Plan an engaging, educational experience for your business, club, church group, or community organization. Learn about the African American Museum of Iowa’s programs for adults.
Call the African American Museum of Iowa when you need a group speaker for your community program, meeting, or event. We’ll visit your group, or you can use one of our meeting and event spaces.
See Iowa’s history come alive with an interactive, multimedia presentation from our museum educator. All programs are 30-45 minutes with additional time at the end for questions and discussion.
Program fee is $100, plus round-trip mileage ($0.39 per mile).
Review our program options:
Behind the Beat
This presentation uses music to explore African American history, from the African beats to the jazz of the Harlem Renaissance to the popular music of the Civil Rights movement. The influences of traditional African music can be seen in the spirituals sung by African Americans while they worked as slaves, elements of spirituals can be found in blues, blue led way to jazz, jazz spurred on R&B, rock and roll, hip hop, and other forms of modern music. Each musical style has ties to history, such as jazz and the Harlem Renaissance or Motown and the Civil Rights Movement. To understand history, you just have to look Behind the Beat!
*You must provide speakers/sound equipment for this presentation.
Endless Possibilities: Iowa’s African American History
Iowa was the first state in the U.S. to officially integrate its public schools in 1868, just three years after the Civil War ended. Surprised? This and so much more is part of Iowa’s wealth of African American history. From York, the first African American in Iowa and member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, to the first Black president, Barack Obama, African American history is American history and Iowa has many stories to share.
First in Flight: The Tuskegee Airmen
The Tuskegee Airmen were the Black heroes of the skies during World War II—they included some of the most decorated fliers of the war and lost minimal bombers to enemy fire. Discover the stories of the Airmen, including 13 Iowans, and learn about how these brave soldiers fought for freedom abroad and equality at home.
Juneteenth and Emancipation
On June 19, 1865, Union Soldiers arrived in Texas and spread the word that they were officially free. This information moved so slowly through the south that slaves in Texas did not received this information until over two years after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. In order to really understand the impact of this moment, we will look at the impact of slavery on the United States. Many communities celebrate through parades, festivals, and large community celebrations that highlight this momentous event while also sharing African American culture and heritage.
Iowa Civil Rights
Explore the struggles and triumphs of the fight for equal rights in Iowa from the first documented refusal to pay a school tax to the marches and sit-ins of the 1950s and 60s. Alexander Clark, Viola Gibson, Edna Griffin, and Charles Toney are just some of the many celebrated individuals in this program.
Mapping Exclusion: Redlining in Iowa
Redlining is the systematic denial of various services by federal and local government agencies and the private sector to residents of specific neighborhoods. Black populations in seven Iowa cities -Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Dubuque, Davenport, Des Moines, and Waterloo – were subject to redline mapping. The US federal government established the National Housing Act of 1934 as a way to save the crashing national housing industry during The Great Depression. Under the act, Congress established the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) that oversaw federal mortgage and loan guidelines. Over 200 US urban areas were appraised based on a list of criteria, including race and ethnicity, creating color-coded HOLC maps to distinguish areas of mortgage loan risks. Typically, those with a high Black population were marked red and deemed hazardous or undesirable. This practice led to urban segregated neighborhoods and poor housing conditions. The lasting effects are seen in the racial wealth gap and police violence seen today.
More than Just a Game
Iowa’s athletes have long impacted their teams, communities, and the sports they played, but African Americans did so while facing off against more than just the opposing team. They fought for the right to equal treatment on and off the field. Highlighting people such as Iowan and Olympian Thomas Hill, Drake University athlete Johnny Bright and his affect on the football helmet, and members of the Buxton Wonders, Iowa’s Negro Leagues team, this program is perfect for sports enthusiasts, history buffs, and the general public.
Our Sisters Many Hats
An African American woman’s Sunday hat is her crowning glory—it announces to the world that here is a beautiful, sophisticated, confident person. But Sunday is just one day of the week, and her Sunday hat is just one of the many “hats” she wears. It takes an extraordinary woman to wear all of these hats—professional, artist, citizen, entrepreneur, mother. But is she rare? No. The African American women of Iowa have been dazzling in their many hats for 164 years.
Discover the proud history of African American service people in the United States military from the Revolutionary War to the present. Topics include African American Iowans in the Civil War, the Buffalo Soldiers, the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, desegregation of the armed forces, and many more.
Wonders of Buxton
Visit Buxton, a bustling mining town at the turn of the last century. This important place in Iowa’s history was referred to as a “utopia” by the majority of the town’s residents, African Americans who were welcomed with little racism and discrimination. Step into the YMCAs, visit the elementary schools, and meet some of Buxton’s important residents, including the first African American to graduation from The University of Iowa Medical School.