EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The impassioned story of the Civil Rights movement is inseparable from the everyday history of Evansville’s once thriving African-American community.

Just as the national Civil Rights movement was built on efforts at a local level, those local efforts were founded on the solidarity of communities such as Baptisttown — the African-American neighborhood that sprang up around the Lincoln Gardens public housing development.

From the 1930s to the 1950s, Baptisttown was a city within a city, necessitated by racist, segregationist policies usually associated with the South.

Since white business owners refused to serve black customers in their stores, restaurants and markets,…