Former State Representative Bill Crawford, a champion for civil rights and equality in a legislative career that spanned more than 40 years, passed away this morning after a recent illness. The longest-serving African-American state lawmaker in Indiana history, Crawford was an important influence on numerous high profile Indianapolis initiatives, including the creation of Indiana Black Expo and major projects like the Hoosier Dome and Circle Centre Mall.
When Crawford took office in 1973, he landed a seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, eventually serving as its chair. In a statement, Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) said, “Bill was an honorable man, and a true fighter for his constituents and the issues he passionately believed in.”
Crawford worked for nearly 25 years at Ivy Tech Community College, retiring in 2011 as Manager of Outreach Programs.
“Indianapolis lost a cherished community leader today,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard in a statement. “For decades, Bill Crawford championed civic causes and tirelessly advocated on behalf of the people and neighborhoods that make our city great. There is no denying how much he cared for his constituents and Indianapolis.”