Black Women in Indiana History: Julia May Carson

Meet Julia May Carson a congresswoman and power broker.

February is Black History Month, which has us looking back on some of the amazing Black women we’ve featured in past stories on Indy Maven. By continuing to share their stories, we celebrate these women and shine a spotlight on their achievements. One such woman is the incredible Julia May Carson, who Will Higgins wrote about in his story, “The Badass Women of Crown Hill Cemetary”—originally published in October 2019.

Here’s an excerpt:

Julia Carson represented Indianapolis in the U.S. Congress from 1997 until her death (the first woman and the first African American to do so), but more than that she was the foremost political power broker in Center Township for a quarter century, from the 1980s until her passing in 2007. Louis Farrakhan, along with 2,000 other people, attended her four-hour funeral.

Behind the scenes she may have been calculating, but in person she was famously delightful.

“She’d walk up to somebody and even if she didn’t know them, she appeared to, and they responded as if they knew her,” pollster Brian Vargus once told IndyStar. “And this was not just political savvy; it was, for want of a better term, ‘street smarts.’”

Read the full story here.

Ellie Allen is Indy Maven’s Editorial Intern.

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