Civil Rights Heritage Center

The South Bend Engman Natatorium


The Natatorium was built in 1922 as a "public" swimming pool located in an integrated South Bend neighborhood. From 1922 to 1936, blacks were completely prohibited from swimming at the Natatorium. As a result of many black resident's persistence, they were granted limited admission to the facility on a segregated basis only, from 1936 to 1950. Finally, after 28 years of exclusion and unrest, the Natatorium was fully desegregated in 1950. Today, the Civil Rights Heritage Center occupies this space in order to preserve this legacy of determination and triumph as a symbol of justice won, in a community committed to healing its past.