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Joel Washington Joel Washington

Joel Washington was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1960, and moved to Bloomington, Indiana, in 1975. A self-taught artist, he was inspired to be an animator and later a painter after viewing The Beatles' landmark film, Yellow Submarine, as a child. In particular, he was drawn to its use of color and graphic design. This movie, along with the entire 1960s era and such artists as Andy Warhol, Peter Max, LeRoy Neiman, and Roger Dean, continue to influence him. Joel has had several solo exhibitions at the Neal Marshall Black Cultural Center and Tutto Bene Gallery, among other venues, and his work has been purchased by Indiana University, the Indiana Memorial Building, and the Laughing Planet. He has also created work on commission for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Indiana University musician and teacher Dave Baker.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated is a service fraternity founded in 1911 at Indiana University. This organization was founded based on Christian principals by 10 illustrious founders. Fraternity members strive for achievement in every field of endeavor and have a strong foundation in training for leadership. The Alpha Chapter at at Indiana University along with many graduate members live out the 5 objectives their founders set out in the countless events they have on campus that include crossover step shows, Christmas with the Kappas, adopt a road, and many other activities that encourage campus participation. The Alpha Chapter is doing their best to live out the dream that their founders set forth for them and hope to continue to grow and give back to the community in the coming years.

Janet Cheatham Bell Janet Cheatham Bell

Janet Cheatham Bell is an Indiana University graduate that has excelled as an author and publisher. She used her love of books and made an impact on the educational systems of Ohio University, Stanford University, and the Indiana Department of Education. While at Stanford, she got a little inspiration from St. Clair Drake to attend graduate school and write about African Americans. She moved to Chicago in 1984 and became an entrepreneur and published her own books. Janet has written several books in her tenure. Upon her return to Bloomington, Janet Cheatham Bell produced her memoir, "The Time and Place That Gave Me Life."

Valeri Haughton Valeri Haughton is a wife and mother of five that has been working in public service all of her adult life. She is a Judge with the Monroe County Circuit Court. Before this career, she served as a mental health counselor for twenty years. Not only was she profound in her career, she actively serves her community through organizations such as the City of Bloomington Human Rights Commission, Community Kitchen Board, Monroe County Youth Services Board, and is a member of the Bar Association and Monroe County Branch NAACP. Judge Haughton believes as a judge, she can make an important and helpful difference and add value to the judiciary system and our community.

Carl Darnell Carl Darnell is a doctoral student at Indiana University. Originally from Huntsville, Alabama, the Rocket City, Carl completed his undergraduate work at Tennessee State University, and then began working at Colin College in Dallas. He moved his way up to the doctoral program at Indiana University where he focuses on higher education. He is also doing research on Historically Black College and University partnerships. Aside from Carl's educational endeavors, he is also a great mentor and Associate Instructor for the Indiana University Hudson and Holland Scholars Program. He also serves on the City of Bloomington Black History Month Committee and is an active member of Bethel AME Church. Carl Darnell is man that is well on his way to success, and will be continuing to make an impact on the community surrounding him.

Second Baptist Church Second Baptist Church proudly sits on the corner of 8th and Rogers in Bloomington, Indiana. With the help of their first pastor, Rev. M.M. Porter and his wife Georgia, the church came to establishment in March of 1872. Before that point, the congregation had met at each others homes for services before building their first small frame church. Second Baptist's current structure was designed by an African American architect, Samuel Plato and is one of the first stone churches built by African Americans in Indiana. The stone for the structure was donated and members of the congregation helped with the finish work. Second Baptist Church was recognized in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

Wayne Manns Rashawn Ray Marvin Chandler Liz and Jim Mitchell Camilla Williams Bethel AME

Wayne Manns

Wayne Manns

Bloomington based artist Wayne Manns comes from a musical background. His father was a pianist who played jazz with the young Nancy Wilson and Philly Joe Jones. His parents were both natives of Atlantic City. His mother worked as a telephone operator which stabilized their family. His father worked many clubs and cabarets. Wayne also played piano but was drawn to art.

