Braley Visits African American Museum in Cedar Rapids to Celebrate Black History PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 24 February 2012 15:24

Braley presents museum with several documents relating to black Iowa’s history

Cedar Rapids, IA – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today traveled to the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids to celebrate the rich history of African Americans in Iowa.  February is Black History Month.

“African Americans have left an indelible mark on the history of Iowa, and I’m proud to commemorate their legacy,” Braley said.  “From the Iowa Supreme Court decision in 1839 outlawing slavery – 26 years before the end of the Civil War – to the integration of Iowa universities in the 1940’s to LaMetta Wynne’s election as Iowa’s first black mayor in Clinton, black Iowans’ struggles and milestones continue to this day and deserve celebration.  Black history is truly American history.”


Braley presented the museum with a copy of the book, Black Americans in Congress: 1870 – 2007. Braley also presented the museum with poetry written by Dr. Robert M. Carney, his family doctor in Brooklyn, Iowa, and one of the first African-American doctors to practice in rural Iowa.  Finally, Braley also presented an article from Sports Illustrated called “Invisible Men,” which documents the career of Joe Lillard, an early NFL star from Mason City, Iowa, who was known as the “Midnight Express” at a time when NFL owners imposed a “gentlemen’s agreement” to prevent African-Americans from playing professional football.  Lillard and other black players fought to play.


The African American Museum of Iowa was founded in 1994 by members of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids in celebration of Black History Month.  Construction on the museum’s permanent home began in 2002, which opened in 2003.

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