INDIANAPOLIS — The founder of the Indiana Black Expo, James C. Cummings, has died, the organization announced on Friday.
Cummings was instrumental in the founding of IBE in 1970.
IBE's mission has always been to empower and be "a vehicle for the social and economic advancement of African-Americans." Cummings was a vital part in instituting this infrastructure.
The Summer Celebration started in 1971 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds as a two-day event. Now, it often spans an entire month, if not, the summer.
IBE was set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year before the coronavirus pandemic altered public gatherings, canceling the 2020 Summer Celebration.
IBE released the following statement on the passing of Cummings:
It is with a heavy heart that we at Indiana Black Expo mourn the passing of Indiana Black Expo founder James C. Cummings. He was instrumental in the founding of Indiana Black Expo. He led and served in various leadership capacities with IBE, including chairman of its board of directors. Jim also traveled the state of Indiana to help build IBE’s membership, infrastructure, and supporter base. He dedicated his life to service, activism, and shaping IBE into a statewide organization that provides year-round programs and initiatives across the state. His legacy will continue on in the work that we do to serve as a voice and vehicle for the social and economic advancement of African Americans throughout the state of Indiana. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones at this time.