Events

Slaves, Soldiers, Citizens: Cedar Rapids’ African American Civil War Veterans

During and after the Civil War, thousands of newly liberated African Americans left the South and migrated to Iowa and other Midwestern places.  Many of those migrants had experienced both enslavement and military service with the Union Army. This presentation will share the inspiring personal stories of African American Civil War veterans who settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, after the war.  It traces their life stories from bondage to liberation to military service to migration, focusing on veterans’ struggles to secure freedom, citizenship rights, expanded opportunities for themselves and their families, and recognition of the critical role blacks played in ending slavery and winning the Civil War.  The presentation will highlight present-day historical sites and markers in Cedar Rapids where this important history happened and can still be commemorated. Documenting the lives of these veterans not only recovers their important individual stories and the often-overlooked nineteenth-century African American history of Cedar Rapids, it also helps us to better understand the broader stories of enslavement, liberation, the Civil War, and life in Jim Crow America.

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

About the Speaker

Dr. Brie Swenson Arnold is William P. and Gayle S. Whipple Associate Professor of History at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  At Coe, she teaches courses on early American, Civil War, African American, women’s, and public history. She received her BA in History, English Literature, and French from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, and her MA and PhD in American History from the University of Minnesota.  Her research interests center on nineteenth-century race and gender, with particular emphasis on the popular print and political cultures of the Civil War era and the migration of African Americans to the Upper Midwest after the Civil War. She has presented research at many professional conferences, including the annual meetings of the Organization of American Historians, the Society of Civil War Historians, the American Historical Association, the Western History Association, and the National Council on Public History.  Some of her recent scholarly publications include “’To Inflame the Mind of the North’: Slavery Politics and the Sexualized Violence of Bleeding Kansas” (Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains, 2015) and “An Opportunity to Challenge the ‘Color Line’: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Women’s Labor Activism in Late Nineteenth-Century Cedar Rapids, Iowa” (Annals of Iowa, 2015)—which was the recipient of the State Historical Society of Iowa’s 2016 Throne-Aldrich Award (for the most significant article on Iowa history published in a professional history journal in 2015) and the Midwestern History Association’s 2016 Dorothy Schwieder Prize (for the best article on Midwestern history published in 2015).  In addition to research and teaching, Brie is an active public historian who collaborates with museums, libraries, schools, and other community organizations to develop exhibits, tours, and presentations. Some of her most recent public history work includes serving as an advisory committee member for the “Driven By Hope: African American Migration to Iowa, 1865-1930” exhibition at the African American Museum of Iowa and working on the “History Happened Here” historical markers project in collaboration with the City of Cedar Rapids, the African American Museum, the History Center, and dozens of other community partners. (She is also the very proud former professor of one of Coe’s most outstanding history alums, Sean Donaldson. )

 

About the Series:

Humanities Iowa has generously funded another series of presentations from visiting historians, professors, and lecturers. This year’s series will be tied to our current exhibit, Driven By Hope, which focuses on African American migration following the Civil War. The presentations are between February and July. Topics will focus on responses to migration – music, fashion, food, social responses, legal responses, and even some discussion on current migration and immigration issues. Be sure to join us for these free, engaging, and thought-provoking presentations!

When the Great Migration Met the Black Diaspora

Rescheduled from May 23, this event is now taking place on August 8.

As countless writers and scholars have chronicled, black migration transformed the culture, politics, and social life of the United States in the mid-twentieth century, when the sons and daughters of Mississippi and Alabama and Georgia and North Carolina set off for new homes in the Northeast, Midwest, and West Coast. Yet this grand epic of migration and urbanization was not solely a domestic story. From the First World War through the height of the civil rights movement, black Southerners were on the move—but so, too, were their counterparts in the other corners of the black diaspora. During this same period, the colonies and emergent nations of the Caribbean and Africa sent their own people out by the tens of thousands, destined for distant metropoles, but also more modest locales.

What then does the Great Migration look like in diasporic perspective? What happens when a family from Jamaica moves next door to migrants from South Carolina on a brownstone block on Brooklyn? How does blackness get defined by Trinidadians and Nigerians in 1960s London? What does it look like? What does it feel like? What does it sound like? In other words—in the age of civil rights, Black Power, and decolonization—what happened when the Great Migration met the black diaspora?

