Flags flew at half-staff across Marion County Thursday in tribute to the longest serving African-American state lawmaker in the history of the U.S.
Bill Crawford served for 40 years in the state legislature. Family, friends and colleagues remember him as a trailblazer who taught by example, and as an advocate for justice and equality.
"All of the outgoing responses of joy, happiness, words of condolences, prayers … it's overwhelming," said Michael Crawford, Bill Crawford's oldest son. "It shows how much he was loved by a lot of people out here."
Governor Mike Pence and the first lady placed a wreath on Crawford's casket as a symbol of honor.
"This was the passing of a great man," Pence said. "Bill Crawford's impact on the State of Indiana is incalculable. An example that he set in championing the causes that he believe in, I think will continue to inspire legislators."
Crawford was a Navy veteran, a Democrat committed to serving his community and a key figure in the formation of the Indiana Black Expo.
In the legislature, Crawford served as the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, and was respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
Crawford died last week after battling a recent illness. He was 79.