Native civil rights icon Hurley Goodall useless at 93

MUNCIE, Ind. – Hurley Goodall, whose decades as a civil servant and activist probably made him the greatest civil rights activist in Muncie history, died at the age of 93.

Goodall died at his Muncie home on Wednesday, according to an obituary published by Faulkner Mortuary.

Goodall, a 1945 graduate of Central High School and a US Army veteran, became Muncie’s second African American firefighter in 1958. A dozen years later, he won the election as the first black citizen to serve on the city’s school board.

Even later, in 1978, the Democrat was elected to the first of seven two-year terms in the Indiana House of Representatives. During his years at the Statehouse, Goodall helped establish the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus.

After his political career, Goodall engaged in activities such as work as a historian, often focusing on the stories of Muncies African American and a writer. He has written or co-written three books, one of which describes his 14 years as a state representative.

In 1993, Goodall and his wife, Fredine, were invited to a reception at the White House where they met President Bill Clinton.

“As a young, poor black kid who grew up in Whitely, Muncie, Indiana, I couldn’t imagine my wildest dream dancing in the White House,” Goodall later said. “If our odyssey has meaning, anything is possible in America.”

In 2008 – the year Barack Obama became the first US president elected by African Americans – a campaign freeze in Muncie led to a meeting between Obama and Goodall.

“I didn’t think I’d ever see that day,” Goodall told The Star Press.

On his 92nd birthday in 2019, he was honored with a statue erected in Fireman’s Park across from the fire department in the city center.

Fredine Goodall died in 2009 after more than 61 years of marriage. Her husband’s survivors include a son, seven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date according to his obituary.

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Douglas Walker is a news reporter for The Star Press. Contact him at 765-213-5851 or [email protected].

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