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Hoosier History Live

Dec 28, 2023

With construction finally underway of a new home for the Indiana Archives, which include a trove of historic material such as the transcripts of landmark court cases, Hoosier History Live will follow up a show we did last year about the status of the archives. In addition to highlighting aspects of the $102 million structure being built on the downtown canal in Indianapolis, we also will spotlight some of the landmark court cases, which range from "slave trials" early in the state's history to the death penalty case involving a teenage girl and a gruesome murder in 1906.

Nelson's returning guest will be Chandler Lighty, executive director of the Indiana Archives and Records Administration. For more than 20 years, many of the state's archives, which include the original Indiana State Constitution of 1816, have been housed in a deteriorating warehouse on the eastside of Indianapolis that was intended to be temporary and is not sufficiently climate controlled. A tunnel will connect the new Archives building with other buildings on the state government campus.

To share insights about the landmark court cases with transcripts housed in the archives, Chandler has consulted with former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randy Shepard, who was a guest on Hoosier History Live in 2019. The cases include two that became known as "slave trials" in the early 1820s involving teenage African American girls. The cases tested the then-new constitution prohibiting slavery in Indiana. During this show, Chandler will discuss one of the cases, involving a teenager in Vincennes named Polly Strong. On Hoosier History Live, we have explored the other "slave trial", which also involved an enslaved teenager, Mary Bateman Clark, on a show that we rebroadcast most recently in 2020; our guest was well-known Indianapolis journalist and historian Eunice Trotter, a descendant of Mary Bateman Clark.