Hoosier Lifelines: Environmental and Social Change Along the Monon, 1847-2020

Environmental and social change in Indiana

They called it “The Life Line of Indiana”: over 600 miles of steel rail that linked the banks of the Ohio River to the shores of Lake Michigan. From its beginnings in 1847 until its demise amidst the corporate mergers of the 1970s, the Monon Railroad connected the upland South to the Midwestern industrial belt. Its trains carried stone, timber, coal, and—not least—people from one end of the state to the other, tying together Indiana’s varied cultural and physical regions through their shared connection to this uniquely Hoosier institution.

Hoosier Lifelines was an artistic and historical exhibition that debuted in 2021 and followed the historic Monon route. This imaginative exploration of Indiana’s changing landscape used the remains of the old Monon line—much of which today lies abandoned in the landscape between these cities—as the foundation on which to build a new understanding of the interplay of local landscapes, ecosystems, and social communities across time and space. During a time of environmental change, public health threats, and economic uncertainty, the exhibit prompted viewers to return to Indiana’s “Life Line” to ask: What will replace the energy-intensive network of industry and labor that once brought our state together? What will sustain our communities in a time of diminishing resources and accelerating environmental change?

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Description of the video:

>> I'm Lingxi Chenyang Environmental Law Fellow at ERI. And I'm so pleased you're able to join us today. Both IPE and ERI are founded on the understanding that interdisciplinary learning and research are central to teach. Today's scholars and solve today's problems, not to mention tomorrow's. The natural sciences, social sciences, the humanities and the arts are all critical and in play as we tackle climate change and the environmental challenges that are affecting our health, our communities and our economy here in Bloomington and around the world.

IPE was founded in 2012 by the provost and the leadership of the O'Neill School, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Public Health to bring together all the environmental sustainability scholarship across the various schools and departments on a Bloomington campus. ERI was founded in 2017 as part of the IU prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge.

Its mission is to enhance resilience to environmental change in Indiana and beyond. By accurately predicting impacts and effectively partnering with communities to implement feasible, equitable and research informed solutions. IPE and ERI faculty, staff and students have worked together to bring us a full semester worth speakers. Over the course of the semester, our speakers have addressed a wide range of topics from resilient agriculture in the face of climate change, to advocacy and energy transition, to the development of anti racist science of ecology.

So this is our last talk of the semester and you'll be able to find information about each talk on the ERI and IPE webpages and in the regular newsletters in upcoming events notices that our organizations regularly sent out. And we also encourage you to sign up for our newsletter so you'll get reminders about these upcoming talks.

Next semester as well as other news and events we will publicize. So if you have ideas for people we should consider for future talk, please let us know that too. Finally logistics on how you can engage with our speakers today. You can put questions into the chat box as you think of them.

We will monitor them throughout the speakers talk and there will be an opportunity for questions at the end. So at long last let me please introduce today's speakers. So, I'm really happy to introduce Elizabeth Grennan Browning, who's in the Midwestern/Indiana community history fellow at ERI. Doctor Lizz Browning is a US historian whose environmental history research examines how Americans have thought about, engaged with environmental issues and built narratives around these experiences.

Particularly through the lenses of environmental health and social justice in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She joined ERI as the Midwestern/Indiana community history fellow after receiving her Ph.D in history from UC, Davis. And let me also introduce Maria Whiteman, who is the Artistic Social Practice Fellow at ERI.

Maria Whiteman received her bachelor of fine arts degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her masters of fine arts degree from Pennsylvania State University in visual art and mixed media. Maria's multimedia work engages with animals, landscapes and fungi, and her goal at the ERI is to create a visual entry point for people to approach the sciences through a visceral emotional experience.

And their talk is titled Hoosier Lifelines, Environmental and Social Change Along the Monon from 1847- 2020. And they will be introducing their collaborator Richard Canuck. So let me turn on over to you, Lizzie and Maria.
>> Thanks Lingxi for the introduction. And thanks everyone for joining us on such a beautiful Friday afternoon.

And I wanted to thank Lingxi and Sarah Mincy, Jonathan Hines and Vanessa Worthy for all your work bringing together the ERI Speaker Series over the past semester. It's been a really wonderful enriching experience to hear from those speakers. And today, I'm gonna present a little bit about the Hoosier Lifelines exhibition, and then hopefully in questions and answers.

