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Before World War II, there was a great deal of job discrimination. Some employers would not hire Blacks. Other employers only hired Blacks for poor jobs with low pay. Some Blacks started their own businesses so they could have have better jobs. Traditional Black businesses were barber shops, beauty parlors, shoeshine shops, and restaurants.


After World War II, many people protested to gain better jobs for African Americans. One group that led protests was the NAACP 

(National Association for the Advancement of  Colored People).

Ball Glass Works

Ball Glass Works of Muncie was started in 1888 by the Ball brothers. Their factory made canning jars. Unlike many other businesses, they hired African 

American workers.

New Castle March for Equal Employment
Elizabeth and Harold Kelly's Record Store

Elizabeth and Harold Kelly owned a very successful record shop, and it opened in 1947. It was the first and only Black­owned business on the Main Street of Richmond, Indiana. It was also very successful and Elizabeth tried to publish a book documenting her experience.

Integrating Government Service in New Castle

In 1987, the NAACP of New Castle organized a march to shine light on (and end) what they felt was racial discrimination in the employment practices of the city. Black citizens were not getting good government service jobs; there were no policemen or firefighters, instead, Blacks were given lowly service jobs such as picking up trash from off of the ground.


The build up to the march included things like articles written in the local newspaper by NAACP members such as Rick Cottman and Rev. Charles Harrison. This drew attention from the surrounding community, and led to an 11 ft. cross burning on Rick Cottman’s front yard while he and his family were home. The march had about 150 participants and eventually resulted in the hire of the first black firefighter in New Castle, Mark Boatright, who is now the fire chief of New Castle.

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