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Find Black History Resources + Events in Iowa

Black History Month 2021

February 3, 2021

Black History Month has been celebrated since 1926, highlighting the impact of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass — whose birthdays are February 12 and February 14, respectively — and also promoting the study of Black history thanks to Dr. Carter Woodson, who established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History and founded the Journal of Negro History.

Support Black-Owned Businesses in DSM

This month, and all year long, check out the links below to find Black-owned businesses in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Shop local at local businesses for artists, financial services companies, barbers and stylists and more.

Black History Month Events in DSM

Greater Des Moines Botanical Center Events

Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt + George Washington Carver Exhibit

From February 2-28, participate in a kid-friendly self-guided scavenger hunt to learn about plants from Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Visitors can also gain insight into George Washington Carver’s work with soybeans, sweet potatoes and other crops, as well as learn about the man who became an innovator of botanical dyes by exploring the artwork he created using colorful pigments. Reserve a timed ticket to attend.

Documentary Screening

There will be an on-site screening of George Washington Carver: An Uncommon Life from 1-2 p.m. Saturday, February 13 and a virtual screening and Q&A from 6-7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 16.

Story Sprouts: Black History Month

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Center will share two stories to celebrate Black History Month from 10:30 until 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 27, as well as an episode of Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum featuring George Washington Carver. Reserve a timed ticket to attend.

Iowa History 101 Series

The Iowa History 101 Series will have two virtual events this month, including:

Both events will take place from Noon until 1 p.m., with the Immigration to Iowa event taking place Thursday, February 11 and the Iowa’s Black Migration event taking place on Thursday, February 25.

Black History Resources

The Iowa Department of Education has outlined the following resources to help observe Black History Month in Iowa:

Also in Iowa, with limited hours, visit the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to see the newest exhibit, Unwavering: 21st Century Activism or visit the George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa to take a virtual tour of the space.

Finally, if you are a CEO in DSM, you can still take the CEO Commitment to Racial Equity in DSM. Contact Angie Stepsis to sign.

Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership calendar of events is a one-stop resource for activities taking place throughout the region. Find networking information for Greater Des Moines (DSM) businesses or events specific to Downtown DSM.

Sanjita Pradhan

Focused on developing foreign-born resources, Sanjita Pradhan serves as director of diversity and Inclusion for the Greater Des Moines Partnership and leads initiatives to support The Partnership's Global DSM: International Talent Strategy to cultivate a community of inclusivity for all. Pradhan supports foreign-born business owners and startups by providing recommendations and connections to Partnership and community-based resources supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs.