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Community Mourns Three Leaders / Nick Ehrhardt

Community Mourns Three Leaders

This summer the African-American community in Elkart, Indiana, lost three of its strongest pillars. As reported by The Elkhart Truth, the Rev. Theodis Hadley, Eula Young and Floretha Robinson all died within a few days of each other, leaving the community to mourn the longtime leaders. According to the Rev. McNeal Stewart, officiant for all three memorial services, these three were remarkable for being "community builders," who welcomed new residents to Elkhart and fostered connections between the city and their neighbors. Stewart explained that they were especially vital during times of racial oppression in Elkhart's past, and during an influx of African-Americans from the South, attracted to the area by high-paying jobs at Miles Laboratory and several manufacturing companies.

Robinson served as a den mother for Cub and Boy Scouts, and provided day care for Elkhart, helping to shape the minds and lives of countless children over the years. Young served as a church choir director and member of the missionary society, charged with looking out for the welfare of people in the community while Brown served as the minister at Canaan Baptist Church for 37 years.

In the words of City Council member Rob Roberson, the city of Elkhart "lost a generation of mentors" in just a few days. Their loss will be felt for years, he said, as will the contributions they made to the community.