Former state rep. and civil rights activist Hurley Goodall dies at 93


MUNCIE, Ind. – Former state representative and civil rights activist Hurley Goodall, who is credited with several firsts in Delaware County for the Black community, has died at age 93.

State Representative Cherrish Pryor released the following statement after Goodall’s passing:

Hurley Goodall was a true public servant, a civil rights leader and a friend. I was heartbroken to hear the news of his passing, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Hurley’s legacy is awe-inspiring. It is an inexplicable feeling to sit on the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus that he founded and walk these same hallways where he stepped up for Black people’s rights. He was the first of many, but he worked to ensure he was not the last. 

We may not have served at the same time, but I got to know Hurley and work with him through the Indiana Democrat African American Caucus, another organization he co-founded. Hurley opened the door for people like me to be elected and have the chance to continue the changes he started. Because of Hurley, Jan. 20 is now Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which reminds people to not only recognize MLK’s work but to realize our mission for civil rights is not yet done.

We will grieve today and remember his outstanding legacy. Tomorrow, we will continue what he lived out: a true heart for public service and a statesman.

Representative Pryor

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta released the following statement:

The world has lost a real champion for Indiana. State Rep. Goodall was gifted at not only his job as a legislator, but at being a leader in the fight for civil rights and equality during the 50s and 60s and beyond. He was a trailblazer in so many ways… from his work with the Muncie Fire Department, to being a founding member of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus. Rep. Goodall leaves quite a legacy for Indiana and he will be greatly missed.

House Democratic Leader GiaQuinta

After graduating from Muncie Central High School in 1945, Goodall went on to live a career of service. It began by joining the Army in 1945. While he missed the war, he was stationed in Japan for two years.

In 1958, Goodall was one of two Black men to become the first African-American firefighters in the county. Both men started the job with the Muncie Fire Department on the same day. He was a member of the staff for 20 years.

Goodall would accomplish another first for the Black community in the county in 1970, when he was elected to the school board for Muncie Community Schools.

Chris Flook, the board president for the Delaware County Historical Society, said he joined because race was becoming an issue for students and their education.

“To make sure any decision was equatable to everyone, regardless of class and regardless of race,” said Flook.

Goodall stayed on the board until 1978.

“He was very well conditioned to people not being treated fair,” said Julius Anderson, who is married to Goodall’s niece.

Anderson said Goodall married a woman from Montgomery, Alabama, which gave him a better perspective of the civil rights movement. Goodall’s wife, Fredine, passed away several years ago.

Goodall’s work to the community continued until 1992. That’s when his 14-year tenure as a member of the Indiana General Assembly ended. He was also the first Black person Delaware County elected to the Statehouse.

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