Street Renamed for Prominent Black Family

Indiana University is faced with making a decision: Who should we rename this street after? a 19th century president? a black family?

The president was part of the school and he supported eugenics. The black family rose to prominence after escaping the horrors of slavery.

The IU Board of Trustees voted Friday to approve changing the name of Jordan Avenue to Eagleson Avenue.

Generations of the Eagleson family, a black family, is cited for making significant contributions to the city, university, state, and nation, starting with Halson Vashon Eagleson Sr., who was born into slavery in 1851 and came to Bloomington in the 1880s. His family included Preston Emmanuel Eagleson, the first African-American to earn a master’s degree from IU, and Frances Marshall Eagleson, who was the first Black woman to graduate from IU and became a teacher and administrator at North Carolina Central University.

The Indiana University decided last year to remove David Starr Jordan’s name from a classroom building, parking garage, and campus creek after a committee concluded he held views that “conflicted fundamentally with the university’s values.” Jordan was an Indiana University president in the late 1800s.

Jordan was at the forefront of the American eugenics movement, which promoted forced sterilization legislation and influenced the racial theories that led to the Holocaust.

– Ella Breedlove