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History Department

Moses Broyles, 1857 -- Learning in Black and White

Moses Broyles grave marker
Logo: Learning in Black & White

In 1857, Moses Broyles might have become Hanover College's second African-American student. 

Instead, the College rejected his application for admission.  Apparently, the faculty and Board of Trustees chose to abandon the College's founding principles because they believed that admitting an African-American student might reduce enrollment or cause conflict on campus.

Born a slave, he purchased his freedom in 1851 (when he was about twenty-five years old).  He was a student at the nearby Eleutherian College, a school that offered education at all levels and to male and female as well as black and white students.  Broyles studied at Eleutherian from 1854 to 1857, when he planned to attend Hanover College.  After being refused admission, he moved to Indianapolis.  That same year, he began teaching in an elementary school for African-American children and was ordained as minister of the Second Baptist Church there.  In 1872, he helped to integrate the Indianapolis high school.  In 1876, he wrote a history of the Second Baptist Church, and he continued to serve as pastor there until his death in 1882.

Broyles's Second Baptist Church is now known as Purpose of Life Ministries, and when the congregation learned in 2005 that he was buried in an unmarked grave, they purchased a tombstone and held a special memorial service for him.

  • David J. Bodenhamer and  Robert G. Barrows, The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1994), 361 (available online).
  • Moses Broyles, The History of the Second Baptist Church of Indianapolis (Indianapolis: Printing and Publishing House, 1876).
  • Jacob Piatt Dunn, Greater Indianapolis: The History, the Industries, the Institutions, and the People of a City of Homes (Indianapolis, Ind.: Lewis Pub. Co, 1910), 573-575 (available online).
  • Abigail Fulton, "The John Finley Crowe Effect: Tracing the Influence of the Abolitionist Hero-Founder through Hanover College's Progressive and Regressive History with African-American Students," student paper, fall 2008, Duggan Library Archives, Hanover College (Hanover, Ind.).
  • "In Memory of Pastor Moses Broyles," memorial program, 2005 (available in Learning in Black and White).
  • Herman Murray Riley, "A History of Negro Elementary Education in Indianapolis," Indiana Magazine of History, 26, no. 4 (1930), 288-305 (available online).
  • William C. Thompson, "Eleutherian Institute: A Sketch of A Unique Step in the Educational History of Indiana," Indiana Magazine of History, 19, no. 2 (1923), 109-131 (available online).