Archiver rediscovers identity of IU first female African American student

Parker, Carrie

Carrie Parker is pictured, center.

When Dina Kellams published a blog about the rediscovery of Carrie Parker, who attended IU in 1898, the IU News and Media Team worked with IU Libraries to share the story. The hope was to learn more about IU’s first female African American student and to make contact with her descendants. No one had any idea the amazing turn Carrie’s story would take.

Inside IU Bloomington shared the story throughout the university. Amos Brown invited Kellams, the director of the Indiana University Bloomington Archives, to speak on his WTLC radio program in Indianapolis. Outside researchers sent in tips and Kellams continued her research, often on her own time. Then Kellams discovered the most shocking news of all: one of Carrie Parker’s sons was alive and well!

On Aug. 27, Leon Parker Taylor, 99, and three other family members came to the Bloomington campus because he wanted to meet the researcher who was so interested in his mother. Kellams wrote a follow-up blog about the family’s visit and what we learned about this IU pioneer. Indiana University rolled out the crimson carpet for the family and delivered a promise – Carrie Parker will not be forgotten!

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