Hispanics in Indianapolis
Jackie McCracken
Belzer Middle School
February 2000

Curriculum Area: Spanish and Social Studies

Grade Level: 8th grade

Appropriate Group Size: Individual Research, Whole Class Product

Time Expected to Complete Instructional Plan: 3-4 days

Instructional Objectives:

  1. Students shall explore the history of the Indianapolis Hispanic Community.
  2. Expose students to an ongoing cultural evolution, one in which students of all backgrounds learn to see Latino culture apparent in their own community.
  3. Students will create a timeline of Hispanics in Indianapolis beginning from 1870 ending in 1999 while exploring local social issues of the past and present.
  4. Exhibit a positive attitude toward different cultures by attending the Americanos exhibit at the Eiteljorg museum.

Indiana State Proficiencies

Goal 5: Recognize the interrelatedness of languages, literature, and cultures through a knowledge of the artifacts, expressions, and traditions of the foreign culture.

Goal 4: Apply developmentally appropriate writing strategies for different purposes and audiences.
photo of bulletin board
Examples of student research posted on a bulletin board. Each page is in chronological order of the timeline.


  1. Time line of Hispanics in Indianapolis (available through the Eiteljorg Museum
  2. Internet access to look up various sites.
  3. Publications from various places, i.e. churches, bakeries, radio stations, WTBU, local businesses, The Hispanic Center, and El Centro Hispano.
  4. Access to PowerPoint.
  5. Posters from "Americanos" (available through the Eiteljorg Museum).


Students gathered materials from local Hispanic businesses. The authentic materials were used in conjunction with their research.
photo of bulletin board

Student Instructions:

  1. Latino Indianapolis is a timeline of Hispanics in Indianapolis. It begins in 1870 and ends in 1999. The timeline has 27 sections. Give each member of the class one section. If class size is under 27 students, some will have two parts. If class size is over 27, some students will work with partners.

    The timeline of Hispanics in Indianapolis is displayed in the foreign language hallway of Belzer Middle School.
    photo of timeline
  2. Copy the rubric onto a transparency. Discuss what is expected from each student to receive the maximum 50 points.
  3. Hand out each students' assignment stapled to a copy of the rubric.
  4. Show the transparency with timeline suggestions for each student. Challenge them to do as much research as possible.
  5. Decorate a bulletin board with the time line. Any brochures, pictures, newspapers, etc. should be stapled to the PowerPoint Blush background. I also added the Americanos posters for more decoration.

Student Assessment:
Use 50-point rubric. (Attached Below)

Expansion of Instructional Plan:

  1. Create a questionnaire from the timeline for other classes to answer.
  2. Invite speakers from the community to talk about the timeline, perhaps someone from Eli Lilly, El Centro Hispano, Chamber of Commerce, or The Hispanic Education Center.

Provide family activities if applicable:
Students can inform their families aout panaderias, Mexican grocery stores and Hispanic restaurants. Students are encouraged to on outings to Fiesta, churches, or El Centro Hispano and to watch WTBU TV to further learn about the culture.

Teacher notes:
Show students examples of realia such as a brochure from Fiesta '99, flyers to the new Panaderia on Franklin Road, an authentic menu, a business card from Esperanza Zendejas' Festive Traditions store, and pictures from events attended around the city. The realia should provide them a basis for their own research or authentic items.

Illustrate the importance of research. The timeline is about THEIR own community, which should be meaningful and real to them.

Exhibit #1:


50    High level of understanding timeline. Organization of information. Analyzed information researched, explored different points of view. Excellent realia. Beautiful job done on artwork (drawing, coloring, and painting a person, scene, or monument).
45    Basic level of understanding key concept. Gives an insight to research. Found additional research to what was given. Good realia. Great job done on artwork (drawing, coloring, and painting a person, scene, or monument).
40    Evidence of understanding. Did some research; additional information is not apparent. Realia is not authentic. Good job done on artwork (drawing, coloring, and painting a person, scene, or monument).
35    Very little research done. No additional information given. Realia is below standard. Artwork needs improvement.
30    Didn't do enough research or find enough information. Realia is missing. Artwork is missing
Scale: 50=A; 45=B; 40=C; 35=C-; 30=D-

Final Grade: _____

General Comments:



Exhibit #2:

Señora McCracken
Timeline Suggestions

1870: Find 1870 census. What other ethnic groups were established in Indy? What proof of this is there (e.g. Madame Walker Theater, Eiteljorg Museum)?

1910: 1898 Spanish American War. 1910 relations with Cuba and Puerto Rico.

1918: Lake County production plants (what did they produce?). Do many Hispanics still live in Southern Indiana?

1920: What restrictions on European immigration? Where did the Mexicans go to in Indiana during 1920?

1930's: Eli Lilly. E-mail them and ask what are their stats on Hispanics that work for their company. Contact Esperanza Zendejas (see me) and ask her what it is like to work for Lilly.

1940's: The affects of WWII in Indy. Statistics of Hispanics in the military today versus 1940.

1950: Explain the Batists government. What is the Cuban population in Indy? Do you know anyone Cuban? Can you interview them?

1958: Contact the Indianapolis Star. Is there still a Mexican Social Club?

1960's: Mexican grocery stores in Indy (addresses, look in the phone book, advertisements). What happened to El Nopal?

1963: What are Cuban refugees? Why did they come to the U.S. Compare and contrast with Elian Gonzalez. What is the Cuban population in Indy?

1965: Hispanics in IPD. Who was the detective? Call the police department to interview.

1967: Info in St. Mary's Church. Is there still a Hispano-American Society?

1969: Call WFMS - when did they stop the one-hour program? Why? How many of their listeners are Hispanic?

Present: Call the Hispanic Center and find out what they offer. Get statistics from them.

Present: Interview someone who worked at Fiesta or went there. What is Fiesta?

1982: What happened to the show? Contact WAJC.

1984: Call the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and request information. Get a copy of Estrella Hispana or other newspapers produced by the Hispanic community.

1987: Why did awareness of Hispanics increase with the Pan Am Games? What are the Pan Am games?

1988: What is the Hispanic Education Center? Who runs it? See Mrs. McCracken.

1990-1993: What is the current census of Hispanics in the U.S.? Contact someone on WTBU TV at Butler and interview

1995: What is the Indiana population of Hispanics? Break down the ethnic groups. Interview a local Hispanic.

1999: Which churches offer Spanish-language services? Do the churches help the Hispanic community in any other way?