And then Maria Whiteman will present on her artistic work and then the Q&A. One of our collaborators, Richard Kaynic is here, and I'm not sure if Eric's Sandwise is here, but hopefully that you'll be able to hear from them as well. So I wanna start with acknowledging and honoring the indigenous communities native to this region and recognizing not only Indiana University Bloomington but the whole stretch of land that the Monon Railroad passed through.

So we recognize that Indiana University Bloomington and the former Monon Railroad are built on indigenous homelands and resources. We recognize the Chippewa, Delaware, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Miami, Ottawa Peoria, Piankashaw, Pottawatomie, and Waenda people as past present and future caretakers of this land. I'm not going to be talking exactly about the exhibition right away I wanna share but I am gonna show you footage from it as I talked about something else.

So let me share my screen here with me. Okay, and let me hit play on this and so are you able to see this full screen? Okay, great. So this is drone footage from the Monon Railroad from New Albany in the Ohio River Valley. Up through the town of Monon which is less than 2,000 people, and the Corn Belt and soy belts in Indiana, all the way to the north of Michigan City along Lake Michigan sand dune.

I thought this would be a great backdrop for me to talk about infrastructure because there's a lot of infrastructure in this footage here. So it was really striking when working on this exhibition and thinking about talking to you today. We're talking about the legacy of Indiana's railway and infrastructure more broadly.

And I wanted to take an opportunity to begin with a few reflections about President Biden's recently unveiled American Jobs plan which would devote over $2 trillion to our nation's infrastructure. So first, I wanna situate us in our current context of thinking through and debating exactly what infrastructure is and as we are in the town of Monon.

And I apologize if it's a little choppy have tried to work through this, but it's smooth on my end. So I'm hoping you're seeing the smooth video feed. But throughout my discussion, I really wanna emphasize that I'm approaching infrastructure from two critical angles. First, the importance of reducing carbon emissions and second, rebuilding with racial equity at front and center.

In early March 2021, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded US infrastructure a C minus. And in 2019, the World Economic Forum ranked the US 13th in the world for overall infrastructure. So there's much improvement that needs to be done. And it appears likely that the Biden administration's plans will face steep Republican opposition.

It may seem tempting then for policymakers to pursue an apolitical strategy when it comes to infrastructure. But American History has shown that this strategy is impossible. Infrastructure is integral to defining political belonging, and it's always shaped tensions between private, capital and public welfare. Biden's plan calls for spending and tax credits devoted to rebuilding 20,000 miles of roads, repairing bridges, eliminating lead pipes, building a clean electric grid, amplifying internet broadband access and providing affordable housing, schools and workforce innovations.

It's quite broad, as I'm sure you've all heard about. And I think this is a signal moment for the climate movement. And really a once in a generation opportunity to shift our national infrastructure toward more resilient and just ends. The plan as you've heard, would move the nation to cleaner energy sources.

It recognizes both the devastating impacts that climate change has had on our nation's infrastructure. And how our systems of infrastructure have in turn contributed to carbon emissions. In the last year alone, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate related disaster events. With losses exceeding $1 billion each.

So this was a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. Chronic underinvestment in resilience has harmed American transportation infrastructure. It's disrupted service, making travel conditions unsafe and causing severe damage and increasing maintenance and operating costs. So I'm actually gonna switch over to my PowerPoint as I can see here.

So lemme share that screen. Okay. Are you all seeing that?
>> Yes.
>> Great. Okay. I'm gonna skip through here. So here is a visual of that $2020 billion weather and climate disasters across the country. You can get a sense of the scale of that. So moving forward, we also need to pay heed to building racial equity within our systems with infrastructure.

And addressing in justices and how these systems were designed and how they've operated over time. You can see here the construction of interstates 65 and 70 in Indianapolis. And these past through areas that have been redlined. And redlining was a discriminatory practice that began in 1933 with the formation of the homeowners Loan Corporation.

And they to deploy this color coding scheme to designate risk for mortgage lending. So neighborhoods that were shaded in red were deemed hazardous. And people living there were then ineligible for government backed home mortgage loans. On this map you can get a sense of where people were displaced and homes and businesses were demolished.

And you can see it was about 17,000 residents and 8,000 were displaced and 8,000 buildings demolished. And this was primarily black and brown neighborhoods and lower income neighborhoods. So the American jobs plan includes $20 billion for a new program that will reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments.

