Black Writers Added to Author Prints at Indy’s Downtown Library – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather forecast

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Public Library’s Central Library is in its first phase of carving the names of 10 famous black writers onto its walls.

It’s been a long time coming. “105 years later, we’re starting to correct the narrative,” said Dr. Michael Twyman, longtime patron and donor of the Name Engraving Project.

On Friday, the library unveiled the names of African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, American author Zora Neale Hurston, author Phillis Wheatley, writer James Baldwin, American poet Maya Angelou, novelist American Toni Morrison, American historian WEB Du Bois, American poet Paul Laurence. Dunbar, American poet Langston Hughes and American novelist Richard Wright.

The names joined a pre-existing list of 76 other big names in literature, the vast majority being white men and a few white women.

Over the years, the library has had two opportunities to add more names to its list, and neither of them included black writers until now.

“I think it’s phenomenal. Who doesn’t want their story told? With everything that’s happened in the world because of the pandemic. We’ve read more. We’ve had the Black Lives Matter movement. Expose people to the stories,” said Iagner Blade, a library patron.

Another patron, Lewis Single, added: “This expansion helps people realize how many great authors there are, who come from all walks of history.”

The project costs $47,000 and plans are to add more people’s names in a second phase.

For now, supporters are proud of the library’s progress and believe the new additions better reflect the city.

“Having names that represent us as a community and as a society can be very empowering. For young people and all people of different cultural identities, it’s a way to engage and be more inclusive and representative of the cultural diversity of Indianapolis and our country,” Twyman said.

Lola R. McClure