Statehouse Hoosier Heritage Gallery honors IU’s Herman Hudson

A portrait of IU Department of Afro-American Studies founder Herman Hudson is on display now at the Indiana Statehouse as part of the Hoosier Heritage Gallery .

In 2006, then-Gov. Mitch Daniels designated the south wall of the governor’s office as a place for portraits of historically important Hoosiers. Gov. Mike Pence has continued the tradition, and recently requested fresh artwork from IU.

Herman Hudson

Herman Hudson’s portrait that’s on display at the Indiana Statehouse.

“The governor’s office initially suggested a woman. But we’d just done the ‘Women of IU’ exhibition, so I said all our ladies were busy and suggested Herman,” campus curator of art Sherry Rouse said last week. “His portrait just went up. I just got a photo from my colleague who’s there hanging it, and he looks great.”

IU’s campus art collection contains about 20,000 items, which are displayed on the Bloomington campus as well as at various regional campuses through traveling displays.

“I think we should be proud of our work loaning out IU’s artworks,” Rouse said. “It enhances our educational mission, and increases the value of the art.”

Born in 1923 in Birmingham, Ala., Hudson received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan. He arrived at IU in 1968 after teaching at Florida A&M University, the University of Puerto Rico and Kabul University in Afghanistan.

Hudson’s success was not easily achieved; he suffered from meningitis as a child and was legally blind for much of his life.

In addition to founding the Department of Afro-American Studies, Hudson played a significant role in starting programs that showcase the performing arts of African culture at IU. He established the Soul Revue, the Choral Ensemble and the African-American Dance Company — all part of IU’s African American Arts Institute. Hudson also helped form race relations within the community by founding the National Council of Black Studies.

His name also lives on through the Hudson & Holland Scholars Program, an integral part of IU’s efforts to foster educational diversity by encouraging students from underrepresented minority backgrounds with a history of discrimination to attend IU.

The image of Hudson that’s on loan to the state is by artist Robert Kingsley, an IU graduate and native Hoosier who is a professor emeritus at DePauw University.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,