On September 24, South Bend residents were invited to join the Indiana University South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center (CRHC) and celebrate a relaunch of its African American Landmark Tour, a project that widely shares local Black history.
In 2013, the Civil Rights Heritage Center launched the first version of the Landmark Tour. It identified seventeen sites that tell part of the broad experiences lived by African American people in South Bend, Indiana. From churches to neighborhoods to schools and sites of political and social gathering, the tour honors local history by highlighting some of the many places where that history was made.
The 2022 relaunch event featured a first look at the new signs for each tour location, a new website (aalt.iusb.edu), and a curriculum for K-12 educators to use in classes. The relaunch was supported in part by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. During the opening event celebrating the tour’s relaunch, South Bend Mayor James Mueller and Indiana University South Bend Chancellor Susan Elrod were among those offering remarks.
“Indiana University South Bend is so proud of the role that the Civil Rights Heritage Center plays in telling the story of our community and making that story so accessible,” said Chancellor Susan Elrod. “And we are deeply honored to have been selected for this competitive federal grant to provide these resources for sharing local history with our partners.”
“It is pivotally important for us as a community to know where we have come from before we can figure out where to go together,” said CRHC Director Dr. Darryl Heller. “Teaching truthful history is necessary before we can ever hope to address any of our city’s challenges.”
CRHC Assistant Director and Curator George Garner led the tour project and is writing a print and e-book with in-depth histories of many of the sites, which will be available in May 2023. Anyone can visit aalt.iusb.edu to take the tour in person or online. People can begin the tour anywhere and choose any site to go to next. The CRHC occasionally offers guided tours in partnership with large groups. The Civil Rights Heritage Center was born from the efforts of Indiana University South Bend students and professors, which transformed a once-segregated city swimming pool into an active learning center. It explores the civil rights struggles of the past so people can take action in the present and build a better future.