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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Citizens Forum, Inc. records

Repository: Indiana Historical Society. William H. Smith Memorial Library

Collection Description (Extant): Founded by retired schoolteacher Mattie Coney in 1964 to combat housing discrimination, Citizens Forum soon became a neighborhood rehabilitation program. Health, safety, and beautification projects were carried out through block clubs. Mattie and Elmo Coney, along with Citizens Forum, gained national attention, and other large cities began programs patterned after the organization. Citizens Forum disbanded in 1984.

Contents: Correspondence, business and financial records, block club records, and program and activity records from Citizens Forum and related organizations. Also included are audio cassettes, photographs, audio-visual material, and artifacts. Materials include grant and fundraising papers, employee and volunteer records, public relations materials, and school and neighborhood project materials. Topics include community health, safety, and beautification; neighborhood watch programs; crime prevention; and job training.

[...] Part 4 of the collection is made up of 10 audio cassette tapes (1982-1983; ND-CT 704-712). These tapes contain Citizens Forum radio programs and presentations, a speech by Mattie Coney, board and block club meetings, various speakers, and the tape to accompany the Havoc rodenticide slide show.

Part 5 is items removed from the collection, including audio-visual materials (slides, video tapes, film), photographs (black and white and color) and artifacts. The audio-visual materials were used in the many educational programs sponsored by the Forum, and the photographs document the organization's many activities.

Date(s): 1962-1985

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: M 0425; CT 0704-0712

Extent: 12 manuscript boxes, 10 audiocassette tapes, photographs, and artifacts

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Related Archival Items: See other holdings acquired as part of the Black Women in the Middle West project.

Interviewees: Mattie Coney, Zadia Thompson, Richard Crum, Russ Leonard, Marie Harmon, Marv T. Elliott

Rights (Extant): Permission to reproduce or publish material in this collection must be obtained in writing from the Indiana Historical Society.


African Americans--Indiana
Citizens Forum (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Civil rights movements--Indiana
Discrimination in housing--Indiana--Indianapolis


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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