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Author Talk – “Susan Angeline Collins: With a Hallelujah Heart”

September 18 @ 1:30 pm

Join author Jan Van Buren for a talk about her book Susan Angeline Collins:  With a Hallelujah Heart. Books will be available for purchase on-site by the author. Limited copies will be available in the Museum store after the event. 

About the book: As Susan Angeline Collins’ life unfolds before you, relevant social issues affecting people of color are intertwined. Issues examined include economics, education, gender, race, religion, and Africa’s colonization from her 1851 birth in Illinois until her 1940 death in Iowa. Her resourcefulness in overcoming obstacles during her 33-year commitment to missionary service in the Congo Delta Region and Angola is compelling.

Miss Collins’ story demonstrates the difference one person can make in the lives of an unknown number of women and children, some orphaned and homeless and others escaping early marriage and subservience. Her leadership is evidenced when starting a girls’ school in the northern Angolan high plateau region years before Mary Jane McLeod Bethune initiated her school for African-American girls in Florida. You will be gratified to discover how this diminutive bundle of energy achieved recognition as a stalwart missionary, leader, teacher, nurse, construction manager, and surrogate mother to “her girls.”

About the author: Janis Bennington Van Buren grew up on a farm east of Fayette, Iowa about three miles from where Susan Angeline Collins moved with her parents from the Wisconsin Dells area in November 1865.  Jan, at age eight, became aware of Susan’s missionary legacy, while attending the Fayette Methodist Episcopal Church with her parents.  After learning more about Susan’s missionary service in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, Jan contemplated becoming a missionary. Life circumstances prevented that from happening.  Jan graduated from Iowa State University and for three years taught family and consumer sciences at Roland, Iowa.  Years later when her three children were school age, she returned to Iowa State earning her master’s and doctorate degrees.  She taught three years at Truman State University and then joined the Purdue University faculty.  While there she won state and national awards for her gender equity curriculum materials and public service announcements.  Five years later Jan moved to the University of Missouri-Columbia as a tenured professor and administrator.  Her academic career concluded in professorial and administrative roles at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, a Hispanic Serving Institution. Several years prior to retirement, Fayette friend Merle Sternberg encouraged Jan to write a short history of Susan Collins’ life.  Upon retiring to West Lafayette, Indiana, in 2009 Jan began serious research exploring Susan’s life.  The results of that work are found in her debut biography, Susan Angeline Collins: With a Hallelujah Heart published in April 2021.   In addition to writing, Jan enjoys biking, hiking, gardening, and reading biographies, articles, and books related to historical events.  When at home in West Lafayette, she cherishes spending time with her husband, children, grandchildren, and friends.  To learn more, please visit http://www.janisbenningtonvanburen.com


September 18
1:30 pm
Event Category:


African American Museum of Iowa
55 12th Ave SE
Cedar Rapids , IA 52401 United States
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