Hurley Goodall: Trail blazer for civil rights in Muncie IN

Hurley Goodall

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - Hurley Goodall lived when Muncie was segregated and broke that barrier, blazing the trail for other African Americans in  Muncie and Indiana.

His time as a firefighter, school board member, lawmaker and community leader was recognized this week by Mayor Dennis Tyler, state lawmakers and members of Muncie City Council.

When asked for a few words by someone he mentored, Julius Anderson, president of Muncie City Council, Goodall only said, "I don't want to mess things up."

But Goodall later told the Muncie Free Press that he always worked to bring people together even when they did not want to be and worked for the good of everyone and the community.

And Goodall, who wrote The Other Side of Middletown: Exploring Muncie's African American Community, always sought to include everyone as he was among the first African American serving on the Muncie Fire Department, the first elected to the school board and when among a the handful first elected to the Indiana House of Representatives.

Goodall, a state representative during 1978-91, recalled working with the late J. Roberts Dailey, speaker of the Indiana House who also came from Muncie, and breaking ground, creating the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus.

 Regardless of Dailey and Goodall having political differences, they always worked for the good of Muncie and ensured funding came Ball State's way in the competition among other state universities like Indiana and Purdue.

And Goodall recalled how Dailey always called on him to bring others of his party around for key votes and support.

Former lawmaker Allie Craycraft told the group assembled to celebrate Goodall's life that rooming with Goodall when they were lawmakers was like day and night. Goodall would go to bed early and Craycraft would be up all night.

He also agreed with others like current Rep. Sue Errington, who now holds the seat Goodall once had, that he was a trail blazer for other African Americans and also brought people together at a time when civil rights was still a fight during the 1960s.

The late Ray White and Alice Bennett, who presides over the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, were among the group of people who helped Muncie desegregate and come together.

Pat Fields, a former president of the local NAACP, said Goodall always had a team around him of people who supported the community and wanted to see it grow. Fields was a trail blazer too and was the first African American to run for school board and also broke barriers of race at Ball State.

 Cornelius Dollison also recognized Goodall as a mentor in his neighborhood and helped him and his wife, Mary, with the after school program, Motivate Our Minds. 

And Goodall kept on helping the community and worked with the Dollisons and others to restore the historic Shaffer Chapel where two youth were given last rites after they were killed in nearby Marion.

Tyler also crossed paths with Goodall when he started on the fire department and Goodall commanded the tiller on the back of the 100 foot ladder truck.The fire bell rang one day and the truck pulled out to a fire leaving Goodall behind. That never happened again, Tyler said.

Former lawmaker Bill Crawford, who headed the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, remembered how Goodall was a calming force for others with big egos and something to prove to white lawmakers.

And Crawford remembered what a contemporary of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Goodall was working with both parties and ensuring the people always benefited.

That campaign slogan of long ago. "Good All The Way" still  was heard this week when the community and state recognized a true statesman. Goodall received a lifetime achievement award from the city, surrounded by friends and supporters at Monday's council meeting.