When “Baltimore Bullet” Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, not only his competitors were left in his wake. With this accomplishment, the swimming champion set a new record for number of first-place wins in a single year’s Olympic Games.
The ranks of Indiana writers boast such venerable names as Kurt Vonnegut, Jessamyn West, James Whitcomb Riley and Theodore Dreiser. But one of the state’s best-selling authors to date bears little kinship with the traditions of satire, historical fiction, sentimental verse and gritty realism represented by those literary forbears.
Before 1954, the matter of keeping drunk drivers off the road was fairly hit or miss. Diagnostic tools for evaluating a driver’s level of intoxication were subjective and empirical—a police officer who pulled over a weaving car would check for a driver’s bloodshot eyes or slurred speech.
A group of black students committed to achieving racial justice through nonviolent means was already in existence at Indiana University Bloomington by the spring of 1968. But the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4 th in Memphis, Tennessee galvanized black activism on campus.
Although race relations on most college campuses in the 1960s were volatile, the Bloomington campus of Indiana University was relatively progressive in attempting to establish civil rights for all of its students. Despite the state’s Southern ties, and the sometime pervasiveness of the Ku Klux Klan throughout Indiana government, Bloomington provided a less hostile environment for blacks than other places in the state.
When considering people with Indiana ties who hold a record for having crossed a body of water, Amelia Earhart’s is one name that comes up. The first woman to make a trans-Atlantic trip by plane taught for a time at Purdue, which also financed the Lockheed Electra in which the aviatrix ultimately vanished.
When reflecting on Indiana history, we most often consider the last two centuries—only occasionally delving into the century or two prior to that. In 2003, however, Indiana distinguished itself as a preeminent location for the study of pre -history.
Public radio listeners are most likely familiar with the name Will Shortz. The Puzzlemaster from NPR’s Weekend Edition on Sunday mornings has been on the air since that program started in 1987. The estimated sixty-four million Americans who work crosswords have probably also encountered the native Hoosier’s name at some point or another.
Bloomington, Indiana provided not only the setting for the film Breaking Away, but its subject matter as well.
When people talk about sex these days, their discussions are most likely informed by research conducted at Indiana University from the 1930s through the 60s.