Library offering free class on early black settlers

The Jennings County Public Library’s Genealogy Department will kick off Black History Month with a free, public class about the county’s earliest black pioneer families.

The class is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the library, 2375 State Road 3 North, North Vernon. No registration is required.

“Since the Richland community doesn’t really exist any more, it is easy to forget the very strong black history in this community,” said Sheila Kell, director of the Genealogy Department.

Kell said there were many black families in Jennings County dating to the early 1800s.

“Some were free blacks from the beginning, and some came here after they had escaped slavery. Some families stayed here for generations and some moved on, leaving family members behind,” Kell said.

The class will cover some of the politics of the early times and family records and local events, she added.