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Historic African American Sites in Indiana to Benefit from Grants

INDIANAPOLIS,IN — Two funds honoring the legacy of a retired Eli Lilly chemist are providing grants to organizations working to preserve significant African American landmarks in Indiana.

Standiford “Stan” Cox, who passed away in February 2019, joined Eli Lilly and Co. in 1957 as its first Black chemist and was a generous advocate for the preservation of African American heritage sites. During his lifetime, he established two funds with the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), one in his name and one to honor his parents.

Born in Brazil, IN, Cox was an Indiana University graduate who worked for 32 years for Eli Lilly and Co., beginning as a chemist and holding a variety of positions during his career. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious academic society, he also earned a master’s degree from Butler University. An advocate for academic biochemical research, he endowed the Standiford H. Cox Professorship in Biochemistry at Indiana University in Bloomington.

The Standiford H. Cox Fund supports the restoration, preservation, operation and ongoing maintenance of African American historic sites in Indiana. The Dovie Stewart Cox & Chester A. Cox Sr. Memorial Fund provides support for Lost Creek Community Grove at the Lost Creek Settlement near Terre Haute, one of the state’s earliest settlements of free people of color.

Indiana Landmarks’ African American Landmarks Committee serves as a preservation advisor to both funds, recommending projects. In 2020, the fund awarded $135,000 to 15 projects:

  • Embracing Hope of Howard County, Inc., Kokomo: $10,000 for rehabilitation of the 1919 Douglass School.
  • Evansville African American Museum, Inc.: $5,000 to help repair the c. 1930 Alfred and Phoebe Porter House in Evansville’s Baptisttown neighborhood.
  • Friends of the Town Clock Church, Inc., New Albany: $10,000 to help insulate the attic of the 1852 church.
  • Historic Eleutherian College, Inc., Lancaster: $3,000 to help develop visitor displays, publications, and a video showcasing the history and upper stories of the 1855 building.
  • Historic Madison Foundation, Inc.: $15,000 for repairs to the 1850 former African Methodist Episcopal Church in Madison’s Georgetown neighborhood.
  • Lyles Station Historic Preservation Corporation, Inc.: $10,000 for structural repairs, painting and gutter replacement on the 1919 Lyles Consolidated School near Princeton.
  • Lynn Street Colored School Center of Goodwill, Inc., Seymour: $10,000 for masonry repair and structural stabilization of the 1870 school.
  • Olivet African Methodist Episcopal Church, South Bend: $10,000 to help replace the roof of the 1923 church.
  • Prince Hall Masonic Association, Inc., Indianapolis: $10,000 for roof repairs to the 1916 Oriental Lodge No. 500.
  • UNWA-ANU, Inc., Indianapolis: $9,000 to install a new furnace and air conditioning system and repair doors and historic windows at the 1906 Indianapolis Public Library Branch #1.
  • Wabash Valley Community Foundation, Terre Haute: $10,000 to replace a wheelchair lift system to the sanctuary of the historic Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.
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    Four of the grants aided projects supported by Indiana Landmarks:

  • $8,000 to help install steel door systems in the 1941 North Gleason Park Community Building in Gary.
  • $5,000 to create signage raising awareness of the National Register-listed Flanner House Homes Historic District in Indianapolis, in partnership with neighborhood organization M.E.D.I.C.
  • $10,000 for roof and rafter repairs on the 1858 Roberts Chapel in Atlanta, in partnership with Roberts Chapel and Homecoming Burial, Inc.
  • $10,000 to repair the roof and chimneys of the National Register-listed 1959 St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Gary.

“Through this partnership with Indiana Landmarks, CICF is able to fulfill the legacy of Stan Cox and his commitment to preserve and honor the African American history and contributions made throughout our communities,” said Tamara Winfrey-Harris, vice president of community leadership and effective philanthropy at CICF.

In 2016, Cox gave a $100,000 gift through his CICF fund for the restoration of Rush County’s Beech Church, an Indiana Landmarks “10 Most Endangered” site that stands as the sole remaining structure associated with Indiana’s oldest free black settlement.

“Stan Cox has left an incredible legacy to the people of Indiana,” said Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services at Indiana Landmarks. “We are honored to work with the Central Indiana Community Foundation in a partnership that will aid in the restoration of important African American landmarks for years to come.”

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People who want to suggest a property that might qualify for grants from the funds should contact Indiana Landmarks with recommendations by April 1, 2021 at coxfunds@indianalandmarks.org.

Drawing on the expertise of its African American Landmarks Committee, Indiana Landmarks will make initial recommendations to CICF in late May. Sites will be assessed based on criteria including architectural and/or historical significance, opportunities for redevelopment, threat of demolition, and significance to Indiana’s African American heritage. Applicants must be a non-profit organization with active 501(c)3 status.

Questions should be directed to Indiana Landmarks at 317-639-4534 or 800-450-4534 or to Diane Schussel, senior community leadership officer at CICF, DianeS@cicf.org.


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