Flossie Bailey, Local Historical Hero, Featured in observing MLK Day Share

Jan 15, 2024  |  Web Administrator

In hon­or of Dr. Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. Day, the City of Mar­i­on is high­light­ing a local hero from his­to­ry: Kather­ine Flossie” Bai­ley.

Mrs. Bai­ley stands as a pio­neer­ing advo­cate for our com­mu­ni­ty who tire­less­ly cham­pi­oned the well-being of all indi­vid­u­als with­in our city and across the state.” — May­or Ronald Mor­rell, Jr.

Flossie Bailey

Her Sto­ry (from the image above) reads:

Kather­ine (Flossie) Bai­ley
Koko­mo, Howard Coun­ty
1895 – Feb­ru­ary 61952

Kather­ine (Flossie) Har­vey was born in Koko­mo, Indi­ana, in 1895. She mar­ried Dr. Wal­ter T. Bai­ley who had set up prac­tice in near­by Mar­i­on in Grant Coun­ty, and lat­er gave birth to their only child, Wal­ter Charles.

While in Mar­i­on, Flossie became rec­og­nized as a com­mu­ni­ty leader at the state and nation­al lev­els. In 1918, she began work­ing to estab­lish a Mar­i­on chap­ter of the NAACP. She and her hus­band spoke out against hos­pi­tal and school seg­re­ga­tion. They also filed law­suit against a movie the­ater that had refused them admit­tance and fought that injus­tice all the way to the Indi­ana Supreme Court. Despite los­ing the law­suit, they con­tin­ued to speak out against racial injus­tice.

On August 7, 1930, two black teenage boys arrest­ed for rob­bery and rape were lynched by an angry mob. In an attempt to pre­vent it, Flossie made numer­ous phone calls and sent telegrams to the governor’s office, request­ing addi­tion­al police pro­tec­tion. Despite receiv­ing death threats she con­tin­ued her efforts to bring jus­tice to her com­mu­ni­ty. She was instru­men­tal in bring­ing two of the lynch­ers to tri­al. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the all-white, all-male jury found them not guilty.

Flossie con­tin­ued to fight for racial equal­i­ty. She trav­eled through­out Indi­ana, speak­ing to the Gov­er­nor and leg­is­la­tors and to every NAACP chap­ter. Her efforts result­ed in a tough new anti-lynch­ing bill that was signed into law in March 1931 by Gov­er­nor Har­ry G. Leslie. After its pas­sage, the Indi­anapo­lis Recorder wrote, Indi­ana has retrieved its high sta­tus as a safe place to live.” Her efforts on behalf of racial equal­i­ty made her one of the most influ­en­tial civ­il rights lead­ers in Indiana.

For more infor­ma­tion about Flossie Bai­ley, go to: http://www.showmegrantcounty.c….

For more infor­ma­tion about Writ­ing Her Sto­ry, go to: http://​www​.in​.gov/​i​c​w​/​2440.htm.

Addi­tion­al and more detailed ref­er­ences avail­able at the end of Women’s His­to­ry Month

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