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IUPUI creates two new initiatives aimed at supporting Indianapolis' Black community

Posted at 2:30 PM, Oct 30, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis announced this week two new initiatives it will take to support and strengthen the local Black community.

First, IUPUI is establishing a new center for Africana Studies and Culture through its Liberal Arts program. The center will broaden the school's existing Africana studies, and it will now be housed in the Madame Walker Legacy Center.

Secondly, a new scholarship, called Through Her Eyes, has been created for students related to families displaced by IUPUI's campus developments in the mid-1960s and are pursuing their first undergraduate degree.

The campus now stands on the historic land of a once-vibrant Black residential community. The Through Her Eyes scholarship will be awarded to descendants of former residents of the Ransom Place and Indiana Avenue communities.

Eligible students can receive up to $15,000 through the scholarship, which is renewable for up to four years.

"The Center for Africana Studies and Culture at IUPUI is a reflection of our campus values and priorities," IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar said. "IUPUI is proud to be part of the Indianapolis community and to be expanding this important work at a crucial time in our city's history."

"Africana studies is an evolution of the study of the distinct experiences of Black life within the United States and the African diaspora with a focus on service to the community," Leslie Etienne, the founding executive director of the new Center for Africana Studies and Culture, said. "I am committed to expanding this work in recognition of the communities of color who were displaced."

MORE | 'Under the highway': How interstates divided Indianapolis neighborhoods and displaced 17,000 people |