Black History Month at UIU
Scheduled Events (all times CST)
Members of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will read to children at the local daycare and preschool school in Fayette as well as in West Union and the elementary school in West Union. Books will revolve around the importance of inclusion and the value of diversity.
Bill Proctor ’96
Biology, Fayette Campus Alum
Monday, February 19th @ 6pm – Virtual, Facebook Live
Bill Proctor is an 1996 alum from the Fayette campus and serves as an educator, administrator, coach, mentor, and commentator, among many other roles. While completing his biology degree at UIU, he was a student athlete in football and basketball and went on to teach biology, chemistry, and physics for 13 years at the high school level before switching to physical education. He was instrumental in the creation and success of the first mentoring program at Des Moines Public Schools called Brother2Brother. While doing so, also opened several local businesses around Des Moines to generate additional revenue. He now serves as the Brother2Brother District Coordinator for Des Moines Public Schools and the Director of Player Development for Sports Plex West, a training facility for basketball players all while continuing to teach physical education at McCombs Middle School. His goal in life is to use his knowledge, experience, and resources to move others forward towards the road to success in whatever capacity he can.
For more information on the Alumni Speaker Series, visit www.uiu.edu/alumnispeakerseries.
Fayette & UIU History
Below we provide a brief review of early Fayette and Iowa Black history. In addition, to the right, in “Learn More”, you can learn more about the first black woman to graduate UIU and the family origin of Fayette, Iowa’s Watermelon Days.
1851: Iowa is the 3rd state to allow interracial marriage.
1852: Fayette County: An area known as ‘the colored settlement’ was established between Fayette and West Union. Black and mulatto (mixed) families moved from Illinois to the new farming community north of Fayette. They built their own school house, and several students continued their education at Upper Iowa University with some becoming excellent teachers.
1857: Upper Iowa University opens January 7 as an interracial and co-educational institution. Two years earlier the University of Iowa offered their first classes to both men as women, but it was not interracial .
1857: Iowa’s Constitution was ratified. After much debate it was decided that ‘Negroes should have the right to provide testimony in court’ and ‘Negroes should have the right of suffrage (the right to vote)’
1861-1865 Civil War. All Upper Iowa University male students volunteer to fight in Iowa Regiments for the Union Army.
1879: Upper Iowa University admits Susan Angeline Collins, UIU’s first female African American student. Others soon followed, and there was likely continuous enrollment of students of African American descent since 1879.
1969: The Brotherhood was formed at Upper Iowa University ‘to improve relationships between blacks and whites on campus.’ By 1983 this purpose had changed to ‘participate in worthy undertakings for the improvement of all ethnic and minority groups on campus and in the community.’ Alpha Nu Omega fraternity grew out of the Brotherhood.
 Not all students actually fought. One student dropped out when his young wife requested it, and others were not found to be physically fit.
Resources to Learn More & Engage
This nonprofit, created by Malene Barnett, was created to carve out space for Black design talent, creating opportunities for our members to thrive and reaching out to industry allies to support the great work of visionary Black artists and designers. BADG is building a more equitable and inclusive creative culture by advancing a community of independent Black makers in creative industries. https://badguild.info/mission-and-overview
Black Culinary History was started to preserve and pay homage to the collective Black culinary heritage. “Black people from all over the African diaspora have come here, by force and by choice, since the birth of this nation and literally built what we call American cuisine. There are amazing, diverse, and talented Black food folks who are brilliant writers, historians, chefs, educators, farmers, winemakers, mixologists, and activists. This site endeavors to showcase all of these facets …” https://www.blackculinaryhistory.com/
Learn about defining moments in the past and present, and the future of the Black experience in the United States. From videos, stories and the arts, this site provides many ways to explore and learn more: https://artsandculture.google.com/project/black-history-and-culture
The official #BlackLivesMatter Global Network builds power to bring justice, healing, and freedom to Black people across the globe: www.blacklivesmatter.com
24/7 BLAC seeks to advance economic equity and vitality for Black communities. Located in Waterloo, Iowa, this non-profit’s objective is “To create access through education, employment opportunities and participation in programs that are centered in blackness and impact the ability to generate wealth, advance professionally, and leverage talent in entrepreneurship and business.” https://www.twentyfoursevenblac.com/
An organization that connects individuals with therapists and provides professional training: www.blackmentalhealth.com
The Black Youth Project is a platform that highlights the voices and ideas of Black millennials. Through knowledge, voice, and action, the organization works to empower and uplift the lived experiences of young Black Americans today. www.blackyouthproject.com
BEAM is a national training, movement building and grant-making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities. https://www.beam.community/
The Civil Rights Digital Library promotes an enhanced understanding of the Movement by helping users discover primary sources and other educational materials from libraries, archives, museums, public broadcasters, and others on a national scale.
Learn more about the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in this interactive map. Just choose your state and go on a Civil Rights Trail tour: https://civilrightstrail.com/discover-the-trail/
The Tulsa Massacre of 1921 is among the worst racial terror attacks in the nation’s history — as well as the government’s culpability. What happened was deliberately hidden in history but The New York Times pieced together archival maps and photographs, with guidance from historians, to construct a 3-D model of the Greenwood neighborhood – known as America’s Black Wall Street – as it was before the destruction: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/05/24/us/tulsa-race-massacre.html Here you can read about thriving 100 block Greenwood district of Tulsa Oklahoma, explore the photos and interactive map and learn about the massacre that ended it all.
Based out of Des Moines, Iowa, this non-profit’s mission is “To empower each person with the consciousness of the part they play to promote an inclusive, safe, and equitable society.” ICU works with schools, corporations and organizations to create “safe zones”; a space that generates conscious thinking into positive actions. https://www.icuworldwide.com/
An interactive, multifaceted educational space dedicated to helping visitors connect and engage with African American history and culture in ways that expand perspectives, spark curiosity and creativity, and increase knowledge. Explore the exhibit virtually: https://nmaahc.si.edu/explore/exhibitions/explore-more
An organization that works to disrupt inequality, dismantle racism, and accelerate change in key areas including criminal justice, health care, education, climate, and the economy. www.naacp.org
Sharing Hope is a three-part video series that explores the journey of mental wellness in Black communities through dialogue, storytelling and a guided discussion.
The National Urban League is a historic civil rights and urban advocacy organization with 90 affiliates serving 300 communities, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than two million people nationwide. www.nul.og
The largest platform for Black-owned businesses with thousands of options for customers who want to support Black-owned businesses. https://obws.com/
This job connection resource is designed specifically to promote diversity in the workplace. www.prodivnet.com
This growing media center provides access to an expansive range of Black and Brown voices in poetry, visual art, critical thought and design. “The library’s focus is education, knowledge production, creative inspiration, and skill development through works by artists, designers, historians, and activists from around the world.”