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Indiana Historical Society celebrates Juneteenth with new kiosk showcasing Black history

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Posted at 10:36 PM, Jun 12, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Historical Society is celebrating Juneteenth by inviting the community to learn about Black Hoosiers through a new interactive tool.

The museum is launching a kiosk dedicated to African American historical sites in Indiana.

Juneteenth is a newly recognized federal holiday celebrated annually to commemorate June 19, 1865, the date that the last group of enslaved African Americans were freed by federal troops as a result of the Union victory in the Civil War.

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“I think it’s important to know about Black history in general. Juneteenth is coming up so just knowing where you come from, not only in the state of Indiana, but abroad too,” Von Watts, who helped design interactive kiosk, said.

The kiosk will feature an interactive state map with every county and 95 markers you can click on to learn about the accomplishments of Black Hoosiers of the past.

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“We were able to try and make it [Black history] accessible for the many, many school kids and families that come here,” Jody Blankenship, President & CEO of IHS, said. "We wanted to make it available so they can explore African American History here in Indiana."

The kiosk details history of Black Hoosiers of the past and was created by Black Hoosiers of the present.

The research was compiled by Robin Winston, president of the Winston/Terrell Group, one of the largest minority-owned government relations, public outreach and community affairs firms in the nation.

“This kiosk is interactive so that visitors will learn firsthand about the positive impacts that African Americans have made in Indiana.” said Winston.

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A major portion of the research work was also completed and designed by Ms. Von Watts of 8393 Creative, a minority and woman-owned creative nonprofit organization empowering youth through creativity, character building and entrepreneurship.

“We want to know about all Hoosiers, how we come together and what separates us,” Blankenship said. “I think understanding people’s history, whether it’s your history or another group’s, is important to getting to know each other and building community.”

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The kiosk launches this Saturday June 15, and will become a permanent part of the museum.

They also hope to launch an app with the facts next.

To commemorate Juneteenth admission and parking will also be free for all guests Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at IHS located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.