Although the state constitution expressly prohibited it, slavery existed in early Indiana. Two court cases filed by enslaved black women put an end to the practice.
In the early 19th century, Polly Strong and Mary Clark challenged prevailing attitudes to claim their civil rights as U.S. and Indiana citizens.
“People get really uneasy about saying Indiana practiced slavery,” said Eunice Trotter, a Clark descendant who has researched the story. “This is our history, and we don’t ignore it like it never happened. We embrace it, we learn from it, and we move on.”