Inequality in Iowa
Lesson Plan Item
|Grade||12th Grade||Class||Social Studies||Length of Lesson||4 days|
|Lesson Title||Inequality in Iowa|
|Unit Compelling Question||Have all Iowans always been treated fairly? If not, what did those Iowans do to change their experience?|
The Civil War ended slavery but it did not bring African-Americans into full and equal participation in American society. While "Jim Crow" laws established legalized segregation across much of the South, the North also discriminated, sometimes through laws but sometimes in practice. Blacks in Iowa established local chapters organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and sometimes mobilized black churches to promote equal rights.
Even though Iowa law prohibited segregation in public accommodations like hotels, transportation, and restaurants, blacks were often barred or given sub-standard service. Simon Estes growing up in Centerville remembers that their movie theater required him to sit in the balcony. Others recall downtown Des Moines theaters adopted the same practice. Black veterans returning from WW II successfully pressured the University of Iowa to allow them to live in university dormitories. Until then, black students had to find private housing. In 1948, Edna Griffin and two other Des Moines blacks took Katz Drug to court for its refusal to serve them ice cream at its lunch counter. They won their case (and a very small penalty) and Katz opened its food service to all. A Cedar Rapids physician had to pressure local authorities until he was allowed to buy a house in a formerly all-white neighborhood.
During the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s, local groups echoed their own demands for equal treatment. In 1965, Governor Harold Hughes appointed Iowa's first Equal Rights Commission to explore and investigate instances of discrimination. That same year, Iowa NAACP chapters joined with black churches to support Civil Rights efforts in the South. On March 7, local Des Moines blacks formed a march from the Capitol to downtown in support of the Selma to Montgomery marches. The efforts across the South captured the attention of the national news media, but Iowa efforts reflected a demand for equality here as well.
|Lesson Supporting Question|
|Primary Sources Used||
|Lesson Themes||Lawmaking, African American Experience, Women's Experience|
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|Author||Taylor Trimble||Reviewer||Dr. Lisa Millsaps, University of Northern Iowa||Created||04/17/2019||Last Edited||08/22/2019|
|Lesson Plan Development Notes: Teaching Methods, University of Northern Iowa, Fall 2018|