Infrastructure and ensure new projects advanced racial equity. So when we look at these funding proposals, I want to focus in on transportation. The majority of which is focused on our roads and providing incentives for electric vehicles. As you can see, that's a big portion of the transportation spending.

But there's also 85 million dollars for existing public transit and $80 billion for railways. And this would be the biggest investment in rail travel in more than a generation. And it has the potential to bring public commitment to rail transportation back in line. With levels of investment that road and air travel have received over the past decades.

The New York Times recently reported on these investment disparities. And how they have helped contribute to a dominant car culture in the United States. Over the past 65 years, the US has spent nearly $10 trillion in public funds on highways and roads. And just a quarter of that amount on subways, buses and passenger rail.

Since the early 1980s, congress's transportation bills which amounts to multi billion dollar investments every few years. In these bills, the vast majority of funds have gone to highways and roads about four fifths all fold. And this makes sense on paper. As you can imagine, about 80% of Americans trips are by car or light truck, compared to just 3% by mass transit.

But the historical patterns of government commitment to roads and highways. Which largely began with the creation of the interstate highway system, in 1956. This has much to do with why our cities and suburbs are sprawling environments that require a car to get around. And this is also a big reason why transportation is the sector most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions.

Nearly 30 percent of America's greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation largely. The millions of gasoline burning cars and SUVs on our roads. And there's a more recent report from 2019 the EPA that shows transportation and 29% greenhouse gas emissions. So it's gone up since I found this figure.

So when we're looking at the American jobs plan, I'm really interested in the rhetoric that's gone into this and the framing. They recognize the designers of the American jobs plan. The architects recognize that modernizing public transit is gonna help us tackle both carbon emissions and racial injustice. Households that take public transportation to work have twice the commute time.

And households of color are twice as likely to take public transportation. And then when you you quantify the backlog of what what needs repairing we see over $105 billion. In need of the amount that we need for repairing and this represents more than 24,000 buses,5,000 rail cars,200 stations.

And thousands of miles of track signals and power systems in need of replacement. We also need to invest in reliable passenger and freight rail service the Biden plan recognizes. But unlike highways and transit real lacks, a multi-year funding stream to address deferred maintenance. Enhance existing corridors and build new lines and high potential locations.

Clearly Amtrak is thrilled from this proposal. There's a lot of fan fare for them. And, of course the northeast corridor is a big focus between DC and Boston that's such a well traveled corridor right now. But there's much of a need in the rest of the country for this kind of rail transit.

So in fact, is the largest passenger rail provider in the US. And it said that it plans to expand service and upgrade existing tracks with as many as 30 new routes. And it hopes to expand ridership from 32 million to 52 million passengers by 2035. Which would amount to an important decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.

So I've talked about the North, the Northeast Corridor, and its steady ridership. If you were to try and get from Cincinnati to Chicago if we're talking kind of close to home here. There's only one train per day between Cincinnati and Chicago. And the train departs at 1:41am in the morning, and the trip takes nine hours.

So it's just not a very attractive option for passengers. In June 2019, Amtrak cancelled the Hoosier State train, because which is between Indianapolis and Chicago. After the Indiana General Assembly voted not to approve the $3 million a year needed to keep the train going. This left the only Amtrak option between Central Indiana and Chicago is the cardinal which operates three days a week.

Amtrak projects that with Biden's funding plans, connections for Indianapolis would include increased service to Chicago, new routes to Cincinnati and Louisville. And although there's been some outrage that if you look between Indianapolis and Nashville, there's this missed opportunity to connect the South and Midwest here. So yeah, this is just a really interesting to kinda imagine the future of what what this could look like.

Amtrak also touts, rail is a lot cleaner than air travel and and car travel. So traveling by rail it's up to 83% more efficient than driving up to 73% more efficient than flying. When it comes to freight, railways are critical to Indiana's economic operations. And the next few slides I have are from the Indiana Department of Transportation.

They're in the process of updating their state rail plan. Which federal law requires that each state does this every four years so we can get some great real time data on Freed's in Indiana right now. So In 2019, Indiana's manufacturing industry accounted for 27.4% of state GDP. And this is nearly three times higher than the US average and the highest of any state.

You can see here that freight rail accounts for 13% of freight tonnage in Indiana. Trucking is by and far the winner here at 63.7%. Industries that rely on rail to be competitive, include automotive chemicals, metals green, and mining, both coal and limestone. And it's really interesting to also look at Freight Flow by commodity and direction.

