By John Sittler
INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Historical Bureau chose sculptor Jon Hair to create busts honoring two influential African-American leaders for display in the Statehouse.
The bronze busts of James Sidney Hinton, who was elected as Indiana’s first African-American state representative in 1880, and Julia Carson, the former state senator who was elected to Congress in 1996 and died in 2007. They will be a part of the black history display in the Statehouse – one that is being created after state lawmakers approved a measure requiring it.
“I very much admire these two individuals who accomplished so much. It is an honor for me to capture their likenesses, which I hope will inspire people to make their own contributions to Indiana history,” said Hair in accepting the commissions.
Hair is known for sculptures such as “The Boilermaker” at Purdue University and “Olympic Strength” at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Other pieces include life-size bronzes of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.
Hinton was born in Raleigh, N.C., on Christmas Day of 1834. His family soon moved to Terre Haute where he worked a variety of jobs including stints as a barber and a school teacher in Vigo County. He was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1880 as a Republican.
Carson served for nearly two decades in both the Indiana House and Senate before winning election as a Democrat to the U.S. House in 1996. This election made her both the first African-American and the first woman to represent Indiana in Congress.
“Let’s remember Congresswoman Carson by doing the people’s work and fighting for those who don’t have a voice,” said her grandson, U. S. Rep. André Carson, D-Ind.
The busts of Hinton and Carson will be displayed in niches on the second and third floors of the Statehouse.
John Sittler is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.
Former U.S. Rep. Julia Carson and former state Rep. James Hinton, the state’s first black lawmaker, will be honored with busts to be displayed at the Indiana Statehouse.