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

About the Speaker:

Joshua Guild specializes in twentieth-century African American social and cultural history, urban history, and the making of the modern African diaspora, with particular interests in migration, black internationalism, black popular music, and the black radical tradition. A graduate of Wesleyan University, where he was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, he received his PhD in History and African American Studies from Yale. His research has been supported by fellowships and awards from a number of institutions, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, and Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. In 2012, he was a fellow at Harvard’s W.E.B. Du Bois Institute of African and African American Research.

 

About the Series: 

Humanities Iowa has generously funded another series of presentations from visiting historians, professors, and lecturers. This year’s series will be tied to our current exhibit, Driven By Hope, which focuses on African American migration following the Civil War. The presentations are between February and July. Topics will focus on responses to migration – music, fashion, food, social responses, legal responses, and even some discussion on current migration and immigration issues. Be sure to join us for these free, engaging, and thought-provoking presentations!

CANCELED: Modern Migration to Iowa

Please note that this event has been canceled. Any plans to reschedule will be announced on our website and social media.

This Humanities Iowa presentation will connect the the economic, social, and political issues explored in Driven By Hope to the lives of modern migrants to Iowa. Professor Stella Burch Elias of the University of Iowa Law School will discuss modern immigration, refugees, and asylees with a focus on African immigrant populations that have settled in Iowa.

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

About the Speaker:

Stella Burch Elias teaches civil procedure, foundations of international law, immigration law, and comparative law at the University of Iowa and directs Iowa’s London Law Program. Her research involves public international and comparative law, with a focus on United States and foreign immigration and nationality laws. Prior to joining the law school faculty, she held  a two-year appointment as a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. Professor Elias earned her BA and MA from Oxford University and her JD from Yale Law School. Prior to law school, Professor Elias served as a diplomat in the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  Following law school, she clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  She is an active member of the Iowa Bar.

About the Series: 

Humanities Iowa has generously funded another series of presentations from visiting historians, professors, and lecturers. This year’s series will be tied to our current exhibit, Driven By Hope, which focuses on African American migration following the Civil War. The presentations are between February and July. Topics will focus on responses to migration – music, fashion, food, social responses, legal responses, and even some discussion on current migration and immigration issues. Be sure to join us for these free, engaging, and thought-provoking presentations!

Occupied Territory: Policing and Racism in Twentieth-Century Chicago

In this talk, Professor Simon Balto (University of Iowa) will talk about his recent book on policing and race in Chicago, between 1919 and the early 1970s. His talk will offer better historical context for understanding modern movements like Black Lives Matter, and will also serve as an opportunity to reflect upon the 100-year anniversary of Chicago’s 1919 Red Summer riot and the 50-year anniversary of the Chicago Police Department’s 1969 assassination of Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

About the Speaker

Dr. Simon Balto teaches, researches, and writes about African American history in the United States. His first book, Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power (University of North Carolina Press, 2019), explores the development of a police system in Chicago’s Black neighborhoods that over the course of the mid-twentieth century became simultaneously brutally repressive and neglectful. His writing has also appeared in TIME magazine, The Washington PostThe Progressive, the Journal of African American HistoryLabor, and numerous other popular and scholarly outlets. Professor Balto earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin in 2015, where he also earned a Master’s Degree in African American Studies. He has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation, among others.

 

About the Series:

Humanities Iowa has generously funded another series of presentations from visiting historians, professors, and lecturers. This year’s series will be tied to our current exhibit, Driven By Hope, which focuses on African American migration following the Civil War. The presentations are between February and July. Topics will focus on responses to migration – music, fashion, food, social responses, legal responses, and even some discussion on current migration and immigration issues. Be sure to join us for these free, engaging, and thought-provoking presentations!

