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Column: Free blacks migrated to Hoosier state




Like other pioneers, they came to Indiana in search of land and liberty and, for the most part, found both. Beginning in the 1820s and continuing until the eve of the Civil War, free African-Americans migrated in family groups to Indiana and established farming societies that valued hard work, education and faith.

More than a dozen such communities were formed before 1860. Greenville Settlement, founded in 1822 in Randolph County, is believed to have been the first. Others developed in Grant, Rush, Gibson and Vigo counties.

One of the most prominent was Roberts Settlement in Hamilton County. Although most of its residents shared the Roberts surname, the Waldens, Winburns, Gilliams and others came, too.

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