July 30, 2021

Ex-Slaves' Names Backed For Street Instead Of Eugenics Champ

Ex-Slaves' Names Backed For Street Instead Of Eugenics Champ

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A task force has proposed two portions of a Bloomington street be renamed for former slaves once the thoroughfare is stripped of the name after a 19th century Indiana University president who supported eugenics.

A city-owned portion of Jordan Avenue would be renamed Eagleson Avenue to honor the Eagleson family, a prominent Bloomington family for four generations whose members have made significant contributions to the city, university, state, and nation, starting with Halson Vashon Eagleson, who was born into slavery and came to Bloomington in the 1880s, the city said Wednesday.

The second proposed name, Fuller Lane or Mattie Fuller Lane, would rechristen a university-owned section for Mattie Jacobs Fuller. After being born into slavery in Kentucky, Fuller came to Bloomington at age 4 and became a successful businesswoman and suffragist.

LEARN MORE: Indiana Eugenics - A five-part news series on history of Eugenics in Indiana

Responsibilty for renaming rests with the IU Naming Committee and the IU Board of Trustees and with Bloomington Plan Commission, which will hear the proposed names and take public comment at a hearing, to be scheduled later.

David Starr Jordan served as IU’s president from 1885 to 1891 and was a professor of zoology from 1875 to 1885. He was a proponent of eugenics, which is the practice of controlled selective breeding of humans often carried out through forced sterilization.

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