Searching for Freedom: African American Migration in Iowa, 1830-1900

“Searching for Freedom: African American Migration in Iowa, 1830-1900” will explore the history of black movement to and around Iowa during the 1800s, beginning with the arrival of the first African Americans in the 1830s and ending with the creation of one of Iowa’s only black majority communities at the turn of the century. We will look at how and why free blacks, slaves, fugitive slaves, farming clans, war veterans, coal miners, schoolteachers, and African Americans from every other background came to Iowa from throughout the South and other parts of the country. We will explore the hopes that these migrants had for a better life in the Hawkeye State and how they acted on those hopes through work, military service, political and legal action, and community institutions; we will also look at how white attitudes towards them, both locally and nationally, sometimes helped but often thwarted their hopes. All of this will shed more light on the lives of the thousands of African Americans who came to Iowa long before the Great Migration or the Civil Rights Movement and who, despite being greatly outnumbered, had a major impact on the history of their new home.

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

About the Speaker:

Dr. David Brodnax, Sr. is a Professor of History at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, where he has been since 2005. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law. His research specialty is African Americans in the 19th-century Midwest, with a particular focus on Iowa. He is currently preparing his manuscript “Breathing the Freedom’s Air: The African American Struggle for Equal Citizenship in Iowa, 1830-1900 for publication, and after that he will begin work on a book about black baseball in the Midwest during the late 1800s and early 1900s. He has presented his research in articles for publishers such as the Annals of Iowa, the African-American National Biography, the Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law; in dozens of presentations at scholarly conferences; at the 2018 Eighth Circuit Judicial Conference; at the African Americans in the Nineteenth Century West Symposium (which he co-organized) in 2016; on NPR and other news outlets; on podcasts for the Midwestern History Association and Iowa State University; and in lectures for various universities, museums, and churches. His courses include: African American History, History of Chicago, Black Cinema, U.S. History 1800-1918, African History, Latin American History, and History of Terrorism Involving the United States.

 

About the Series: 

Humanities Iowa has generously funded another series of presentations from visiting historians, professors, and lecturers. This year’s series will be tied to our current exhibit, Driven By Hope, which focuses on African American migration following the Civil War. The presentations are between February and July. Topics will focus on responses to migration – music, fashion, food, social responses, legal responses, and even some discussion on current migration and immigration issues. Be sure to join us for these free, engaging, and thought-provoking presentations!

From Slavery to Soul Food

The term “soul food” did not become common until the 1960s, with the rise of the civil rights and black nationalist movements, but foods like collard greens, black-eyed peas, corn bread, and fried chicken have been a part of the African American culinary legacy for centuries. Dr. Sharp will share her research on the culinary practices of enslaved people of the US South and draw connections to the current food scene.

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

About the Speaker:

Dr. Kelly Sharp is an Assistant Professor of History and Africana Studies at Luther College in northeast Iowa. Her research is centered on African American labor, material studies, and culture in the antebellum American South. Her book, tentatively titled Provisioning Charleston: Food, Race, and Labor in the Antebellum Lowcountry, specifies the role of African Americans in shaping the Lowcountry region’s culinary culture and provides insight into the intimate structures of daily labor, economy, racial identity, and material life by examining not just what people ate but why and how they made those choices.

 

About the Series:

Humanities Iowa has generously funded another series of presentations from visiting historians, professors, and lecturers. This year’s series will be tied to our current exhibit, Driven By Hope, which focuses on African American migration following the Civil War. The presentations are between February and July. Topics will focus on responses to migration – music, fashion, food, social responses, legal responses, and even some discussion on current migration and immigration issues. Be sure to join us for these free, engaging, and thought-provoking presentations!

 

150 Years of Progress for African American Men

This year marks the 154th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the complete emancipation of U.S. slaves. At emancipation, black men in American had little human capital or personal property, and almost all lived in the relatively poor, agrarian, former states of the Confederacy. And although their position is much improved relative to 1865, black men in America continue to experience sizable labor market and wealth disadvantages relative to their white peers. How and when did black men make economic progress in the last 154 years? What have been the obstacles to their progress along the way? And how do we explain their incomplete convergence today?

