In the service lay a story of black Christians and white Jews who once shared a kind of promised land, a peacefully integrated section of Indianapolis called Southside. Its decades of harmony were a rebuke to the Southern-style racial divisions that characterized Indiana for much of the 20th century, from the Ku Klux Klan’s heyday in the interwar years to George Wallace’s popularity with the state’s voters in the 1960s.
Upward mobility, Interstate 70 and the construction of a football stadium hollowed out the neighborhood starting in the late 1960s, scattering its residents and severing bonds of commerce and friendship. But in the last four years, an anthropology professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Susan B. Hyatt, has set about finding former Southsiders and restoring those ties through social events and reciprocal worship services at South Calvary and the Etz Chaim Sephardic synagogue.
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