Bureau of Legal Aid

Bureau of Legal Aid, October 25, 1927 – 1943, 229 1/2 Indiana Avenue, Indianapolis, IN

a) To furnish legal aid to deserving persons who are financially unable to secure same.

b) To offer Mediums of reducing needless litigation.

c) To protect poor persons in trouble from the graft of professional bondsmen.

d) To educate the people whose lives it touches to the obligations of the law and their duties in respect to same.

The directors in 1927 were:

A. H. (Arnold Hamilton) Maloney – this was a very remarkable man who lived in Indianapolis for several years. Dr. Maloney was born in Trinidad, British West Indies on July 4, 1888. His genetic heritage was African, English and Irish. He graduated from Naperina University, Trinidad, in 1909. After visiting an uncle in New York, he attended Lincoln College in Pennsylvania where he won an oratorical contest. This experience led him to the ministry in the Episcopal Church and he earned an A.M degree from Columbia University. In 1913 he became pastor of the all-black St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Indianapolis at 702 N. West Street.

In his Autobiography, “Amber Gold”, published in 1946, Dr. Maloney gives very few details about his experiences in Indianapolis other than to say that the other Episcopal congregations in Indianapolis had little to do with his congregation, and that at Church conferences he found other Episcopalian ministers were not very well educated. While in Indianapolis he wrote a column in the Indianapolis Recorder about local race relations, and later wrote a book, “The Essentials of Race Leadership”. Besides his church duties he worked as the education secretary at the YMCA at 450 N. Senate St. for which he was criticized by his superiors. This caused him to resign in frustration.

Dr. Maloney then taught Psychology at Wilberforce University from 1920 to 1925, earned a medical degree from Indiana School of Medicine in 1929 and a PhD. from the University of Wisconsin in1931. Howard University hired him as head of its Department of Pharmacology in 1931 where he enjoyed doing research and became well known as the discoverer of an antidote for barbiturate overdose. In his autobiography he wrote much about his love of books. He died in 1955.

Beatrice P. (Pocahontas) Maloney – Beatrice and Dr. Maloney married in Indianapolis in 1916. She was a native of Kentucky and was about ten years younger than him. She stayed in Indianapolis while she raised their two children and worked as a clerk (secretary?) at Crispus Attucks High School. She moved to Washington D. C. when Dr. Maloney was hired at Howard University. Lula Hodge was the wife of Warren Hodge, the Pastor of First Free Baptist Church.

There was no paperwork in this file between 1927 and 1943, so I couldn’t identify other directors at the Bureau of Legal Aid during the intervening years. In 1943 the directors were Rev. E. D. Hadley – a teacher at a private school, Tull E. Brown – a grocery store proprietor, and William S. Henry – a lawyer with his own practice. This free legal service for the Indianapolis black community must have served an important need during these sixteen years at their location at 229 1/2 Indiana Avenue.

By Bob Gilyeat, Indiana State Archives volunteer

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