(Aug. 25, 1939-July 2, 2012). Born in Milan, Tennessee, Glenn L. Howard attended elementary school in his native state before moving to Indianapolis. He was a student at Indianapolis Public School 41 and Crispus Attucks High School where he excelled in athletics, lettering in football and wrestling. Upon graduation in 1958, he went on to Alabama State University before returning to Indianapolis to study at Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis). Howard would become a prominent African American political, religious, business, and civic leader in Indianapolis.

Democratic Councilman Glenn Howard (bottom, center) pictured with a bipartisan group of City-County Council members, 1984
Credit: Indianapolis Recorder Collection, Indiana Historical Society

Howard’s legendary work ethic started at a young age. He developed a love of golf when he caddied at the Broadmoor Country Country Club. He also worked for Kroger’s Dairy, Allison’s Division of General Motors, Cummins Engine, the Coca-Cola Bottling company, and Indianapolis Power and Light, from where he retired in 2001.

He was an outspoken community activist. Through his support of the united northwest area (UNWA) Neighborhood Association, he initiated the Christmas Food Give-A-Way along with other community development projects.

City-Councilman Glenn Howard (right) pictured with Deputy Mayor Joseph Slash (left), Amos Brown (center), and Mayor William Hudnut (rear), 1983
Credit: Indianapolis Recorder Collection, Indiana Historical Society

As one of the founders of Indiana Black Expo (IBE) Howard served as its first statewide coordinator. He was instrumental in the success of the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic as well as the Circle City Classic. Howard befriended fellow IBE founder Andrew J. Brown under whose direction Howard became involved with Operation Breadbasket, a Saturday morning radio program on Wtlc discussing including spiritual and economic issues important to African Americans.

Howard’s involvement in community organizations and causes included initiatives that supported African American adults and youth. He founded the Glenn Howard Junior Golf Program and sponsored the Bragging Rights Golf Outing as means to introduce young African Americans to the sport he grew to love and which was historically limited to white participants. He remained active at his high school alma mater through the Crispus Attucks Alumni Association. Howard was active in the NAACP, the Indianapolis Urban League, Boy Scouts Of America, Flanner House, Noble Center, and the El-Amigo Social Club. He showcased his enthusiasm for jazz music as an original member of the Jazz Workers.

He served the African American community as a member of the City-County Council and as a state senator. He spent 17 years on the City-County Council from 1975-1992, and another 17 years in the Indiana State Senate from 1992-2009. He simultaneously served on the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus and the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. Howard routinely put his district and his causes ahead of his party in his drive to affect positive change for African Americans in Indiana.

Howard’s ability to forge relationships despite clear differences extended to the religious arena. He was a member of Barnes United Methodist Church and built strong working relationships with many of the city’s clergy through the Pastors and Ministerial Alliance. He aided Mozel Sanders in the organization of the first Thanksgiving Dinner Give-Away, an event he actively participated in by serving Thanksgiving dinner to his neighbors in the community. He was also a founding member of the Concerned Clergy Of Indianapolis. As a member of this group Howard initiated and hosted the organization’s weekly radio show on WTLC.

Radio was only one form of media Howard used to reach the community. Howard hosted a weekly show on WTTV with Linda Johnson and James Hawking called Fiction, Fantasy, Reality. The show provided a unique, revealing, yet informative look into the reality of life for African Americans in Indianapolis.

Former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels referred to Howard as a lion in a debate but a joy as a friend. In 2012 the dedication of a new senior apartment complex named Glenn Howard Manor opened in the neighborhood where Howard was a lifelong resident.

Revised March 2021
 

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