Portraits in Black: Vignettes for Black History Month
"Portraits in Black" is a series of vignettes highlighting local African Americans or African American organizations that have made significant contributions to the Fort Wayne area.
John Nuckols, the first African American to serve on Fort Wayne city council represented the first district for 23 years from 1959 to 1982. To preserve his legacy, a bust of Nichols now stands at a park named in his honor at Harmar and Maumee Avenue.
Trailblazing educator Dr. Wendy Robinson served Fort Wayne Community Schools for 47 years, 17 as superintendent, before retiring in June 2020. Among her accolades; 2018 Superintendent of the Year — selected by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents.
Allen Superior Judge Lori Morgan is the first African American female judge in Allen County. In May 2021, she began presiding over the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division — after serving as a magistrate for 26 years. Her focus is on making a positive impact on children and families.
Dr. Al Brothers is the Vice President of the African American Genealogy Society in Fort Wayne and lectures with the Midwest African American Genealogy Institute. This retired engineer and former Vietnam war pilot now helps people learn about their pasts to maximize their futures.
Bronze start veteran and family physician, Dr. Alfred Stovall established a medical center in the heart of Fort Wayne's economically challenged community. He later founded the Black Medical-Dental Association. This history maker passed away in February 2018, a servant who used his life to help others.
Educator and community activist Hana Stith was one of the first Black teachers at Fort Wayne Community Schools. After four decades in education, she established the city's African/African-American Historical Society and Museum. This history maker died in 2018 at the age of 90.
An employee relations professional and founder of the Fort
Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce, John Dortch is now president of Fort Wayne Inkspot, a minority owned newspaper.
He also owns an entrepreneur center that empowers minority owned businesses.
Garry Hamilton served the Fort Wayne Police Department for more than 24 years, two of them as chief. During his first year as the top officer, homicides fell dramatically. Hamilton retired from the force in 2019, but is still a community advocate.
A designated historic district, Turner Chapel AME is the oldest African American church in Fort Wayne. Founded in 1849, it stands at 836 East Jefferson Blvd., still serving the community with cultural and nutrition centers and a library.
Special thanks to The Journal Gazette for access to archival photos.