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Universal Suffrage: The Ongoing Work of African American Women in Iowa

Universal Suffrage Traveling Exhibit

January 21, 2022

The Urbandale Public Library will host the “Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All” traveling exhibit from Thursday, Jan. 27 – Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. In partnership with the City of Urbandale Civil Rights Commission, the Urbandale Library is hosting the following events to highlight the history and message behind the exhibit, as well as stimulate discussion about the state of our nation today. All events are open to the public. Registration is encouraged due to limited space.

Not only are we excited to have the exhibit make a stop in Urbandale, but working with the Civil Rights Commission has allowed us to offer a series of events to take a deeper dive into the work of African American Women, past and present. All three events will help bring the exhibit to life and hopefully spark discussions in the community. We encourage everyone to attend one or all the events, if possible, and continue talking about how we can all work together to build strong communities that prioritize equity and diversity.

About the Exhibit

The product of a collaboration between the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ Office on the Status of Women, the Central Iowa Community Museum and the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University, “Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All” highlights the contributions of African Americans in Iowa to the suffrage movement.Toward a Universal Suffrage Flyer

Join us Thursday, Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. for opening remarks from Karen Kedrowski, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center.

On Saturday, Jan. 29 at 10 a.m., Judge Romonda D. Belcher will be presenting Sojourner Truth’s "Ain’t I a Woman" speech which was originally given at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in 1851. Judge Belcher will share other details about this historical figure and her involvement with the suffrage movement.

Continuing the Conversation will feature a panel discussion on Sunday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. This group of women will share their experiences as African American community and business members in Iowa. Speakers include:

  • Linda Franker, owner of Optimal Health & Wellbeing
  • Dwana Bradley, with Iowa Urban Media & Des Moines School Board
  • Renee Hardman, CEO of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Iowa & West Des Moines City Council member
  • Teree Caldwell Johnson, Des Moines School Board & Oak Hills Neighborhood Association member
  • Betty Andrew, President of the Iowa/Nebraska NAACP

To register for any of these events, visit urbandale.org or call (515) 278-3945. The exhibit is available during library hours. We are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Our hours on Friday and Saturday are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can visit us on Sunday from Noon to 6 p.m.

The Urbandale Public Library has been part of the City of Urbandale since 1961. The Urbandale Public Library is committed to providing diverse resources for life-long learning and enjoyment.

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.

Staci Stanton

Staci Stanton is the programming and outreach manager at Urbandale Public Library. Staci is a 2020 graduate from the School of Information at San Jose State University and has more than 15 years of library experience. She enjoys connecting people with resources and ideas, especially through DIY and health literacy.