We know that Indiana is a state that's historically relied on coal. And coal fired power plants have provided some of the highest levels of carbon emissions in our state. It was really enlightening conducting research for this exhibition to track the freight tonnage of coal through the moon on railroads annual reports.

It really conveyed how extensive Indiana's reliance on coal has been over the course of the 20th century. This is a great map from the geological and water survey in 1958. It gives you a sense of the movement of coal within the state in the southwestern portion mining and then the coal powered generating plants around the state It's important to note that Indiana in 2018, it ranked seventh in production for coal and second and consumption, trailing only Texas, which is four times as populous as Indiana.

But despite how much Indiana produces it imports a lot of its coal from elsewhere. Many of Indiana's coal fired power plants were not outfitted with costly equipment that would remove the high sulfur content of southwestern Indiana's by two minutes coal. So Indiana's power plants and power companies have historically relied on lower sulfur coal lower cost coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming.

Regardless of where the coal is coming from Indiana stretch of the Ohio Valley continues to have one of the nation's highest concentrations of super polluters, which are facilities with the steepest rates of combined toxic and greenhouse gas emissions, much of which is from these coal fired power plants.

We know this reliance on coal is changing. Recently I forecasted that coal volumes will decrease by over 35% between 2018 and 2045. And these losses in coal tonnage will be more than offset by growth in metal food, farm petroleum and chemical products. So I think is the state moves toward cleaner sources of energy.

It's gonnabe really telling to keep an eye on coal freight tonnage in the state and see what takes its place. It anticipates that hazardous materials are projected to grow at 1.2% annually So here's just a brief look at where Indiana ranks in terms of how much it relies on rail today.

You know, for being a relatively small state. Rail makes up a big part of Indiana's economy and it's how it just moves freight around really it's more than the number of freight railroads 11th and total rail line mileage. Yeah, so it's kind of remarkable to see that. Okay, so now that you have the lay of the land when it comes to Our contemporary reliance on rail and its importance to our current debate about infrastructure.

I wanna introduce the Hoosier lifelines exhibition in more detail here. So, the exhibit really began as a discussion With myself, Maria Whiteman, who is the ERI artistic and Social Practice Fellow that you heard about at the beginning, beginning from Eric Sandwiss. Betsy Stewart who is the IU Greenwald's Gallery of Art Director Eric Sand Weiss, who is the Thomas and Kathryn Miller professor of history at IU Bloomington.

And I'll introduce Richard Kean and here in a minute as well. So here at Bloomington, we were talking about the rich literature of the Anthropocene or the capitalist scene. And trying to figure out how to bring that literature to the people of Indiana that concept and that thinking.

So the exhibit, has two deeply interconnected parts. First, the historical context that considers the mountains underlying interconnected parts sorry, the underlying environmental, economic and political contours. So the first part is the historic context and then second, the photography that documents the places that the Monon reached, looking for new ways for us to connect, make community and re situate our relationship with natural resources.

So, the artist who photographed the landscape were Betsy Stirratt and Maria Whiteman. And then Betsy introduced us to Richard Koenig who is the Genevieve U. Gilmore professor of art, Kalamazoo College. And Richard He received his Here at IU-Bloomington, and he has a deep knowledge about the And a beautiful portfolio of ancient work that relates to the From his time living here, so it was really a privilege to get to work with him on this project.

And the exhibit is this historical and artistic examination of Indiana's landscape, and it's traveling to two sites on the former mon online. So, it started in Bloomington at the IU Grunewald gallery, and it's headed next to New Albany near Louisville. And that will be from July to October.

And these it uses the old right of way as a means of building a new understanding of the interplay of local landscapes, ecosystems and social communities across time and space. So you can see here this is a map from 1904. And it shows at the time it was called the Chicago Indianapolis and Louisville line and it had over 100 stops in over 600 miles of rail entirely within Indiana.

Here's a cleaner look. This is from 1954. Then went on annual report. But to give you a sense of the history, it started as the New Albany Salem line here in the south. So Salem was Not too far away, And that was an 1847 and then it was built up to Michigan City by 1854.

And here at the x In the main branch lines is the town of Monon, which was planted by James Brooks, who was the first president of the Monon Railroad. So the town of Monon is literally just come straight from its history with the railroad and then you have the branch line to Chicago.

There's also a spur line to French lick. And this spur line was more related to coal production. Part of our project was looking at these old bird's eye view images of these main towns along the mountain and then seeing how that compares in contemporary photography. Here's New Albany.