In 1996 Manns traveled to Germany where he was invited to exhibit at Galerie am Gurzenich in Cologne. In 1999 he moved to Brazil where he researched and working with Brazilian artists. During his time in Brazil, Manns learned to free himself in his art. His style was developing as a bold palette featuring narrative, gender, race and revisions of the masters. Manns returned to the US, and moved to Bloomington in 2000 to attend Indiana University's graduate program in museum studies with the goal of bringing greater diversity to arts institutions. At Indiana University Manns has been the curate of several exhibits at the Kinsey Institute and the Mather's museum. He has also had numerous group and solo exhibitions in Europe, South America, and throughout the US. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections. Mann's works are also featured at Indiana University Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. He has presented paintings to many notables including Bill Clinton, Milt Jackson and Donald Trump. See more at

Rashawn Ray

Rashawn Ray

Rashawn Ray arrived at Indiana University as a graduate student in Sociology. During his relatively short tenure at the university he has left quite an impression on the students, faculty and staff.

Outside of working on his PhD in sociology he is committed to many other causes on the IUB campus and the Bloomington community. Within the campus Ray acts as a mentor to graduate students in sociology. "He is seen as the 'go to' mentor for many graduate students in sociology," colleague Brian Powell says, "someone whom the new (and not so new) graduate students know that they can depend on." He is also a member of the campus' Race and Ethnic Relations Committee. Ray is notably the sole graduate student representative in the Social Psychology Section of the American Sociological Association's Program Committee. "Rashawn has demonstrated that he is not only committed to research with policy implications," sociology professor Quincy Stewart says, "but to being an advocate for eradicating the inequalities he is investigating." Outside of the classroom Ray has demonstrated his commitment to the community by acting as a mentor.

Ray completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Memphis in 2003 where he developed a mentoring program that focused on young men. Although he has since moved on from the University of Memphis he still communicates with the leaders and the young men in the program. While at IUB he has continued his mentoring traditions by advising pre-teens, teenagers, and college students. Ray has been the recipient of numerous scholastic awards some of which include: a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, National Institute of Mental Health Minority Fellowship, and Society of the Study of Social Problems Racial/Ethnic Minority Dissertation Scholarship. In 2010 his book, entitled Race and Ethnic Relations in the 21st Century: History, Theory, Institutions and Policy was published.

Currently Ray works in the Office of Women's Affairs handling sensitive cases dealing with affirmative action and is a coordinator for the Savant Outreach Program. He is also a member of Man Up! which trains men to become advocates in the mission to end sexual violence against women; and he is the advisor for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Gamma Eta Chapter.

Camilla Williams

Camilla Williams

Picture courtesy of Indiana University

Camilla Ella Williams graduated from Virginia State College in 1941 with a degree in music and, after teaching third grade in Danville, VA for a year, moved to Philadelphia to study voice. With Geraldine Farrar, a world renowned soprano, as her mentor, Williams became the first African American contract singer with the New York City Opera. She received critical acclaim for her debut on May 15, 1946, singing the title role in Giacomo Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and won the Page One Award, given by the New York Newspaper Guild for outstanding performance. In April 1954 Williams became the first black artist to sing a major role with the Vienna State Opera. She was also an accomplished recitalist and a respected interpreter of lieder, art songs arranged for solo singer and piano accompanist. She sang the role of Bess in the first full length recording of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, made by Columbia Records in 1951.

Williams visited Africa, the Far East, and Israel as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department. In 1963 she performed in Danville, VA to raise funds to free jailed civil rights demonstrators. She sang before 250,000 people at the 1963 March on Washington prior to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, and for Martin Luther King, Jr. when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Williams retired from opera in 1970 and began teaching voice at Bronx College, Brooklyn College and Queens College in New York City. In 1977 she became the first African American professor of voice at Indiana University. William retired from teaching in 1977 and currently resides in Bloomington.

