WISH-TV Celebrates Indiana’s Hidden History

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The African American experience is as old and rich as America itself. But much of this history is only known to a few, or even overlooked entirely. Many of the pitched battles for equality are woven into the fabric of our small cities and towns but are not known to the rest of the country.

Throughout the month of February WISH-TV is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting some of this Hidden History.  We will tell some of these stories during our newscasts leading up to a 30 minute special on February 23rd at 6:30pm we’re calling “Indiana’s Hidden History.”  You will hear from those who risked it all, their struggles and their triumphs as they fought for justice.  This program is dedicated to the spirit of the Black community and it’s Hidden History.

You can also look for vignettes all month that uncover heroes of the movement and stories that made it all possible.  Some of the stories you will see include:

  • Music Impact – The musical contribution of Louisiana’s African American community is rich in history.  The culture of Louisiana itself is in large part tied to its music and African Americans have been at the center of the Louisiana sound. From Jazz to Blues to Gospel to Ragtime and now even Hip Hop, it is the music that gives the state its soul.  We explain why the musical influence of Black musicians still thrives here.
  • The Whitney Plantation – There are many plantations in Louisiana but the Whitney Plantation is unique among them.  It is the only plantation tour told by African Americans based on the life stories of the men, women and children who lived, worked and died there.  Rather than a depressed look at that period of time, Find out about the pride and courage exhibited by these people and their determination to survive.
  • Georgetown University Slaves – The money used to found Georgetown University was raised by selling Louisiana slaves in to forced labor.  Now, the University seeks to make amends to the decedents of those slaves.
  • River of Change – The Mississippi River is the life line of much of America. But it has brought prosperity and pain the African Americans.  The mighty Mississippi has been a conduit for the slave trade and a way out for many on this watery Underground Railroad.  We’ll take a look back and forward at this, “River of Change”.
  • Hidden Heroes of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement – The National Civil Rights Museum is located in Memphis, TN, at the spot where MLK Jr. was assassinated in April 1968. It tells King’s story, and the story of America’s Civil Rights movement. The museum explains the fight for civil rights through the stories of dozens and dozens of hidden heroes. Take a tour of the museum, and meet several of these “hidden heroes”.
  • Beale Street Backstory – How Beale Street AKA “The Home of the Blues” began. How it played an important role in creating a venue for blacks during periods of racial injustice. The stories of the men who helped create it—a wealthy black businessman (Robert Church) and musicians like W.C. Handy.
  • Challenges Coach Eddie Robinson Faced Off the Field – Eddie Robinson was the legendary coach at Grambling State University. When he retired, he finished with 408 wins, ranking him among the winningest college football coaches in history.  And while his work on the field is well documented, the challenges he faced off the field are not. We will travel to Grambling State University and visit with those that knew Coach Robinson best. They’ll share firsthand what obstacles Coach Robinson faced and how he overcame them with class and dignity.
  • Upstate New York Underground Railroad – The Underground Railroad and how slaves move thru the northeast and made their way to Oswego, NY to take ships to Kingston,  Ontario. The Bristol Hill Church in Oswego County was an actual stop for slaves in the Underground Railroad.  It’s where slaves stopped and hid while waiting to escape to Canada.