JCC and IUPUI students present neighborhood celebration of diversity

  • March 3, 2014


INDIANAPOLIS -- In 2010, anthropology students from the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis began collecting oral histories, photographs and other memorabilia from African American and Sephardic Jewish elders who were former residents of what had been one of the most multi-ethnic neighborhoods in Indianapolis: the Near Southside.

The results of the students' work, completed with the guidance of associate professor of anthropology Susan Brin Hyatt, were captured in the published book, "The Neighborhood of Saturdays: Memories of a Multi-Ethnic Community on Indianapolis' South Side."

The Arthur M. Click Jewish Community Center and the Department of Anthropology at IUPUI will present the inspiring story of that thriving African American and Jewish Near Southside neighborhood -- displaced in the 1970s by the construction of a highway -- during a celebration of diversity and understanding at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 30, at the center, 6701 Hoover Road.

Students will re-enact portions of "The Neighborhood of Saturdays" in an oral history presentation that will be narrated by Sharon Gamble of WFYI's "Art of the Matter." The oral history presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with neighborhood elders, moderated by Indianapolis Star columnist Erika Smith.

"While the story of urban displacement may be a familiar one, the Near Southside’s history is particularly poignant," said the JCC news release announcing the celebration. "In 'A Neighborhood of Saturdays,' the students' research, interviews with former residents and contributions from the community's leaders illustrate a thriving neighborhood of two culturally and racially different communities that is a model of successful integration. It is an inspiring story that remains relevant today."

The celebration is free of charge and open to the public.

For media interviews with former Near Southside residents, please contact Mindi Epstein, 317-715-9220, or Susan Hyatt, 317-278-4548.

"The Neighborhhood of Saturdays" student authors

"The Neighborhhood of Saturdays" student authors

Print Quality Photo

Diane Brown