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This Week's Facts:

  1. February Dedicated to Honoring & Celebrating African-American History

  2. Franklin County Teen Wins Prestigious 'Passing of the Torch' Award

  3. New ePollBook System Aims to Increase Voter Confidence

ICRC Schedules Statewide Legal Education Program

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) released the list of cities they will be visiting as part of their 2014 Statewide Continuing Legal Education Program. The program, now in its third year, provides low-cost CLE programs for Indiana attorneys and legal professionals. Locations include:

February- Jeffersonville
March- Bloomington
April- Indianapolis
May- Hammond
June- South Bend
August- Fort Wayne
September- Lafayette
October- Indianapolis
November- Kokomo
December- Evansville

Click here for more information on the 2014 Statewide Continuing Legal Education Program. Topics vary by location, but sessions announced include Equal Employment Law, Disability, Fair Housing, Title VII: Bankruptcy, Credit, Corporations, Administrative Law, and Education and the First Amendment.  Further details about the seminars are forthcoming.

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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February Dedicated to Honoring & Celebrating African-American History

Black History MonthFebruary is a time to acknowledge and learn about the contributions, history, and accomplishments of African-Americans not only in the United States, but all over the world. As a Harvard-trained historian, Carter G. Woodson, like W. E. B. Du Bois before him, believed that truth could not be denied and that reason would prevail over prejudice. His hopes to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization was realized when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925.

The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.  By the time of Woodson's death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African-American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. At mid–century, mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week.

The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all color on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture. 

The celebration was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation's bicentennial.   President Gerald R. Ford’s message  urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month. By this time, the entire nation had come to recognize the importance of Black history in the drama of the American story.

Since then, each American president has issued African American History Month proclamations.  To learn more about African-American history and resources, visit the Smithsonian Education heritage page or the Library of Congress for resources, proclamations, legislative and executive branch documents.    

Franklin County Teen Wins Prestigious 'Passing of the Torch' Award

ICRC: Passing the Torch AwardAccording to a press release from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Franklin County High School senior Autumn J. Riley was awarded with the prestigious 2014 Passing the Torch Award by Indiana Governor Mike Pence Thursday, January 16, 2014 at the Indiana Statehouse during the 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Indiana Holiday Celebration. Autumn received the award for her winning entry in the Third Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest.

“Autumn’s entry showed incredible creativity and understanding of the March on Washington as well as Dr. King’s life,” said Jamal L. Smith, Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. “We were pleased to honor such an outstanding and deserving young woman.”

Autumn’s entry, titled Guardian, was selected as the winner by a panel of judges who reviewed more than 300 entries for this year’s contest. The theme for the Third Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Art, Writing and Multimedia Contest was to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

In addition to receiving the 2014 Passing the Torch Award from Indiana Governor Mike Pence, Autumn also received a $500.00 college scholarship from Indiana Black Expo, Inc. Autumn, who currently holds a 3.5 grade point average at Franklin County High School, plans to major in Pre-Dentistry in the fall at IUPUI.

The Indiana Civil Rights Commission enforces the Indiana civil rights laws and provides education and services to the public in an effort to ensure equal opportunity for all Hoosiers and visitors to the State of Indiana. For more information visit or call 1-800-628-2909.

New ePollBook System Aims to Increase Voter Confidence

SOS: Elections DivisionIndiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson announced in a January 29th press release three electronic poll book systems (ePollBooks) have been certified for use in Indiana elections. The vendors with approved ePollBooks are Decision Support, Hart InterCivic and Election Systems and Software.

The new ePollBook system is an electronic, modernized version of the traditional paper poll list, which has been used for decades.  With traditional paper poll lists, poll workers compare a voter’s ID with the names on the list before issuing a ballot. The voter then signs the list next to their name and indicates whether or not the voter’s address has changed.

The new ePollBooks will scan the bar code on the back of a voter’s driver’s license to permit poll workers to efficiently locate the voter’s record and to ensure the voter gets the correct ballot. The voter will then sign an electronic signature pad.

“The ePollBook has been used in Indiana in since the 2007 vote center pilot program,” said Secretary Lawson. “Now, all counties have the option to use ePollBooks. Statewide standards will help county officials make sure they purchase the best equipment and give Hoosier voters confidence in their counties election equipment.”

The Indiana standards used to test and certify the approved ePollBooks were developed by Ball State University political and computer scientists and are being considered as a model for other states. Pennsylvania and Virginia have already asked for more information about Indiana’s new standards. 

Information concerning all ePollBook systems that have applied for certification will be published at as additional information becomes available.

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