James and Elizabeth Mitchell

Liz and Jim Mitchell

James and Elizabeth Mitchell, of Indianapolis, have been a part of Bloomington history since 1979. They both attended Arlington High School in Indianapolis where they met and were married in October of 1979. That same year, the Indiana State Police Department decided to hire their first group of African American police officers; James was among the men in that group. He has been a member of the Bloomington Police Department since 1985. When her husband assignment based him in Bloomington, Elizabeth transferred from her post office job in Indianapolis to the post office in Bloomington. She remains the first and only African American full-time employee at the Bloomington post office. Liz developed a keen interest in the history during her and James' travels. She saw a grocery list labeled "mammie" over 30 years ago. She had heard about these types of things before but never witnessed them herself and she hadn't learned very much black history in school. This new found interest prompted James and Liz to begin searching for pieces that depicted the African American culture. When they first arrived in Bloomington they were not very receptive. It was not until they had the chance to experience the Bloomington Soul Food Festival and the Black History Month celebrations that they had a change of heart. Liz says that she is very proud of how these two African American celebrations have developed. Currently, Liz's interest lies in recording older African Americans and their contributions to history in order to preserve their memories. Her most recent project is a documentary on Reverend Marvin Chandler. Perhaps the thing that intrigues James the most is the Black West. "Most people don't know that 1/3 of the people in the early west were black," James says. I want to bring those people to life so that the current generations can understand that they were there too. Both James and Liz believe that the efforts they are making towards preserving black history will "put us in the family album" (the history books).

Rev. Marvin Chandler

Marvin Chandler Rev. Marvin Chandler combined a passion for community action with gifts in music to engage in a multi-faceted ministry. He has served as pastor, an executive with ecumenical organizations and as Executive Director of the Howard Thurman Education Trust, Dean of the Chapel at Howard and Boston Universities and mentor to many of the civil rights leaders of the 20th century. Rev. Chandler is a national expert on the life of philosopher and theologian Howard Thurman. Marvin Chandler was born in Bloomington in 1929 and first began playing piano at the age of 4. In 1937, the young Chandler was invited to go to Hollywood to perform with Elizabeth Hall's Cabin Kids. Chandler did not go to Hollywood but was soon discovered by a local talent scout, Roy Feltus who got him into Vaudeville where Chandler continued to perform in the late 1930's and early 1040's. He also performed USO shows during World War II. Chandler attended Banneker School and Bloomington High School. He took classes at the IU School of Music but received his B.S. in social service in 1957. Chandler also received a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Colgate-Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, NY in the early 1960's. In 1954, Rev. Chandler became pastor of Second Baptist Church in Bloomington and served until 1955. It was during his pastorate that an electric organ was purchased and installed in the church. In 1955, Chandler resigned his position at Second Baptist to continue his study of music and theology. In the late '60's the Chandler Trio began recording gospel music. In the 60's and 70's, Chandler actively negotiated equal employment negotiations on behalf of underrepresented workers as well as being a member of the observe team at Attica Prison during the 1971 uprising where he worked with both sides to help achieve reconciliation. Rev. Marvin Chandler was inducted in the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation Hall of Fame in 2003. Today he resides in Indianapolis with his wife, Portia. His daughters Suzanne and Jolene continue to reside in Bloomington with their families. A third daughter, Faith lives in Indianapolis.

Bethel AME

Bethel AME The African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded by Richard Allen who had purchased his freedom and led a movement to secede from the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is the oldest "Black" church in Bloomington. It was formally organized on September 27, 1870 in Bloomington by a group of AME's who migrated to Bloomington from southern Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee under the direction of Rev. John W. Malong.

The church originally met in the former United Presbyterian Church building located on West 6th Street. It wasn't long before the sixty-four member congregation began looking for a more suitable location due to the fact that the downtown district was rapidly growing and had begun to close in on the church and parsonage.

In 1921 plans were made for building a new church. The old church was sold in 1922 and for the next seven years the congregation with the aid of benevolent friends helped to raise money to pay for the new church. The church had taken out three loans but was having a difficult time paying the debt due to the deep economic depression.

Through her tireless efforts, Ms. Mattie Jacobs Fuller was able to greatly relieve the financial burden of the church. She took her portable organ and became a familiar figure at public gatherings including county fairs, political rallies, at the local circus and on picnic grounds. She also could be found on the square on Saturday afternoons where crowds gathered. She played and sang gospel hymns and spirituals

She raised more than $13,000 and donated every penny to the church. Both her organ and tin cup can still be viewed at the church. The money was used to purchase the current property which was designed by John Nichols, one of Bloomington's earliest architects. In August of 1929, the cornerstone was laid by the Masonic Lodge Russell No. 9 of Mitchell, Indiana with several local quarries donating limestone.

On Sunday, July 29, 1945 $3,515.81 was raised to pay off the remaining balance and in August the congregation celebrated by burning the mortgage papers.