Here's Michigan City. This is a Indiana State Board of tax commissioners railroad map and it shows you just how extensive rail was in the late 19th century in Indiana. And this is an 1857 non annual report map that also shows this sense of connectivity that you know people residents of Indiana had these main rail lines came through Indiana connected with the Monon.

You had the Cleveland Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis railway which was known as the big four, the nickel plates and the b&o railroad among many others. Here's the Pullman palace car route to Florida and New Orleans. So, the marketing and imagery fundamentals is really great. You have the lifeline of Indiana serves the nation.

This is from 1955. So you really get a sense you know again the Monon was entirely within Indiana but it just brought you know, the rest of the nation to Indiana. There's even marketing for how you could travel to Cuba along you know, lines that the Monon connected with.

So I think Hoosiers imaginings of other places really came alive. This is a great map for, in terms of thinking about Indiana's connections to Chicago and then Chicago serving as the gateway to the west. This is the Chicago Burlington and Quincy railroad. And it's also worth mentioning here even though this isn't something we really addressed in the exhibit too much, the vast electric inner urban system that centered at Indianapolis and connected small towns across Indiana in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The first electric streetcar railway opened in South End in 1888. The first electric interurban in Indiana, I should say, and this was 1888 and it grew extensively over 15 years. By 1910 there were 12 companies operating direct lines between Indianapolis and major cities within a 120 mile radius.

By 1914, Indiana was second only to Ohio in terms of inner urban mileage in the US. This really started to decline around World War I due to the rise of the automobile and motor buses. The Great Depression was the final blow to their dwindling presence in the States and the last interurban closed in 1941, that was between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.

I love this map too. This one caught me off guard when I found that this is showing Indianapolis as a steam railroad and in urban centre. It talks about, you know, 1/4 of the population of the United States is within a radius of 300 miles of Indianapolis. So the Monon the story we hear about it within the state it's a story of economic development and technological progress and there's no doubt about that.

The Monon catalyzed countless industries and allowed people to travel like they had never been able to before. And this is what we heard when we went to various museums around the state when we met with, you know, avid collectors of Monon memorabilia. But a lot of these popular narratives about the railroad leave out the fact that this economic and technological progress in our historical success has come at a steep price.

And this is really environmental degradation. So the railroad crystallizes for us the ways that we've depleted finite resources that we depend on for our way of life. And in the process, how we've altered in unprecedented waves the planet that we live on. The former Monon railroad then has become this anchor by which we can explore the connectivities among people, industry and commerce within India and beyond.

And it opens a window into the history of Hoosiers interactions with their changing environment. So, the exhibits artists really provide this visual entry points that allows viewers to understand the mental landscape that we encounter our world with. And how we've come to expect to see our worlds and how this framework then shapes our valuation of various environments.

Let's try to work in a few images from our the artists. You'll see more from Maria and a little bit here. The railroad made logical, certain forms of production that we've all come to take for granted monocrop industrial agriculture, the lumber industry and the deforestation of the state, extractive industries of coal and stone In major urban industrial centers that have connected smaller towns and suburbs as well as more isolated rural areas.

So I want to play a brief clip here to give you a sense of how the Monon advertised itself, how people around the states thought about its importance. And this was a promotional film from the 1950s that the Monon railroads developed here. So there we go.
>> All up and down the line can see how the railroad has helped to create American prosperity.

Farms producing great quantities have never been fully marketed without modern mass transportation. Factories which assemble their raw materials from a lot of firms and send their finished products everywhere. Towns and cities in which people have grown used to buying things which are brought from all over the world, our way of life, which is literally a product of railroads at work.

Take these factors which make prefabricated house, their lumber comes from as far away as the deep South and the Pacific Northwest. Their steel begins as iron ore from the Minnesota Ray, or which is converted in some of the world's largest Mills located in Northern India. Countless other items have to be shifted this from hundreds of different places, in order that one complete house, can roll off the assembly line.

All up and down the railroads of America. This, miracle is repeated and repeated. Railroads are not the only transportation, of course, but because of their tremendous capacity, their unfailing reliability and their basic economy. They are the backbone of American industry, American agriculture.
>> Yeah, they went over the top with their marketing which I appreciate as a historian it's been fun to go through their archives.

