Race and Racial Relations

Angelo Mercado/flickr

With some opposition, the Iowa Senate today approved a resolution that will allow the Meskwaki settlement near Tama to assume jurisdiction for criminal justice.

Tama County oversees law enforcement and prosecutions at the settlement.  

The resolution asks the federal government to repeal a 1948 law giving the state of Iowa oversight of offenses by Meskwakis against Meskwakis.  

State Center Democrat Steve Sodders says tribal leaders  have been asking for this for a long time.

Comissão de Educação, Cultura e Esporte

One of the two laureates receiving the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in children’s rights was nominated by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin.

Photo Courtesy of Serhat Tanyolocar

A controversial public art piece created by a Turkish artist in 2010 was taken down after sitting on the University of Iowa campus for less than four hours Friday.

Kansas State Historical Society

Six years before the Civil War officially began, shots were fired in the Kansas Territory in the fight between pro-slavery settlers and free staters.

Keith Allison

The U.S. Patent Office says the Washington Redskins' federal trademarks must be canceled. Today on River to River we ask - what’s in a name?

Underwood & Underwood / Public Domain/Library of Congress

In Iowa, many of us are proud of our progressive history, but that doesn't mean we don't have skeletons in our closets, and even some Ku Klux Klan robes in the attic.  After World War I, life in Iowa changed dramatically, and a lot of people didn't like it.  That disorientation opened the door to the Ku Klux Klan.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with two historians from Mason City about the history of the Klan in Iowa.  We heard from numerous listeners whose families had direct experience with the KKK, including Larry in Des Moines.  Charity talked with Larry after the show, and he shared this st

David Peterson

Hundreds of Olympic gold medalists have competed at the Drake Relays, but the event isn’t just for the track and field elite; it’s also a career highlight for many high school athletes.

Today on Talk of Iowa, 105 years of the Drake Relays. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Relays Director Brian Brown and Pulitzer Prize Winning photographer David Peterson. Also, Knoxville's Randy Wilson joins to remember his record winning 800 meter race - a record that still stands today.

The Drake Relays - history, highlights, and what it means to Iowa.

Joyce Russell / Iowa Public Radio

The City of Dubuque has reached an informal agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, over allegations the city discriminated against African Americans applying for housing assistance. The city has denied the HUD’s claims.

USDA Photo by Bob Nichols

The poverty rate of black Iowans is more than three times that of whites. For Hispanics, it is more than twice the poverty rate of whites.

Nathan Gibbs

On this River to River program, host Ben Kieffer talks with NPR host and special correspondent Michele Norris who will discuss her Race Card Project and how it has become much broader in scope since she launched it. Norris will be speaking Wednesday at Coe College.

Then, a conversation with award-winning broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien about race and identity as reflected in the media. Her parents had to leave Maryland in 1958 to get married due to that state’s laws against interracial marriage.

Lea VanderVelde

In 1857 the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott v. Sandford that a slave could not sue for his freedom. Many call this ruling the worst Supreme Court decision of all time. 

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.

photolibrarian / flickr

Once a prominent stop on the Underground Railroad and later the seat of the Ku Klux Klan in Iowa, Centerville is a small town with a rich history. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with historian Enfys McMurry, author of Centerville: A Mid American Saga. They explore the ups and downs of this remarkable town.

Today on River to River, host Ben Kieffer speaks with two guests. First, he sits down with stef shuster, a Ph.D. candidate who specializes in medical sociology and gender. As part of the University of Iowa’s annual MLK Celebration of Human Rights, stef is giving a talk on “Building Positive Care Relationships Between Health Care Workers and Transgender Patients.”

Alexander Gardner / Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

In this encore edition of River to River, listen back to host Ben Kieffer's conversation with Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum director Tom Schwartz.  Schwartz explains the story behind the passage of the 13th Amendment which outlaws slavery and involuntary servitude.

tornintwo2011 / flickr

Iowans played a critical role in the struggle against slavery and the coming of the Civil War. Host Charity Nebbe speaks to Lowell J. Soike, the author of a new book, Iowa’s Underground Railroad in the Struggle against Slavery, and Doug Jones of the State Historic Preservation Office.

Multicultural Family Center

Iowa is becoming more diverse.  When cultures come together, there are often challenges, but there are also tremendous rewards.  Host Charity Nebbe finds out what some Iowa organizations are doing to explore and celebrate the diversity throughout the state.

One day in 1968, the day after the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered, Jane Elliott, a teacher in the small town of Riceville, divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups…and gave them a lesson in discrimination. 

Joe Burbank / AP

 Dr. Michael Blackwell, the University of Northern Iowa's Director for Multicultural Education, joins IPR's Sarah McCammon to preview a panel discussion at UNI on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.

President Obama is expected to highlight the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior’s economic agenda as he marks the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer hosts a discussion on how the President can successfully talk about race and class.

And, action against Syria for the use of chemical weapons seems more and more likely. We talk about the options with listeners and guests, Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa, and Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College.

mikek7890 / Flickr

Thursday, August 28, marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.  Host Ben Kieffer looks back on this historic day with Rev. Milton Cole-Duvall who attended the March when he was a 19-year-old college student and former Iowa state Rep. Wayne Ford who was an 11-year-old boy living in Washington, D.C.

Ames Historical Society website

In this archive edition of Talk of Iowa, hear about the legacy of Maria Pearson and her contributions to the Native American repatriation movement. While Pearson was not directly involved with the writing of ​the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act  (NAGPRA), her work in Iowa and around the country was a catalyst for the passage of the law. 

elycefeliz / Flickr

With George Zimmerman recently acquitted of murder in the death Trayvon Martin host Ben Kieffer looks at the role juries play in the U.S. justice system.  What are the origins of the jury and how have juries evolved over the centuries.  Also, what does the recent flourish of media attention aimed at the jurors for the Zimmerman trial reveal and distort about jury duty?

Credit MaST Charter Community School / mastcharter / Flickr

Children are very observant… they notice differences in skin colors, hair, clothes, ways of talking...  Host Charity Nebbe discusses how children learn about race and how parents can teach their children about race and ethnicity with Erin Winkler, associate professor of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Madeleine Rogin, a kindergarten teacher and

© 2013 Legendary Pictures Productions LLC

Marshalltown-native Toby Huss, plays the part of baseball scout Clyde Sukeforth in the new movie “42” – a film about baseball legend Jackie Robinson, the Major Leagues’ first black player in the modern era. Host Ben Kieffer talks with actor Toby Huss about his role, working with Harrison Ford in the film, and racism in the 1940’s.

Sandhya Dirks

We've been hearing about some of the challenges with diversity in the Iowa City School District. There are other districts in Iowa with diversity policies, some of them much smaller. Two and a half hours from Iowa City is the town of Postville.  

Postville made national news five years ago when the federal government raided the town's Hasidic owned meat packing plant and hundreds of undocumented workers were arrested.

Diversity in Iowa Schools: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Mar 7, 2013
Sandhya Dirks

Yesterday we heard how the public outcry over the Iowa City School District Diversity policy continues to fuel a bitter debate in Iowa City. Like much of Iowa, Iowa City is facing a changing population and with that has comes a widening achievement gap. In the second part of a series about diversity in Iowa schools, reporter Sandhya Dirks takes a closer look at balancing school integration with divided neighborhoods and a new influx of residents. 

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.

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