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Giving Back Profiles: African American Museum of Iowa

Year-long exhibit to pay homage to the military service of African Americans

In December 2010 the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa will open a year-long exhibit, entitled Unconditional Loyalty, to honor African Americans in the United States military. African-American Museum of Iowa logo

The story of African Americans in the military is one of determination, courage, and honor in the face of almost overwhelming odds. For more than two centuries, African American service people have fought two fights: one on the battlefield and one for equal rights.

The Museum will display artifacts, photography and documents which assist in telling the stories of African American servicemen and women from the Boston Massacre in 1770 to the selection of General Colin Powell as America’s highest-ranking military officer in 1989. It examines the conditions faced by Iowa’s African American Civil War recruits, as well as the war and peacetime experiences of the first African American Army officers, who trained at Fort Des Moines in 1917. Unconditional Loyalty also brings out the little-known history of African American women in the military, and it highlights the stories of Iowa’s 13 Tuskegee Airmen. Finally, this exhibit celebrates the bravery and patriotism of African American heroes like Medal of Honor winners James Gardiner (Civil War) and Vernon Baker (World War II), and honors all those who have served America.

The Alliant Energy Foundation’s community grants program contributes to educational efforts, as well as arts and culture, human needs, civic and environmental projects. Grants are awarded to initiatives and programs that address community needs and benefit a large number of people.

African-American Museum of IowaThat’s why the Alliant Energy Foundation is honored to support the African American Museum through a $6,000 community grant. The grant will fund an additional component of the exhibit, a professionally produced video that will continue to be used in educational programming across the state beyond the duration of the exhibit.

(Photos courtesy of the African American Museum of Iowa)