FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On Tuesday, members of the community gathered to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Roosevelt Barnes Sr., an African-American Home Builder. Barnes designed and built upscale homes for black families in Fort Wayne’s south side from the late 1950s to the 70s in the area now known as the Southern Heights subdivision.

Organizers said Barnes is responsible for the design and construction of over 40 different homes in Fort Wayne.

The celebration included an overview of more than two dozen homes and churches built by Barnes, plus stories of past and current homeowners and updates on historic designations for the homes.

Organizers said the event’s purpose was to educate and inspire the community about the meaning of perseverance.

Several upcoming heritage projects were introduced at the event. These projects are part of a statewide effort by the Indiana Landmarks Black Heritage Preservation Program to help preserve the architectural history of African Americans in Indiana.

A few organizations that make up the Fort Wayne Committee include the African American Genealogical Society, the African-African American Historical Society and Museum, ARCH Incorporated and more.

Their goal is to raise awareness and preserve and protect local black heritage sites.