About the Speaker:

Dr. Marianne H. Wanamaker is an associate professor of Economics at the University of Tennessee and Faculty Research Fellow at NBER. For the 2017-2018 academic year, she served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers covering labor policy and serving as the chief domestic economist. At UT, she is the Kinney Family Faculty Fellow, a Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research Fellow, and the BB&T Scholar in Markets, Capitalism and Ethics in the Haslam College of Business. Her research interests include American economic history, education, demography and labor economics. Dr. Wanamaker completed her doctoral work at Northwestern University in 2009, and has been on faculty at the University of Tennessee ever since.

 

 

About the Series: 

Humanities Iowa has generously funded another series of presentations from visiting historians, professors, and lecturers. This year’s series will be tied to our current exhibit, Driven By Hope, which focuses on African American migration following the Civil War. The presentations are between February and July. Topics will focus on responses to migration – music, fashion, food, social responses, legal responses, and even some discussion on current migration and immigration issues. Be sure to join us for these free, engaging, and thought-provoking presentations!

Black Migration and the Fight for Community Space in Iowa

In 1839 the first territorial government of Iowa past a series of laws that denied black residents citizenship rights like the right to vote, testify in court, act as jurors, or participate in the state militia. In addition to these restrictions, the legislature passed “An Act to Regulate Blacks and Mulattoes.” The act was intended to restrict and prevent the migration of black people to the state. Black Iowans fought back against these laws and created vibrant communities by building community networks, working with white allies to petition state lawmakers, appealing to the courts in their fight for freedom, and utilizing black military service.

This program is supported by Humanities Iowa and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The views and opinions expressed by this program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities Iowa or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

About the Speaker

Dwain Coleman is a PhD candidate at the University of Iowa. In 2016 he earned his Masters degree in history from Iowa State University with the thesis ““Still in the Fight: The Struggle for Community in the Upper Midwest for African American Civil War Veterans,” which won the Iowa History Center Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis in Iowa History, He has previously presented at the Preserve Iowa Summit, Mormon History Association Conference, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, and Muscatine Community College. His teaching interests include African American History, Nineteenth Century U.S. History, Civil Rights Movement, American Religious History, and Native American History.

About the Series:

Humanities Iowa has generously funded another series of presentations from visiting historians, professors, and lecturers. This year’s series will be tied to our current exhibit, Driven By Hope, which focuses on African American migration following the Civil War. The presentations are between February and July. Topics will focus on responses to migration – music, fashion, food, social responses, legal responses, and even some discussion on current migration and immigration issues. Be sure to join us for these free, engaging, and thought-provoking presentations!

“Jumping Jack to Jump Jim Crow: The Origins of a Pernicious Stereotype?”

“Jumping Jack to Jump Jim Crow: The Origins of a Pernicious Stereotype?” Join Dr. Barbara Mooney as she discusses this American racial stereotype.

August 23rd at 7pm

The African American Museum of Iowa

This event is FREE and open to the public, as part of Humanities Iowa Presentations.

As the Southern author, William Faulkner, famously said in one of his novels “the past is never dead. It’s not even past.” The historical legacy of slavery still haunts our nation, and not just in the South. Disparaging images of African-American male slaves have had a particularly corrosive influence over American culture and continues well into twentieth-first century. Mooney’s lecture addresses a part of that difficult history by examining the painful evolution of the imagery of the black male slave as a happy buffoon in early American popular visual culture. She argues that early minstrelsy stereotypes need to be understood within the context of broader culture, specifically European popular visual culture that engaged with jocular, movable figures, such as the French moveable puppet known as a pantin. Examples of this pernicious American racial stereotype include illustrations on musical scores, tobacco labels, newspaper illustrations, and children’s toys. Those attending this lecture will witness very uncomfortable imagery, but Mooney is committed firmly to the idea that the historical roots of racism need to be unearthed and confronted if they ever can be overcome.

Dr. Mark Barron: The History of Storer College

Dr. Mark Barron will discuss the history of Storer College, a historically black college that operated from 1865-1955 in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. He will highlight the history of the school and its buildings, African American education and why the college closed in 1955.

Dr. Barron is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of History at Iowa State University.

Wednesday, September 19th, 7 pm at the AAMI

This event is free and open to the public, part of Humanities Iowa Presentations.

https://history.iastate.edu/directory/mark-barron/