AfriGeneas States Research Forum
[IN] 1862 La Porte 27 families worked on RR
While doing other research, I came across an interesting tidbit regarding the historically small African American population in my hometown of La Porte IN (was 3% for many years, now dwindled to 1.9%, about 400 people). La Porte is in northern Indiana, about midway between South Bend and Chicago. It became an early hub of industry due to the railroad linkages and the presence of several manufacturing concerns -- most importatnly the Rumely company, which made threshers, tractors, and other farm equipment.
Historic racism in La Porte includes the fact that, until Federal housing law came into play, there was a local ordinance on the books forbidding black people from buying homes within the city limits -- except for one small area in the industrial zone.
The tidbit I found recently stated that in 1862, 27 black families were brought to La Porte by "the government" (not clear whether that means local, state, or federal level). These families were brought to La Porte to "work on the railroad" (not clear whether that means they were to build the railroad, or work in other capacities). They were housed in government-owned homes and were paid nine dollars a month.
I would imagine these families would be present in the 1870 census (which had 'color' as a category).
I came across this information while working on research regarding the hazardous waste left behind by La Porte's old industries -- which, of course, had the greatest affect on the people who lived closest to the factories. I'm sorry, I didn't jot down the URL for this info, but it was at one of three (online) places: the La Porte county library site, the Michigan City library site, or the INGenWeb archives. I *think* it was at the Michigan City library.
I hope this is useful to someone.
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