Jesse Dickinson Papers

Summary Information


Indiana University South Bend Archives
1700 Mishawaka Avenue P.O. Box 7111
South Bend, Indiana 46634
Phone: (574) 520 – 4392
Creator: Civil Rights Heritage Center
Title: Jesse Dickinson papers of the Civil Rights Heritage Center
Extent: One (1) bankers box at 1.25 cubic feet, one (1) flat case at 1.20 cubic feet.


Jessie Dickinson (1906-1982) was born in Chandler, Lincoln County, Oklahoma. In 1924 Dickinson married Helen Bledsoe. They had four sons, twins Coleridge Taylor and Roland Hayes, Valjean, and Carroll. In 1928 Jesse Dickinson moved his family to South Bend, Indiana where he worked with the Hering House (African American Recreational Center located at 745 Western Avenue in South Bend). There he supervised youth programs and helped organize and later served as a supervisor of the Saint Joseph County recreation program. Jessie Dickinson went on to serve six terms in the Indiana House of Representatives (1943, 1945, 1951, 1953, 1955, 1957) and two terms in the Indiana Senate (1959, 1961). Jesse Dickinson also served as Executive Director of the South Bend Housing Authority (1958 to1972) where he was responsible for low income and senior housing development. Jesse Dickinson was instrumental in the opening of race relations in South Bend, and an integral part in the desegregation of the Natatorium (a segregated swimming pool in South Bend). Jesse L. Dickinson died on 5 June 1982.

“Content references the Indiana Historical Society’s Jesse L. Dickinson Collection, 1911 – 1986 (”

Scope and Content Note:

Material is arranged in chronological order, excepting two scrapbooks too large to fit in a standard bankers box. These two are located in a flat box stored in Archives Room #204A – in the lower shelving unit at the east end of the room. The collection material spans from circa 1941 to 1982. Further, the collection documents several South Bend-specific betterment organizations, including – but not exclusive to: South Bend Housing Authority, United States Congressional Record (92nd Congress, October 14, 1972), The Chapin Street Project, the South Bend and St. Joseph County Urban League.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions:

This collection is open for research. Advanced notice is required.

Usage Restrictions:

For more information about the copyright status of materials in this collection, please contact the IU South Bend Archivist.

The IU South Bend Archives respects the intellectual property rights of others and does not claim copyright for non-university records, materials in the public domain, or materials for which we do not hold a Deed of Gift. Responsibility for the determination of the copyright status of these materials rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Researchers are responsible for securing permission from copyright owners and any other rights holders for any reuse of these materials that extends beyond fair use or other statutory limitations.

Digital reproductions of archival materials from the IU South Bend Archives are made available for noncommercial educational and research purposes only. If you are the copyright holder for any of the digitized material and have questions about its inclusion on our site, please contact the Indiana University South Bend Archivist.

Custodial History:

This collection was donated to the IU South Bend Civil Rights Heritage Center by Coleridge Dickinson, September 22, 2003

Preferred Citation:

[Item], Jesse Dickinson papers of the Civil Rights Heritage Center, Indiana University South Bend Archives.

Processing Information:

Processed by IUSB Archive Student Worker Muhammad Shabazz II, March 2014; updated by CRHC Tours and Collections Coordinator George Garner, September 2014. Updated to new Excel spreadsheet template and to reflect new naming structure by CRHC Curator George Garner, March 2016. Unique IDs by CRHC Curator George Garner, December 2016.