History of the IBLC

It was the desire to organize and focus the talents and energies of African-American legislators that led to the establishment of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus in 1979. Our voices represent the concerns and hopes of the citizens we serve. Since its inception, the IBLC has generated positive discussions about often-difficult subjects on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives and the Indiana State Senate.

Indiana’s African-American community has contributed much to the legislative process in our state since 1881 and before.

In 1881, the first African-American began serving as a member of the Indiana General Assembly: James Sidney Hinton—a Republican from Marion County—served in the Indiana House of Representatives for one term.

It was not until 1941 that the first African-American served in the Indiana Senate: Robert Lee Brokenburr, a prominent Marion County attorney and businessman, served in most of the legislative sessions between 1941 and 1963. Brokenburr, too, was a Republican.

The first African-American woman elected to the Indiana General Assembly was Daisy Riley Lloyd, she was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1964 as a Democrat from Marion County. Two Democrat women earned the distinction of being the first female African-Americans to serve in the Indiana Senate. Julia Carson of Marion County and Katie Hall of Lake County moved from their Indiana House of Representatives seats to the Indiana Senate in the 1977 legislative session.

Throughout the IBLC’s history, several African-American families have provided generational support to the Indiana General Assembly. Multiple members of the Dickinson, Summers and Harris families have served the people of Indiana in the legislature.

Undoubtedly, the IBLC will continue working to help African-American and other minority citizens make a history of their own. While taking time to look back to acknowledge the progress of past generations, we will keep our eyes on the future—and on the prize of equality and opportunity.

Past Members

Together, the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus members listed below represent more than a century of service to the people of Indiana.

Donna Harris

Lake Co.
House-Democrat
Elected: 2015

Carolene Mays

Marion Co.
House-Democrat
Elected: 2003

John Aguilera

Lake Co.
House-Democrat
Elected: 2001

Samuel Smith

Lake Co.
Senate-Democrat
Elected: 1999

Mark Blade

Vigo Co.
Senate-Democrat
Elected: 1997

Cleo Washington

St. Joseph Co.
Senate-Democrat
Elected: 1997

James Van Leer

Delaware Co.
House-Republican
Elected: 1995

Mae Dickinson

Marion Co.
House-Democrat
Elected: 1993

Glenn Howard

Marion Co.
Senate-Democrat
Elected: 1993

Billie Breaux

Marion Co.
Senate-Democrat
Elected: 1990

Earl Harris

Lake Co.
House-Democrat
Elected: 1983

Earline Rogers

Lake Co.
House and Senate-Democrat
Elected: 1983