African American

Alexander Clark House

Knowledge is power and throughout history groups with power have denied it to others by limiting their access to education.  Even in Iowa, always a free state, the barriers to education for African-Americans were high.

Host Charity Nebbe speaks with Richard Breaux of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Kesho Scott of Grinnell College about the history of African-American students at Iowa's universities and colleges.

LSU Press

Millions of readers were captivated by the relationships between African American maids and the white families they served in the novel, "The Help."

Listen back to host Charity Nebbe's conversation with the authors and some of the people featured in the book, "The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics and White Families in the Jim Crow South," which tells the true stories of people who lived that reality.

Robert and Talbot Trudeau / flickr

Since 1995, the Iowa African American Hall of Fame (IAAHF) has been selecting the most influential black Iowans to be recognized for outstanding achievements.  Guest host Dennis Reese talks with the three inductees selected for 2013: Jane G. Burleson, Betty Jean Furgerson, and William B. Hood, Jr.  The IAAHF is housed at the Black Cultural Center at Iowa State University.   Since its inception, more than 50 people have been chosen for this honor, including Iowa State Agricultural College graduate George Washington Carver. 

Maid Narratives

Feb 5, 2013
LSU Press

Millions of readers were captivated by the relationships between African American maids and the white families they served in the novel, The Help. Now a new book tells the true stories of people who lived that reality. Host Charity Nebbe talks with the authors and some of the people featured in the book, The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics and White Families in the Jim Crow South.

On this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day we listen back to a program from September of last year. As part of IPR's Being in Iowa series, we examine the African-American experience in Iowa. Ben's guest's are Waterloo East High School Principal Dr. Willy Barney, counselor Shannon Harrington and Des Moines University Medical Director Dr. Carolyn Beverly.

All this week Rob Dillard has continued his series, "Being in Iowa," on Iowa Public Radio with a look at the African-American experience in the state. Today we wrap up this week's series with a discussion about the gaps that exist between African-Americans and the rest of the country: gaps in the areas of education, jobs, and health. We'll find out what's behind those gaps and how we can cover them. Guests include Waterloo East High School Principal Dr. Willy Barney, Shannon Harrington - the owner of a counseling business in Waterloo, and Des Moines University Medical Director Dr.

Today, Iowa Public Radio concludes its five-part series on African-Americans in the state. Reporter Rob Dillard has looked into the issues they face in the areas of education, employment, politics and health. He ends with a story about faith. The church has historically played a crucial role in the lives of many African-Americans.  It has been in the pews of black churches where they’ve found comfort and inspiration. Rob takes us to a Sunday-morning service in Waterloo where parishioners are charting their paths toward spirituality.

Iowa Public Radio’s week-long look at African-Americans in the state continues today with reporter Rob Dillard considering the multiple health risks they face. Blacks have a higher propensity than whites for such chronic diseases as diabetes and heart disease. The occurrence of infant deaths among African-Americans in Iowa is at three times the rate of whites. Rob talked to a number of health professionals about why this is and what, if anything, blacks can do to lower the risks.

Today, Iowa Public Radio continues its look at African-Americans living in Iowa. So far, reporter Rob Dillard has examined some of the educational and economic challenges they face. Now he turns to the political scene. There have been very few black politicians elected to public office in Iowa – none to statewide office. Rob met with some of these African-American leaders to find out what their time in office has meant to the state.

Today, we continue with our “Being in Iowa” series. All this week, IPR reporter Rob Dillard is asking the question, what does it mean to be African-American in the state? Nearly a third of all blacks in Iowa live below the poverty line. They earn on average less than half of white households, and their unemployment rate is more than double the overall state figure. Rob introduces us to three African-Americans, who are working to improve their economic standing with some assistance along the way.

Today, Iowa Public Radio returns to its series “Being in Iowa.”  Reporter Rob Dillard has been exploring what it means to be Latino, a military veteran, and Muslim in the state. Now, he shifts his attention to African-Americans. The 2010 census pegs the number of blacks living in Iowa at nearly 90-thousand, or just below three percent of the total population. Most of them are clustered around the urban centers of Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Waterloo.