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Statue in the works for first African-American firefighter, state legislator in Delaware County

MUNCIE, Ind. – Leaders with Delaware County’s historical society hope to cast a statue in the next 12 to 16 months to honor a local African-American trailblazer. The bronze statue will be sculpted for Hurley Goodall, who is credited with several firsts in the county for the black community.

After graduating from Muncie Central High School in 1945, Goodall went on to live a career of service. It began by joining the Army in 1945. While he missed the war, he was stationed in Japan for two years.

In 1958, Goodall was one of two black men to become the first African-American firefighters in the county. Both men started the job on the same day with the Muncie Fire Department. He was a member of the staff for 20 years.

Goodall would accomplish another first for the African-American community in the county in 1970, when he was elected to the school board for Muncie Community Schools.

Chris Flook, the board president for the Delaware County Historical Society said he joined because race was becoming an issue for students and their education.

“To make sure any decision was equatable to everyone, regardless of class, and regardless of race,” said Flook.

Goodall stayed on the board until 1978.

“He was very well conditioned to people not being treated fair,” said Julius Anderson, who is married to Goodall’s niece.

Anderson said Goodall married a woman from Montgomery, Alabama, which gave him a better perspective of the civil rights movement. Goodall’s wife, Fredine, passed away several years ago.

Goodall’s work to the community continued until 1992. That’s when his 14-year tenure as a member of the Indiana General Assembly ended. He was also the first black person Delaware County elected to the statehouse.

“Mr. Goodall represents a lot of values I think that we want to honor here at the historical society and things we want to celebrate with local black history,” Flook said. “We can use the statue, and all the events surrounding it, to better communicate that history.”

Fundraising for the statue has just begun. Flook said the project has already raised roughly $1,000 despite no effort so far.

He estimated the statue to cost around $70,000. Fundraisers are expected to begin this summer.

The project will be the historical society’s first statue it wants to cast, but it’s working with another non-profit in town, the Community Enhancement Project, which has experience with this kind of work.

More on the project can be found here.

Goodall will turn 91 later this month.

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