Date of Award

Spring 4-28-1994

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Milton L. Farber

Second Advisor

George W. Geib

Third Advisor

Lesley Sharp


Indiana's Civil Rights Commission evolved from the need to combat the often subtle racial injustices that permeated Hoosier society in the late 1950s and 1960s. A tradition of segregation along racial lines in Indiana was being challenged in the early 1960s by newly elected leaders who believed that their fellow black Hoosiers deserved to be treated fairly under the laws that were designed to protect their citizenship. For that reasonr Indiana's new leaders chose to create a state government agency based on the federal model for a civil rights commission. With the formation of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission [ICRC] in 1961 and throughout its first four years of operation, Governor Matthew Welsh, a handful of Indiana's legislative members, the Civil Rights Commissioners and the ICRC direCtor, Harold Hatcher, were continuously at odds with a large faction of racist white Hoosier society. The Commission was a threat to the sacred traditions of segregation upheld by many Hoosiers throughout the state. Therefore, Indiana's General Assembly moved slowly and cautiously to empower the Commission. Once the Commission became empowered, however, as I will show it held its ground, performed its functions, and strove endlessly to destroy the patterns of discrimination in Indiana, often without success. Control of the civil rights movement in Indian