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Father Boniface Hardin, in his Martin University President's Academic Robes

Afternoons with Amos gathered several who knew, worked and loved Father Boniface Hardin to remember his life and legacy. Father Kenneth Taylor of Holy Angels Catholic Church joined Joe Smith, Dr. Thomas Brown, Rev. Derick King, Addison Simpson and Lori Wright in sharing with Amos and listeners memories and remembrances about this distinguished minister, civil rights activist and educational visionary. Click the arrow to the left below to hear the full tribute. Runs 46 Minutes ©2012 WTLC/Radio One.

For three decades, Father Hardin was the visionary President of Martin University, the four year university he founded and literally built in the working class Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood

A gregarious man, who somewhat resembled Frederick Douglass, not only in appearance but in his devotion to equal justice for African-Americans and all humankind.

After graduating from St. Meinrad High School, he was called to the Priesthood and joined the Saint Meinrad Archabbey. From there we attended Saint Meinrad College and was ordained a Benedictine Priest in 1959.  He also earned a Masters in Divinity from the Saint Meinrad’s School of Theology.

His journey in Indianapolis began in 1965 when Father Hardin was appointed Associate Pastor at Holy Angels Catholic Church on the city’s near northwest side. Hardin was the first Black priest Holy Angels ever had. At Holy Angels, Father Hardin quickly established his reputation as a Minister of the Gospel who was not afraid of speaking out on social issues and issues of justice.

Within four years, Father Hardin’s outspokenness of issues ranging from opposing the construction of I-65 in the UNWA neighborhood and other civil rights issues led the Indianapolis Catholic Archdiocese to try and relocate him to a church outside the city. But the community outcry was so great, that archdiocese leaders relented.

During the height of the civil rights era, Boniface Hardin was responsible for founding a number of efforts to bridge the gap between the races.

He Founded or Co-Founded the Northwest Action Council, the Negro-Jewish Dialogue, and the Human Relations Consortium.

In 1969, he founded Martin Center, an agency devoted to treating individuals stricken with sickle cell.  Two years later he co-founded the Indianapolis Sickle Center.

But his greatest, living legacy was Martin University.  Named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Martin University first began from humble beginnings to their campus in the Martindale/Brightwood neighborhood.  The mission of the university in Father Hardin’s eyes was to provide those who didn’t or couldn’t have an opportunity for a college education to receive one.

The thousands of students and thousands of degrees awarded in the University’s thirty-five years is a living testimony to Father Boniface Hardin’s mission and dedication to his fellow human beings.

Father Boniface Hardin received so many awards, honors and recognitions that this space can only provide a brief summary.

Honorary degrees from Oakland City University, Marian College, Franklin College, Christian Theological Seminary, Indiana University, Ancilla College, Manchester College, the University of Indianapolis and Governor’s State University.

Father Boniface Hardin has been honored by a plethora of organizations including: Indianapolis NAACP; International Center of Indianapolis; Indiana Historical Society; Hoosier Minority Black Chamber of Commerce; NUVO; Martin Luther King Multi-Service Center; Perry Township Schools; Indiana Civil Rights Commission; Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis; Indiana Black Expo; Urban League of Madison County; City of Indianapolis; Eta Chi Sorority; Who’s Who in Black Indianapolis; National Medical Association.

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