So clearly the railroad it's been critical to shaping the landscape and how it's been envisioned. And I think it was striking for me to think, this was largely an arbitrary line on the landscape, but it becomes it over time it became this vector of connectivity. It's a cultural touchstone.

That people continue to remember today, with great fondness and it was an economic linkage. So the simple line became a remarkably significant thing within our state and beyond, and it's had such great consequence for social development and cultural prominence. And this past year, it was really, the sense that we can't take the world that we have for granted anymore.

So this was tied not just to climate change, but to COVID and COVID presented such an abrupt and deep rupture in our social fabric. So I think it was really interesting to work on this exhibition over the past year. And my fellow curators and partners who worked on this exhibition.

We looked at these various questions. I think the exhibit raises more questions than it answers really, but we were wondering what will replace the energy-intensive network of Labor and industry communities and workers that once brought our state together, what will sustain our communities in a time of accelerated environmental change?

And what becomes the future that we once imagined for ourselves. Part of the inspiration for the exhibition was engaging with public audiences that the environmental resilience Institute might not have had the opportunity to reach yet. I wanted to bring Hoosier's into this space to talk about climate change.

Hopefully not elicit, I need your reaction to that. We had the opportunity to partner with a number of cultural and history oriented organizations, we worked with private collectors and we had loans from various IU archives. So it was a really a lot of moving parts but was really rewarding.

Okay, I want to transition to summary here. So just, I'll go briefly through these slides. But again, I think what the exhibit does is it takes a step back from this narrative of universal progress with the railroad, and we wanna think about what the railroad meant for various people.

So I, I love this throw quote from Walden in 1854. If you jumped down to the bottom he questions if we do not get out sleepers and forge rails and devote days and nights to the work, but go to tinkering upon our lives to improve them, who will build the railroads.

We do not write on the railroad it rides upon us. And then you can look at Eugen V Debs, a native of Terre Haute, Indiana. As he reflects on his path to socialism he talks about this was an as a youth in the 1870s. He worked on the railroad as a locomotive fireman And he went on to become America's most prominent socialist.

He was a five time presidential candidate in the early 20th century and he twice earned nearly 1 million votes. And so Deb's in 1902 a journalists asked him, you know how he became a socialist and he says, I wrote on the engines over a mountain and plane. I was with their boys and their weary watches at the broken engine side and often helps to bear their bruised and bleeding bodies back to wife and child again.

So how could the seed of agitation fail to take deep roots in my heart. So given these more critical views of the railroad, I've been wondering some of the populations that did not benefit uniformly from them on. And I think if it's it's enlightening to look at the marketing of the moon on this was in 1946 they really embrace, the image of indigeneity, within Indiana.

And, this was kinda a common trope, that railroads, rural companies did in the mid 20th century. This sense that, the railroad was tied to the land, in a very profound way. But, we have to step back and think about the construction of the monon it wouldn't have been possible without Euro American settler colonialism.

And this was part of this was the violent dispossession of indigenous peoples. So the exhibit talks a little bit about how this disposition took place. And we have to think about the landscape, what that was before the railroad and before this contemporary time that the railroad has made and another kind of interesting point was that the mon on brought tourists to Prophetstown near Lafayette, where the battle of the canoe was commemorated in 1811.

And the Shawnee leader to come sit died at the hands of William Henry Harrison's army. So we talked about indigenous lives here. We also, another story of resistance in the inequities of mobility. Broadly conceived is the Underground Railroad. There's often this misconception that, the Underground Railroad was an actual railroad.

It was not. But in the case of the non escaped slaves who crossed the Ohio river, use the tracks of the moon on to make their way north to Salem. And beyond and again the first president of the mountain James Brooks. He was a republican who is believed to have offered freedom seekers passes to ride the rails in their efforts to travel further north.

We can also talk about the great migration,where between 1916 and 1970. Millions of African Americans left economic deprivation and racial discrimination in the Jim Crow South for Northern cities. In the morning was one of those routes. And the real way balso offered opportunities for limited employment. They were black Pullman porters who provided vital labour and on sleeping cars, dining cars and parlour cars.

And they were really the catalysts of the civil rights movement. So a few more images of the great migration here. I also became interested in thinking about how public health has been the intersection of the history of public health and transportation. Patience. So looking at how epidemics were handled on the railway, I think COVID shaped my interest in that.

But I was looking through the pages of the defender and there's this really striking story in 1923. The St. Louis health department stopped, when passengers arrived at the Union Station in St. Louis. There was a forcible vaccination campaign that was happening with black migrants. And there's the story that a train with African Americans arrives to Union Station.

