In Memory of Irving Fink

March 25, 1920 - April 5, 2015

In the fall of 1953, a group of interested people, among them respected lawyers, doctors and university IRVING L FINK.webPhoto: Indiana Historical Society, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Collectionfaculty, met at the Lincoln Hotel in Indianapolis to discuss organizing an Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Irving Fink, along with several others, was among those who led this effort, and who founded the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.

On April 5, 2015, the 95 year-old civil rights lawyer passed away. To those who knew him and to the many, many people who have benefited from his extraordinary generosity, he will be greatly missed.

Fink once said, "The cases that meant the most to me were the cases where I didn't earn a dime."

Funeral services will be held at Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 6501 North Meridian Street, on Tuesday, April 7 at 11 a.m. The family requests that contributions in his memory be made to the ACLU of Indiana. Click here to make a contribution in his memory.

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Gilbert L. Holmes, Oct. 24, 1935 - June 24, 2015

July 15, 2015

We are extremely sad to acknowledge the passing of our colleague, friend and former executive director, Gilbert L. Holmes.

Gil faithfully served the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana as a member of its Board of Directors, a mentor to his colleagues and as its executive director from 2008 to 2012. Many who currently serve on the Board say that Gil came to the ACLU of Indiana in a moment of great need, so the organization could continue its defense of the liberties and rights of all the people in Indiana. He was an extraordinary leader who pursued the goals of equality, justice and fairness before the law, both in his work and in his personal life. He will be sadly missed at the ACLU and by all who knew him.

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Lawrence M. Reuben, April 5, 1948 - Sept. 11, 2015 

Sept 15, 2015

We are deeply saddened at the loss of our friend, attorney and community activist Lawrence M. Reuben. Larry was a giant in philanthropy and a transformational figure for all the organizations he touched. He didn't just give money; he truly cared about the impact of his investments and honoring the legacy of his parents, Albert and Sara Reuben. Beyond his philanthropy, he remained passionate and involved in the work of our organizations. He was the first one to send an email or make a congratulatory phone call when there was news of a success, and he spared no criticism of something with which he disagreed. He was someone we could count on, to show up at events, to offer ideas and assistance, to heap on the praise when it was deserved, and to continue to fertilize the seeds he had planted in organizations whose work makes life better for all people in Indiana.

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Norman Thomas Indianapolis 1935Norman Thomas in Terre Haute, 1935Take a trip back through time with the ACLU of Indiana at the Indiana Historical Society's Indiana Experience. Part of the Destination Indiana series, the interactive journey uses innovative technology, touch screens and immersive displays of historic images so you can explore the ACLU of Indiana's history while you're in the driver's seat.

  • Journey back to 1935, when Norman Thomas, one of the founders of the National Civil Liberties Bureau, a forerunner of the American Civil Liberties Union, began organizing activities in Indiana.
  • See the Catholic church in Indianapolis where the Indiana Civil Liberties Union held its first meeting in 1953, amid much controversy and debate in the community over where the group would meet.
  • Learn about the challenges this organization has taken on, from fighting for better jail conditions in the 1970s and 1980s, to protecting free expression of students who wanted to wear long hair, to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 2000 stopping the City of Indianapolis from using drug-sniffing dogs at roadblocks.

Where: The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis 46202

Click here for hours, parking and admission information

Click here to learn more about Destination Indiana 

Journey Sponsors: Lawrence M. Reuben and his wife, Candice Reuben; the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana


The ACLU of Indiana was originally known as the Indiana Civil Liberties Union (ICLU). Founded in 1953, the ICLU's first challenge was to defend its own freedom to gather publicly. Irving Fink and the other founders had booked the Indiana War Memorial auditorium for the first meeting, a location that was protested by the American Legion and the Indiana Minute Women. Ultimately, the ICLU had to meet at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Indianapolis. This "Argument in Indianapolis" lasted 20 years, until the ICLU was able to conduct a meeting in the War Memorial in 1973.

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