Lileah Furgerson Harris was born in Waterloo, Iowa, the daughter of the city’s first black physician and one of its first black educators. She attended Iowa State Teachers College (now the University of Northern Iowa) in 1948 and two years later married Percy G. Harris. The Harrises settled in Cedar Rapids in 1957, and Lileah became an active community member. She served on numerous education and civic boards. In 1993, she fulfilled a lifelong goal, graduating with a degree in Russian from the University of Iowa. Lileah viewed her service and volunteerism as an avenue for improving opportunities for African Americans and ensuring justice for all people.
This video is from the oral history project “Adult Voices, Children’s Eyes,” conducted from 2008 to 2009 with the assistance of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.