They're trying the physicians are trying to vaccinate them, and migrants are escaping from there. They they're not submitting to this vaccination campaign. So I think it's striking to think about the rail and more just how it was built. But kinda the the social connectivity, the history of what it meant in all facets of life.

So bringing in the context of race and social history, the history of environmental justice is integral to understanding the full history of the railroad and every aspect of life that it was a part of. Sorry, this last date before I hand it over to Maria. I found this study from the IUPUI Fairbanks School Public Health.

This was the study of Indianapolis Metropolitan Region and life expectancy along the monorail so the former which is now Like the V line trail here in Bloomington, a path for runners and bicyclists and life expectancy drops in the north here this is around Noblesville. It drops by 14 years once you get to the south, urban core of Indianapolis just south of monument circle.

So you can see, you know, inscribed in the land still is these, are the social legacies of infrastructure. But the monitor was a part of alright, I'm going to stop my screen share Maria and pass it to you. I think you're muted Maria.
>> It happens so i want to thank Lizzie for asking me to be part of this project.

I was really honored to be part of it and i am really pleased with the outcome of the project. And there was so much in Lizzie's narrative that i thought deeply about and it resonated with me as well. And so to try to think about how, as an artist, I can visually represent this project in a fine arts way and an aesthetic way that would reflect a lot of Lizzie's thinking.

And so again, it was just it was such an honour to be part of this so I'm going to also share my screen. It's going to be a little strange at first but hopefully it'll work out so always happens so hold on. Don't wait for it to show up do this again okay, here we go okay can you see that okay, yeah, okay.

Great okay, my dog's barking she times it so perfectly so I have three parts Three sections of work in this exhibition. And each one to me, spoke about a different connection to the railway that I thought was really important. Each section of my work addresses key environmental changes Indiana has experienced over the last two centuries.

The railroad figures prominently in these transformations the Manon facilitated the rise of the timber and limestone industry. Industries in the 19th and 20th centuries today the former mo non line carries wind turbines blades for installation in agricultural fields in central and northern Indiana. And I'm just going to go through this a sign of shifting regimes of energy production following the tracks of the old moon on the most striking realization.

Is that is that the vast stretch of Indiana's monocrop agriculture the fields of corn and soy were once vast. Vast stretches of deciduous forests while the standard narrative of the railroads historical development in Indiana is one of unwavering progress. My work considers what this development meant for those who could not access the fruits of American capitalism's profits.

The railroad allowed greater mobility and spurred economic development, but these benefits were not universal. Environmental changes have affected all of us there was a time when Indiana was 93% for us before the railroad. And industry became the main economic driving forces as the industrial world shifts. And market demands increase, the small farms disappeared and the agri industry transformed the landscape.

Monocrop Farms in Indiana colonize the horizon made of wind power stretching across the landscape. And wind turbine sit on the train beds ready to be installed to generate power. Presently coal companies are dismissed are diminishing and green energy is is evolving. So this series of photographs are obviously of these wind turbines that are sitting on the grill, the railway train beds.

And what I'd like to bout the images I'm just going to go if you can see behind a lot of the grain elevator. So it was an interesting to dichotomy to catch in this moment of an old idea. And farming to this new idea that could possibly be saving some of the farmers because they can lease their land out to these wind energy companies.

And so you have this futuristic looking metal turbine coming in then this older history behind them. And it was just a perfect moment to capture the old and new and then to think about a carbon neutral future. So the second A section of my work is called displacement.Indiana means land of Indians.

A place where many indigenous cultures thrived and lived off the land before Native Americans were displaced by pre European settlements. They protected the land and lived to a sustainable existence, part of the Shawnee. And to come says promise to his fall followers was that if they followed his instructions to abstain from the influence of Euro American culture.

Deer, bear and wild animals would return to the forest the bonum rail railroad ran by prophetstown State Park. And the tipping canoe battlefield, where today stands a memorial in commemoration of Governor William Henry Harrison. Who defeated the Prophet as followers so this piece took me a long time to really think about how I wanted to represent this history.

And also talk about the different industries in the history of industries in Indiana. And so I decided to take the images which are our photo collages, and I wanted the project to feel sacred and I will order this part to feel sacred. And so I start with the piece begins with roots and trees to narrate visually how the past and present are tied to the railroad and and how the who is your lifeline.

