8 episodes

People's stories from the Oral History Collection of the Civil Rights Heritage Center at the Indiana University South Bend Archives tell the history of civil rights and the experiences of people of color, Latinx, women, and LGBTQ communities in South Bend, Indiana. For more, visit crhc.iusb.edu.

South Bend's Own Words IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

People's stories from the Oral History Collection of the Civil Rights Heritage Center at the Indiana University South Bend Archives tell the history of civil rights and the experiences of people of color, Latinx, women, and LGBTQ communities in South Bend, Indiana. For more, visit crhc.iusb.edu.

    Representative John Lewis at IU South Bend

    Representative John Lewis at IU South Bend

    The late Rep. John Lewis speaks at Indiana University South Bend in 2001.


    In 2001, Charlotte Pfeifer was Director of Indiana University South Bend’s Office of Campus Diversity as well as a South Bend Common Council representative. That year she led the fifth in a series of events called “Conversations On Race.” The keynote speaker was Representative John Lewis.


    John Lewis passed away last Friday after a lifetime of fighting for justice. To honor his life, we present the speech he delivered here at IU South Bend in 2001. Hope you enjoy.

    • 57 min
    South Bend Uprising

    South Bend Uprising

    NOTE: Work on this episode of South Bend’s Own Words started before the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. With respect to the uprisings in cities across the U.S. right now, we wanted to be sure their names were said. There are far too many other names to share, and our city is not immune to police violence. The murder of Eric Logan last year was only the latest in a long history.

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    The “long, hot summer of 1967” described the many uprisings in cities across the U.S. Real hurt felt by real people was large ignored by white people in positions of power. Decades of racial redlining, job discrimination, and both micro-and macro-aggressions fueled an idea that violent expression was the only recourse. In 159 cities across the U.S., a spark turned decades of oppression into violent outburst.

    In South Bend, Indiana, in July, 1967, a white police officer shot an unarmed African American man in the leg. His name was Melvin Phillips. That bullet sparked South Bend to join 158 other cities. Days of violent eruption followed.

    Today, we hear from three people who lived through, or participated in, the South Bend uprising.


    This episode was produced by Seth Umbaugh and George Garner.

    Want to learn more about South Bend’s history? View the photographs and documents that helped create it. Visit Michiana Memory at http://michianamemory.sjcpl.org/.

    Title music, “History Explains Itself,” from Josh Spacek. Visit his page on the Free Music Archive, http://www.freemusicarchive.org/.

    • 17 min
    Jenell Kauffman

    Jenell Kauffman

    Jenell Kauffman learned to embrace dual identities. Born with the name John Danforth, Jenell knew as early as age six that "it would be nice" to be a woman. What Jenell lacked was the language of the transgender experience. As a young person, John knew there were people who were cross-dressers, or drag queens. But the world John lived in was strictly gendered: girls wore girls’ clothes, and boys wore boys’ clothes. But John also knew the feeling of wanting to be something more. Eventually, John learned to incorporate Jenell and present with both identities.


    In 2015, Jenell sat down with St. Mary’s College professor Dr. Jamie Wagman. They spoke about Jenell’s youth, and how Jenell learned to co-exist as both Jenell and John.



    This episode was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we learn how to engage you and continue the work we do, we'd love to hear from you about how we do that. Go to http://crhc.iusb.edu and find our contact information. Call the Center and leave us a voicemail, or email Darryl Heller and George Garner to let us know how you are and what you think we can do during these hard times.


    This episode was produced by Mark Flora and George Garner.


    Want to learn more about South Bend’s history? View the photographs and documents that helped create it. Visit Michiana Memory at http://michianamemory.sjcpl.org/.


    Title music, “History Explains Itself,” from Josh Spacek. Visit his page on the Free Music Archive, http://www.freemusicarchive.org/.

    • 17 min
    Bishop Donald Alford

    Bishop Donald Alford

    Bishop Donald L. Alford is a staple along South Bend’s Western Avenue. He’s the founder and pastor of Pentecostal Cathedral Church of God in Christ, and also the founder and owner of Alford’s Mortuary. A lifelong resident of South Bend, Bishop Alford graduated from Washington High School in 1957.


    In 2007, Bishop Alford sat down with Indiana University South Bend professor Les Lamon, and student Sara Lowe. They talked about Bishop Alford’s life and his work, and the changes he’s seen along Western Avenue over many decades.



    This episode was in the works right before and released during the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic. We're all staying safe and staying at home, and if you're in a position to do so, we hope you are too.



    Want to learn more about South Bend’s history? View the photographs and documents that helped create it. Visit Michiana Memory at http://michianamemory.sjcpl.org/.


    Listen to the full, unedited interview with Bishop Alford at https://archive.org/details/OH-Alford-Donald-2007-12-04


    This episode was produced by Mark Flora and George Garner.


    Title music, “History Explains Itself,” from Josh Spacek. Visit his page on the Free Music Archive, http://www.freemusicarchive.org/.

    • 17 min
    Federico Chico Rodriguez

    Federico Chico Rodriguez

    Federico Chico Rodriguez by IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center

    • 21 min
    Glenda Rae Hernandez

    Glenda Rae Hernandez

    Glenda Rae Hernandez embraced the movement for civil rights in the U.S. south. As a college student, she signed petitions not to eat at Woolworth’s until they integrated their lunch counters. She even attended a lecture by a young Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King. In 1965, Glenda and her husband moved to South Bend. She soon began advocating for her south east neighborhood, became an early ally to the growing Latinx community, fought discrimination against African Americans in their housing choices, rallied against war, and became a fixture in the local activist community. You’ll still see her at meetings today, carrying what seems to be her body weight in buttons with progressive messages.

    In 2002, she sat down with the Civil Rights Heritage Center’s David Healey. They talked about some of her many local actions against racism, and against war.





    Want to learn more about South Bend’s history? View the photographs and documents that helped create it. Visit Michiana Memory at http://michianamemory.sjcpl.org/.


    Title music, “History Explains Itself,” from Josh Spacek. Visit his page on the Free Music Archive, http://www.freemusicarchive.org/.

    • 16 min

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