“The Neighborhood of Saturdays” is a collaborative research project undertaken by the Department of Anthropology at IUPUI along with a number of community-based organizations, including the Concord Neighborhood Center, Etz Chaim Sephardic Congregation, South Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, the Southside Picnic Committee, the Old Southside Neighborhood Association and the Stadium Village Business Association. Through oral history interviews and archival research, students have reconstructed a portrait of this unique Indianapolis neighborhood, located on the near Southside, that was once home to a range of immigrant groups as well as to significant populations of African-Americans and Appalachians. The students have focused primarily on documenting the experiences of two communities: Sephardic Jews who came to Indianapolis in the early decades of the 20th century - from what was then the Ottoman Empire, and African Americans, who migrated up from the south and from other Midwestern industrial cities. These two communities lived side-by-side in the neighborhood from the 1920s up to the 1960s when the Jewish residents began to migrate north. The remaining residents, many of whom were African-American, were then displaced ten years later by the construction of I-70.
The culmination of this project resulted in the publication of The Neighborhood of Saturdays: Memories of a Multi-Ethnic Community on Indianapolis' South Side. This project was funded in part through a Venture Grant from the IUPUI Solution Center and through donations from many generous community residents. We also had invaluable support from the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning and the IUPUI Department of Anthropology.
In Spring 2020, students enrolled in our community research class set out to update the story of the near Southside. Despite the fact that our fieldwork was cut short by the pandemic, students completed several digital projects. They created a website about the Old Southside and two videos featuring walking tours of different areas in the community. The Old Southside Neighborhood Video Tour recounts the stories of many of the fondly remembered landmarks that we learned about from community residents. The other video covers the history of the South Meridian Street Business District from McCarty St. to Morris St. The students also created a website with old maps and photos and other artifacts documenting the history of South Meridian St., and a website on the history of the Concord Neighborhood Center, the oldest continuously operating community center in Indianapolis.
News About the Collection
- The Indiana Jewish Historical Society holds 38th annual meeting (PDF)
- Freedman, S. G. (2012, April 6). In Indianapolis’s Southside Neighborhood, a Reunion of Traditions - On Religion (PDF). The New York Times.
- Indianapolis recognizes and celebrates the history of diverse Southside neighborhood (PDF)
- Moore, Wilma L. Everyday People: A Neighborhood of Saturdays. This article originally appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of the Indiana Historical Society publication Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History.
- Hyatt, Susan B. and Sharon Gamble. "The Neighborhood of Saturdays," The Art of the Matter on WFYI Public Radio. Interview begins at 13:54
- Schama, Simon. "The Story of the Jews: A Neighborhood of Saturdays," The Story of the Jews with Simon Schama on WFYI Public Television.
- "The Neighborhood of Saturdays", performance of oral histories at the Jewish Community Center in Indianapolis, March 30, 2014. (YouTube video)
- Higgins, Will. (2016, October 30). Old Indy neighborhood was an island of racial harmony. The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved from: . (PDF version of "Old Indy neighborhood...")
- Briggs, J. (2018, August 26). The last days of Babe Denny, a south-side Indianapolis neighborhood sacrificed for progress. The Indianapolis Star. (PDF version of "The last days of Baby Denny")
- Burris, A. (2019, November 11). Why the owners of Shapiro's Delicatessen are getting into the hotel business. The Indianapolis Star. (PDF version of "Why the owners of Shapiro's")
- Sanctorum, Megan. (2021, February 19). "Indianapolis woman shares story of how south side neighborhood was impacted by I-70: Construction decades ago still impacting families," Working for You on WRTV News.
- Bradley, Daniel. (2020, October 19). "'Under the highway': How interstates divided Indianapolis neighborhoods and displaced 17,000 people," WRTV News.
- Brown, M. J. (Host). (2021, May 19). The Neighborhood of Saturdays revisited [Audio podcast episode]. In IN Jewish History.
- Hyatt, Susan B. (2021, September 8). "Old Southside- Historic Neighborhoods of Indianapolis." Indianapolis Propylaeum.
- Revisiting the Neighborhood of Saturdays (website)
This digital collection was created as one of the end results of an ethnography course by Dr. Susan Hyatt. As part of the course, undergraduate students conducted interviews with neighborhood residents, held scan-a-thons for the collection of images and documents from the community members, and synthesized all of this material into a published monograph. IUPUI University Library assisted the students with the scan-a-thons, conducting several in class informational sessions to prepare with the community attended events. The Library also assisted in the collection, organization, public access, and archiving of the the images found in the Neighborhood of Satrudays digital collection.
As a means to support other research classes interested in hold scan-a-thons, below is a list of documents used to guide this process as well as brief lesson plans on in-class information sessions suggested prior to holding a community scan-a thon.
Download a PDF of "The Neighborhood of Saturdays" of the book at IUPUI ScholarWorks