Project conveys how industry history and nature cohered in moments of displacement and resistance to climate change, I mean and climate change. So I start with roots and trees to, to think and to remember and to reflect how Native Americans lived off the land. And then the boxes with the images inside them is to create something sacred.

So So not only is this history sacred, but the land is sacred, and how it changes in the transformation of the landscape. So you can see the boxes are underneath and then there's these different portraits. So here's the Kamsey and here's his very famous quote and here's the prophet who is his brother.

And this is around the Wabash, I mean, this is yeah, this is around the Wabash tipping canoe. So this is where the battle took place. And I also wanted the trees to signify something important too because we often read about how many of the trees have been here for hundreds of years, the trees that are left.

And in this area where the battle took place, there are trees there that are very old and to imagine that that had been witnessed this whole battle, and yet the trees still remain and, So then this last piece, I'm gonna make this quick cuz I know we're running out of time, is called resistance and this particular piece is called the gospel train.

And I'm gonna play it for you and I just wanna read a small piece of this because the Monnon Paralod, another form of resistance in native American history, eventually the underground railroad. The network of secret routes followed some of the same routes as the path that became the Monnon.

The codes and signals exchange between freedom seekers help make the nocturnal passages secret deliveries and improvise pass possible. Its passengers and its conductors alike travelled in great danger sometimes in the shadow of real tracks being laid from New Albany north. So I'd like to play this, Can you see that?

Can you see that, yeah? Okay, so I'm gonna play this piece and, Make sure it's on, hold on, oops. Just make sure it's playing. It is okay
>> More of what to explain here.
>> This part just tickle a little
>> It's a lot, okay, I'm sorry though,

>> Know that, okay.
>> There it goes, there is a, Okay, so that's that was my part in the exhibition and working with Lizzy and so, I'll stop there cuz I know we only have a few minutes left. If anybody has any comments or questions,
>> Thank you so much Maryann Mozey, that was really fantastic.

So, we have a few questions, but I think we only have time to discuss one and I'm gonna have to pick the one from Brandon, he's really thoughtful. He writes, I'm interested in the dissolution of the Monnon and what that might say about the direction of development in the US.

Particularly urbanization and increased density are in many ways one of the most suitable strategies for society to develop, but that is in some ways in opposition to the world that Monnon supported on smaller communities. So do you think something culturally important is being lost and we should try and move back towards that world or does the shift reflect a more positive development?

>> Thanks, Jen, that's a great question. Yeah, I think in working with the various partners and collectors to make the exhibition happen, so much of the exhibition is about the memory of the Monnon and how it did bring the state together and these small communities. So there's a very much this backward looking elements and the sense of nostalgia and, But what I hope Maria's work especially shows that we need to recognize both the positive and negative aspects of the real, the environmental degradation.

The fact that it didn't serve all communities and I think it was just very poignant that the American jobs plan is coming out now. As I'm thinking about the exhibition because there's a big question about what role Railroad is going to play moving forward. I don't know if Richard Kane is on the line here, Eric Sand Wise as well.

And Maria Whiteman, if any of you have thoughts about the role of Rail moving forward. A lot of the infrastructure is there. It just needs retrofitting in a lot of ways. And there's an opportunity to contribute to fewer, less, greenhouse gas emissions through the use of rail. I think there's a real opportunity there, but I think the challenge is climate justice, isn't really going to serve communities that need is high speed rail, something that is really going to be an equity focused development.

So that's an outstanding question that still puzzles me.
>> Maria, do you want to add on to that at all?
>> Yeah, I would say I think that's especially Lizz when you showed the chart that about how much money is going to be spent on infrastructure and to see money being spent on public transportation and trains.

I think it's going to have a lot of impact and I think it'll be really important because when you think about Railroads or you think about passengers taking the train. It actually makes diversity more possible and because people of all different classes and thinking about different races are taking the train.

And so integration has more potential and so that's one reason I think that it would be also something to think about. And so to go back to Rashan's question too, I think culturally yes, it could make a big difference. Keeping that in mind.
>> Well, thank you for that very thoughtful response to a very thoughtful question.

And so we're at the hour mark. So I'm going to thank you Maria and Lizz for that fantastic talk is flawless their co-collaborators, Richard and Eric, and thank you all for joining us for our final AI Speaker Series talk. We hope to see you next semester.
>> Thanks so much.

>> Thank you, take care.