Tuesday 2 August 2011

The America project - Indiana

Indiana (IN) size 36,418 sq.m population 6.5 million

Bordering states Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky (4)
State capital & Most populous city Indianapolis
Other notable places Fort Wayne, Evansville, South Bend, Gary
Notable landmarks and natural features Wabash River, Tippicanoe Lake, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Statehood 11th December 1816 (19th)

Ten famous Hoosiers
James Dean (actor; born Marion, 1931-1955)
Michael Jackson (musician and singer; born Gary, 1958-2009)
David Letterman (comedian and television presenter; born Indianapolis, 1947 -)
Shelley Long (actress; born Fort Wayne, 1949 -)
Steve McQueen (actor; born Beech Grove, 1930-1980)
Cole Porter (songwriter and composer; born Peru, 1891-1964)
Dan Quayle (politician, 44th Vice-President of the USA; born Indianapolis, 1947 -)
Tony Stewart (racing driver; born Columbus, 1971 -)
Kurt Vonnegut (writer; born Indianapolis, 1922-2007)
Wilbur Wright (inventor and aviation pioneer; born Millville, 1867-1912)

Three important events

1. Polly v. Lasselle (1820)
A landmark legal case in America. In 1819 two notable Abolitionists, Osborn and Kinney, decided to have a test case to bring maximum attention to their cause. They chose a slave called Polly, owned by Hyacinthe Lasselle of Vincennes. Polly was purchased before the establishment of the Northwest Territory, and her emancipation meant that under Indiana law, all other slaves had to be freed. The 1820 census revealed 190 slaves in Indiana, with the majority of the 1200 free blacks being as a result of the court case. By the 1830 census, only 3 slaves remained.

2. Indy 500 (30th May 1911)
Indianapolis is perhaps most famous around the world for its annual motor race, the Indy 500, a 500 mile race around the 2.5 mile four-corner oval circuit built by C.G. Fisher in 1909. The original track was paved entirely with bricks. These remained, in whole or in part until the 1961 500, after which the entire course - barring a yard-long strip of the original bricks on the start-finish line - was asphalted. The inaugural race was won by Ray Harroun in a Marmon-Nordyke "Wasp" in 6 hours 42 minutes, an average speed of 74.602 mph, in front of a crowd of 80,000. For comparison, the Centenary Indy 500 in May of 2011 - the 95th running of the race - was won by Briton Dan Wheldon in a Honda-powered Dallara car in 2 hours 56 minutes, an average speed of 170.265mph, before a crowd of over 300,000. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has gone on to also host the NASCAR Brickyard 400, as well as the Formula 1 and MotoGP US Grands Prix on its infield circuit.

3. Indianapolis Streetcar Strike (31st October - 7th November 1913)
On Halloween night 1913, the workers union of the Indianapolis Traction and Terminal Company went out on strike. It precipitated 8 days of mutiny and riots in the city. With elections to be held the following week, the local government clamped down hard on the strikers. The first riots began as strikebreakers attempted to restart the streetcar services and with the police unable to control the situation, by November 5th Indianapolis had been placed under martial law. The following day, Governer Samuel Ralston acceeded to the demands of the strikers. Within a month, minimum wage laws had been passed and the slum dwellings of Indianapolis had begun to be improved. In all, 6 people lost their lives during the disturbance.

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