Bloomington’s Plan Commission has endorsed renaming the city’s portion of Jordan Avenue after a Black family that rose to prominence after escaping slavery instead of a 19th century Indiana University president who supported eugenics.
The Eagleson Avenue name will take effect Feb. 1 following the action Monday, The Herald Times reported.
City officials noted at least four generations of members of the Eagleson family made significant contributions to the city, university, state and nation, starting with Halson Vashon Eagleson Sr., who was born into slavery in 1851 and came to Bloomington in the 1880s. His children included Preston Emmanuel Eagleson, the first African American to earn a master’s degree from IU and the first to play football for the school. His grandchildren included Elizabeth Eagleson Bridgwaters, a local civic leader.
The street initially was named for former Indiana University President David Starr Jordan, but the university decided in October to remove Jordan’s name from a hall, parking garage and creek after a committee concluded he held views that “conflicted fundamentally with the university’s values.
Jordan was at the forefront of the American eugenics movement, which promoted forced sterilization legislation and influenced the racial theories that led to the Holocaust.