Two civil rights cases heard in St. Joseph County went to Supreme Court
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—Court cases involving individuals assisting fugitive slaves were regularly heard in the St. Joseph County courthouse during the 1840s and 1850s.
Two of those cases, Norris V. Newton and Norris v. Crocker, even made it to the United States Supreme Court.
A county courthouse has existed in downtown South Bend since 1831.
In 1855, the original courthouse was replaced by the building that today houses the St. Joseph County Small Claims Court.
In 1968, the courthouse was an ending point for a silent protest march in South Bend held days after the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
The St. Joseph County courthouse is featured on the Civil Rights Heritage Center's African American Landmark Tour.