3775The Mixed-Race 'Powell Family' of Indiana
- Aug 4, 2008
In 1850, five (5) families, who were of the
African-American Ethnic grouping, were listed
in the U.S. Census taken in South Bend, Indiana.
In 1858, Farrow and Rebecca Powell, their children
and their grandchildren had bought properties and
built homes in both South Bend and Mishawaka, Indiana.
Their homes were located on the south side of South
Bend between South Michigan and Main Streets.
There were also Powell family members living
around the Cedar Street area in Mishawaka.
The Powells were very active in their church, Olivet A.M.E.,
as well as in the social and business life of the community.
It is interesting to note that Elijah, Colonel and James Powell,
sons of Rebecca and Farrow Powell, served in the Civil War.
Colonel and James (being very light-skinned) enlisted as 'White'.
Both Farrow (sometimes spelled Pharoah) and Rebecca
Powell, along with many of the descendants of the William
Bryant family, are buried in South Bend's City Cemetery.
In 1973, students at Pierre Navarre School in South
Bend spearheaded a community project to preserve
the Powell house that stood at 420 South Main Street.
The students, along with many community leaders and
historians, wanted to preserve this historic home
by moving it to Leeper Park near the log home of
St. Joseph County's first settler, Pierre Navarre.
Unfortunately, the house was vandalized
several times and finally burned in 1980.
Religion has often played a very important role in
the history of the various communities comprised of
people who are members of the African-American Ethnic
grouping -- and this is noted in traces where the early
churches in South Bend, Indiana can still be found.
The Olivet A.M.E. (African Methodist Episcopal)
Church was the pioneer church in this area.
It was organized in 1873 at 310 W. Monroe Street.
The Powell family was instrumental in organizing
this first African-American church in South Bend.
Today, Olivet A.M.E. is located on the east side
of South Bend at 719 North Notre Dame Avenue.
The second church built on this site
replaced the wood frame building.
Today, it is the home of Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
It is most commonly seen beyond center field outside
Coveleski Stadium in downtown South Bend.
Pilgrim Baptist Church, established in 1890, is the
oldest African-American Baptist Church in the city.
Located at 116 N. Birdsell Street, it was
originally the Mount Zion Baptist Church.
The small wooden frame building was donated
to the congregation by the Studebaker brothers.
In 1941, the church was renamed
Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church.
Taylor's A.M.E. Zion Church was organized in 1907.
At that time it was the only African-America
church on the east side of South Bend.
Today, it is known as the First A.M.E. Zion Church
and is located at 801 North Eddy Street.
On West Washington Street in South
Bend is a simple, white-framed church.
St. Augustine's Catholic Church was founded in 1928 and
became the first fully-integrated Catholic parish in the area.
The people of St. Augustine's have served the
needs of the people who lived in the neighborhood.
Historical research proves that local African-Americans have
organized and built many churches to serve their needs.
In addition to being a place to worship, churches have provided
a place for social, cultural, educational and political activities.
- << Previous post in topic