(ca. 1826-Aug. 31, 1882). Broyles was born an enslaved person near Centerville, Maryland, and sold to a master in Kentucky. In 1838 he became a Baptist preacher. Soon after his emancipation in 1851, he came to Indiana to attend Eleutherian College in Jefferson County (later Craven Institute) from 1854 to 1857.

Broyles left college and moved to Indianapolis in 1857 to teach at one of the city’s first schools for African American children. The city provided a building in the 4th Ward (bounded by White River to the west; 10th Street to the north; West Street, Indiana Avenue, and Senate Avenue to the east) for the subscription school, funded by student tuition or subscriptions, in response to school superintendent abraham crum shortridge’s plea for education for African Americans in the city. 

Broyles served as teacher and principal of the school for 12 years. In 1872 he was partly responsible for integrating the only high school in Indianapolis at the time.

Broyles joined the Second Baptist Church of Indianapolis and became its ordained minister in 1857. He rescued the church from debt during his ministry and saw his African American congregation multiply into the hundreds. Broyles ordained many local African American ministers and helped to found several other Indianapolis congregations. 

Throughout his pastorate he was a vocal and active Republican, allowing many political meetings at the church. Broyles also encouraged the Indianapolis African American community to be politically active through his preachings, such as his sermon responses to the Dred Scott decision of the U.S. Supreme Court (1857) and the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment (1869). He also helped organize the Indiana Association of Negro Baptist Churches (1858).

Revised February 2021

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