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Black History Events Continue Through the Month of February

Black History Month in DSM USA

February 18, 2020

February is Black History Month. To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as a part of our nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.

Through the rest of February, Black History Month continues with local educational opportunities and events honoring the achievements of African Americans throughout history. We are proud of the contributions of exceptional African American leaders and community members happening within Greater Des Moines (DSM), the state of Iowa and across our country.

To know more about our African American community in the state of Iowa visit the State’s data center website.

Black History Month Events in DSM

Within DSM, there are a number of ways to reflect on Black History Month.

Jordan House Tours

Take a one-hour, 15-minute guided tour of Jordan House at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. Friday Feb. 21, Sunday, Feb. 23 or Friday, Feb. 28. Jordan House is one of the last one-room schoolhouses in Iowa and the tours listed will feature stories of the Underground Railroad in Iowa. Jordan House will also welcome Author Rachelle Chase as she discusses her book, Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa. Event Info>

A College Town Celebrates

Ames, Iowa, just 35 miles from DSM, offers a number of unique opportunities to attend multicultural events. Iowa State University has already hosted a Black Arts and Music Festival and several movie screenings, among other events. Here are a few more upcoming events:

Harriet Film Screening + Discussion

A film screening and discussion of the movie “Harriet” will take place Wednesday, Feb. 19 at the Memorial Union on Iowa State’s campus. The event will be held from 6-10 p.m. in honor of former slave and abolitionist, Harriet Tubman. Event Info>

John Primer Blues Concert

Hear a living legend play at the Memorial Union Maintenance Shop Friday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. John Primer is a two-time Grammy nominated artist and expert Chicago blues musician. Tickets are $12 in advance ($8 for ISU students with ID). Tickets increase $2 the day of the show. Event Info>

Black N Black Screening

“Black N Black,” a documentary that examines the relationship between African American and African immigrants, will be shown at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Ames Public Library. The film will highlight social and historical issues to encourage discussion and connecting communities. Event Info>

Other Ways to Celebrate

The NAACP suggests 28 ideas on how to celebrate Black History this month, including opportunities to encourage inclusion within the community. Here are five ways you can celebrate and support the African American community right here in DSM.

  • Support a Black business.
  • Sign up to mentor a Black child in your community.
  • Attend or host a Black culture event in your community.
  • Support a Black creative (artist, poet, local musician, etc.).
  • Call out racism and prejudice in your community.

Read the full list of ways to celebrate Black History Month here.

The Iowa Accountability Program

The Iowa Judicial Branch continues to strive for equal justice for all through its Iowa Accountability Program (IAP). The Greater Iowa African American Resource Guide is one of IAP’s key initiatives, a resource listing more than 600 African American businesses and organizations where Iowa’s African Americans can connect and create thriving relationships between the community, the courts and other professionals. View the guide here.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization for more than 6,400 Regional Business Members and 340+ Investors. The Partnership is a champion of the DSM USA message of Greater Des Moines (DSM) as a welcoming, diverse and vibrant community. Learn more about The Partnership’s vision of one voice, one mission as one region.

Sanjita Pradhan

Sanjita Pradhan is the director of diversity and inclusion at the Greater Des Moines Partnership where she leads our internal and external DEI strategies to ensure DSM USA is welcoming and inclusive to all individuals.