in the head by the Taliban.

Malala, 17, has authorized the public display of the bloodied uniform, which includes a blouse, trousers and head scarf. It’s part of an exhibit at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, where she will be receiving the Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday.

The Pakistani teen is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in history. She shares this year’s award with Kailash Satyarthi of India, who was also honored for fighting against the oppression of children and working for children’s right to education.

By the time she was 15 years old, Malala had already become an outspoken activist for girls’ right to education.

But the Taliban, who were trying to push girls out of classrooms, had a formidable grip on northwestern Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

On October 9, 2012, Taliban gunmen tracked down her school bus. They asked where Malala was. Her classmates, under threat, pointed her out.

Malala was shot in the head.

She was hospitalized in critical condition, unresponsive for three days.

Eventually, doctors put Malala in a medically induced coma so an air ambulance could fly her from Pakistan to Britain for treatment. She recovered and continued her activism for girls’ right to education — despite more death threats from the Taliban.

“They can only shoot my body,” Malala told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “They cannot shoot my dreams.”

While she hasn’t returned to Pakistan since her shooting, Malala has doubled down on her efforts to improve education for girls around the world, including writing a memoir and making highly publicized trips to Syria and Nigeria.

For more information check out the link below:

http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/09/world/malala-bloodied-school-uniform/index.html?hpt=wo_c2

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