Noblesville nonprofit receives $3K grant


A nonprofit organization in Noblesville is among 15 entities across Indiana that have been awarded grant funding from Indiana Humanities.

Roberts Chapel Church and Burial Association received a $3,000 action grant from Indiana Humanities, which said that such grants support nonprofits that sponsor public humanities programs such as exhibitions, workshops, lectures and reading and discussion programs. The Noblesville nonprofit will host a panel of history scholars in June for a wide-ranging discussion about Free People of Color who came to Indiana during the early pioneer period (1820–1849) and established communities like Roberts Settlement in Hamilton County and other places in the state, according to Indiana Humanities.

Roberts Chapel Church and Burial Association said that topics will include the Virginia and North Carolina beginnings, migration, settlement in Indiana, and the legacy and footprints left by the descendants of these early pioneers. The program is part of the 2023 Hamilton County bicentennial celebrations, officials said.

“The grants we’ve awarded during the first quarter of 2023 will support new programs and projects that bring Hoosiers together across the state for critical discussions about a wide range of topics,” said George Hanlin, director of grants at Indiana Humanities. “From projects about Black Hoosier History to civic engagement, we’re excited to help bring to life diverse public humanities programs.”

Roberts Settlement announced plans in February at the Bethel A.M.E. Church in Noblesville regarding the Roberts Settlement Legacy Walk, an interpretive outdoor exhibit to educate the public about Hamilton County’s Black pioneer history. It is seeking to raise $100,000 through a capital campaign known as IMAGINE! Black Pioneers.

The settlement is on 276th Street just east of U.S. 31 in Atlanta in northern Hamilton County. Roberts Settlement was established in 1835 by free people of color who migrated mostly from North Carolina and Virginia to escape deteriorating racial conditions.

Their goals were the pursuit of economic, educational, and religious aspirations with greater freedom and fewer racial barriers, according to the Roberts Settlement website. Visitors to the settlement can now find a chapel and cemetery, which organizers say represents a once-thriving community that continued to grow through the late 1800s.

The Roberts Settlement Legacy Walk will include an accessible walking path and a “Morning Light” entry feature symbolizing exploration, discovery, opportunity and hope. The Legacy Walk will take visitors through four separate themed stations: “Roots & Migration,” “Progress & Perseverance,” “Faith & Reverence” and “Legacy & Footprints.” Each station will include a title monolith, a bench and a graphic reader rail with interpretive content.
LaVella Hyter, president of Roberts Settlement, previously said that the donations will allow the organization to break ground during its 100th annual homecoming celebration in July with the intent to have the Legacy Walk open in the late fall.

For more or to donate to the campaign, visit