Inside INdiana Business

Ceremony to dedicate racial justice historical marker for South Bend attorneys

(photo provided by Indiana Historical Bureau)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A ceremony will be held Saturday to commemorate two attorneys who fought for racial justice in Indiana. The Indiana Historical Bureau will unveil a new marker in South Bend on the site of where African American attorneys J. Chester and Elizabeth Allen established a law firm in 1939 to fight for equal housing and fair employment.

The bureau says the marker will list accomplishments of the Allen’s, including Elizabeth founding a local Red Cross nurse’s aid and placement program for Black women in the early ’40’s and details how she worked to desegregate schools. The marker also includes information about J. Chester’s election as a state representative in 1938 and 1940 and how he introduced bills banning discrimination in employment and the judicial system, eventually helping to desegregate Engman Public Natatorium in 1950.

The Indiana Historical Bureau says the marker will be the state’s 24th to be installed in St. Joseph County and the first state marker commemorating African American history in downtown South Bend. Find a listing of all other St. Joseph County markers here. 

The dedication ceremony will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at 115 South Lafayette Boulevard in South Bend.