• African American/Black@Iowa
  • “Tending to the past” by Eloisa Valenzuela-Mendoza

    In the 2014 dissertation “Tending to the past: the historical poetics of Joy Harjo and Natasha Trethewey” the author Eloisa Valenzuela-Mendoza compares two historical poets to help show the importance of the lived experience in establishing the cultural history of the United States of America. Both Joy Harjo and Natasha Trethewey engage in individual projects […]

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • “Spike Lee’s Phantasmagoric Fantasy and the Black Female Sexual Imaginary in She Hate Me,” Deborah Whaley

    Deborah Whaley’s 2011 article, “Spike Lee’s Phantasmagoric Fantasy and the Black Female Sexual Imaginary in She Hate Me,” explores the sexual politics in the 2004 film, asserting that while Lee purports to challenge normative assumptions of black female sexuality, he actually reinforces and reifies conservative sexual and family values.   On the surface, this film […]

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • Edna Griffin Papers

    Edna Griffin

    The Iowa Women’s Archives contains thousands of documents related to the lives of African American Women in Iowa. Among those documents are the Edna Griffin Papers – a collection of photographs, interviews, newspaper clippings related to the life of this remarkable Iowan and civil rights activist. The collection also includes her FBI file from 1948 to 1951, which you can help transcribe at DIY History.

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • “Queen of the Campus,” Dora Martin Berry Interview

    Queen of the Campus Article

    In the winter of 1955, 17-year-old Dora Lee Martin won the title Miss State University of Iowa (as the UI was then called). While winning this contest, based on female nominations and male votes, was uncommon enough for a freshman, Martin’s status as the first African American student to be awarded such an honor gained media attention all over Iowa, across the country and around the world.

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • “Shades of an urban frontier,” Robert Arthur Gillespie

    Cover of Dune

    Robert Arthur Gillespie’s 2015 dissertation looks at cities, science fiction literature and the place of race within them. Looking at urban expanses like Frank Herbert’s Arrakeen in Dune, Gillespie uses “two city typologies […] the ‘imperial city’ that reigns at the heart of sf’s many empires, and the empty metropolis of the ‘dead city’ or ‘ghost city.'”

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • Tight Spaces, Kesho Scott et al.

    Book Cover of Tight Spaces

    A tri-autobiography, Tight Spaces shares the remarkable stories of three women (and UI students): Kesho Scott, Cherry Muhanji, and Egyirba High. Their stories and essays examine the social and physical geographies of the Midwest and the place of race, class, age, gender, and sexuality within them. These “tight spaces” are opened and explored, fleshed out and felt, in the sensitive, wry, and determined voices of the book.

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • “Exodus of champions,” Daniel Lawrence Taradash

    Muhammad Ali Speaking, 1968

    Daniel Lawrence Taradash’s 2015 dissertation looks at how popular heavyweight champions were shaped by the political and social environments of their time. Focusing on Floyd Patterson, Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, he explores the differences in opinion each man had regarding issues such as segregation and how they defined themselves against Ali’s largely ignored, hardline segregationist stance.

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • “Muchakinock: African Americans and the Making of an Iowa Coal Town,” Pam Stek

    Buxton Iowa

    In the early 1880s, recruitment of African American miners to Mahaska County led to the development of a community that would become a thriving settlement, home to black miners, merchants, and professionals. The coal camp of Muchakinock, Iowa, which flourished for about 20 year s during the late nineteenth century, was an unusual community for that time in the state’s history.

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • A study of the experiences of Black college female student athletes at a predominantly White institution

    Iowa Women's Basketball 1991

    The purpose of this study was to gather descriptive data on the experiences of Black female student athletes. A better understanding of the experiences of Black female student athletes as students, as athletes, and as developing young women may help student affairs practitioners better understand their collegiate experience; provide them with information to make decisions […]

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • “Mediated constructions and lived experiences of place,” Robert Edward Gutsche Jr.

    Iowa City Map

    This dissertation advances previous research on the journalistic interpretive community by placing news at the center of a community’s construction of place. By focusing on the construction of Iowa City, Iowa’s “Southeast Side” – neighborhoods home to predominantly newly arrived black residents from Chicago and other urban areas – this study identifies dominant news characterizations […]

  • African American/Black@Iowa
  • “Crossover narratives,” Eric David Johnson

    Jazz Band 1950

    Eric David Johnson’s 2012 dissertation examines the idea of “authenticity” in various kinds of musical genres. He looks to the years between 1935 and 1965 and jazz, Afro-Carribbean musical forms, and blues revivalism to gain an understanding of how the stories we tell ourselves socially and culturally about what is and is not real African American music get told.