Born in Chicago, Nelson Evans came to Iowa to attend Upper Iowa University. He grew to love Cedar Rapids after visiting the Oak Hill Jackson community with fellow classmates. After graduating in 1964, Nelson was hired by the Cedar Rapids Community School District and became its first African American teacher. Over the years, he rose in the ranks of the school system from teacher to principal and finally, the Executive Director of Elementary and Secondary School Education, a position from which he retired in 1998. He was inducted into the Iowa African-American Hall of Fame in 1997.
This video is from the oral history project “Civil Rights in Linn County,” conducted in 2015 with the assistance of a grant from the Linn County Historic Preservation Commission.