La Portean’s sculpture of suffragist Naomi Anderson to be unveiled at June 19 celebration


An artist’s sketch of Naomi Anderson.

The La Porte County Convention and Visitors Bureau will host a kickoff celebration of Naomi Bowman Talbert Anderson, noted 19th-century African American suffragist, civil rights activist and writer. Born in 1843 and raised in Michigan City, she was known as a dynamic speaker, appearing with founders of the women’s suffragist movement that resulted in the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. She died in 1899.

The event will be held on Juneteenth — Saturday, June 19 — at the visitors bureau, 4073 Franklin St., Michigan City. Doors open at 5 p.m. with remarks to begin at 5:30 p.m. Mix and Mingle will continue until 6:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be offered.

Sculptor and La Porte resident Bernard Williams will be there to show an image of the sculpture to be installed at Michigan City’s Charles Westcott Park in the fall of 2021.

“This large, multi-piece artwork will reflect the life and legacy of Anderson amidst the historical and cultural forces that shaped the suffragist and human rights struggle in a strikingly original way. It will be a beacon for our community and beyond,” said lead researcher Bonnie Schaaf, longtime resident of Michigan City.

“I am thrilled by the response of the Michigan City Mainstreet Association, the Celebrating Naomi Anderson Project Team and the Michigan City Public Art Committee, who all gave me meaningful insights into the pivotal role Ms. Anderson played in these times of struggle,” Williams said.

Also unveiled will be an historic photograph of a Pullman Standard laborer, provided to the Michigan City Public Art Committee by the Barker Mansion. The identity of the laborer is unknown, as is the source of the original photo, which has been enlarged to poster size. Considered iconic of the city’s industrial history, the committee is seeking information to identify the African American man.

Student poetry related to Ms. Anderson will also be displayed, as well as a spoken word performance by Carnessa Carnes.

Masks are required.

For more information, contact Dale Cooper, visitor center manager, at 219-872-5055.

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