Historian writes book on Indy’s "polite" civil rights protests


Methods of political action employed by the black community of Indianapolis in the 20 th century to secure civil rights is the focus of a new book written by Richard B. Pierce, a historian at the University of Notre Dame.

Published by Indiana University Press,Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis, 1920-1970chronicles the protest methods used by blacks in Indianapolis that set the city apart from itsnorthern cousins such as Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit.

Pierce describes the ways in which black leaders achieved reform and advancement by working with whites inside the existing power structures.Protracted negotiations, interracial coalitions, petitions and legal challenge were the methods ofpoliteprotest that helpedIndianapoliscitizens – black and white – create their own patterns and platforms of race relations in the public and cultural spheres.

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1996, Pierce specializes in African-American, urban and civil rights history, and examines social and political protest in urban environments.He is the Carl E. Koch Jr. Assistant Professor of History, chair of the Africana studies department and a faculty fellow in Notre Dames Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

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