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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release October 28, 2009

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

WHTC explores African American history in Iowa

African American Museum of Iowa’s lecture series continues Sunday and Nov. 8

(COUNCIL BLUFFS) – The Western Historic Trails Center continues its exploration of African American history in Iowa next month as part of a lecture series presented by the African American Museum of Iowa.

The lecture series will be offered each of the next two Sundays at WHTC, 3434 Richard Downing Avenue in Council Bluffs. The lectures are free and open to the public. Call 712-366-4900 for more information.

The schedule for November follows:

Sunday, Nov. 1, 2009, at 2 p.m.
Dr. Lenola Allen-Sommerville, a retired instructor of African American History at Iowa State University, will discuss George Washington Carver. Sommerville is a member of the Iowa African American Hall of Fame.

Sunday, Nov. 8, 2009, at 2 p.m.
Dr. James E. Bowman was a World War Two “Tuskegee Airman” in 1945. He trained at Tuskegee, survived a crash of his P-47N airplane into a snake-infested swamp and served at various Army Air Corps bases in the South. He later graduated from Drake University and became the Assistant Superintendent of the Greater Des Moines Public Schools. He has lectured across the country about multicultural educational issues, black history and his experiences as a “Tuskegee Airman.”

The lectures are part of the African American Museum of Iowa’s “Experiencing Black Iowa” lecture series, which is designed to engage southwestern Iowa in the heritage of African American history in Iowa. Supported by the Iowa West Foundation, the series covers several topics such as agriculture, athletics and military.

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The Western Historic Trails Center is operated by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. SHSI is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state.

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