Central Iowa Community Museum

Central Iowa Community Museum Coming soon! The Central Iowa Community Museum will be a place where the experiences of the people of Central Iowa are shared, explored, celebrated, and honored.

It will also be a place where our community can come together to discuss important issues.

Operating as usual

10/23/2020

On this day in 1850, the first National Women's Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts. This convention featured Sojourner Truth as a speaker. One of the issues discussed at the convention was granting women the right to vote.

“Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All” is on view again this weekend at @bla...
10/23/2020

“Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All” is on view again this weekend at @blackiowa. This quote is at the entrance to the museum’s permanent exhibition. African American women planted themselves in Iowa and made suffrage bloom!

Edna Griffin was born on this day in 1909. She is known as “the Rosa Parks of Iowa” because she picketed the Katz Drug S...
10/23/2020

Edna Griffin was born on this day in 1909. She is known as “the Rosa Parks of Iowa” because she picketed the Katz Drug Store after being refused service in 1948. She won a lawsuit against the owner for violating Iowa’s public accommodation laws. The building at 317 7th Street in downtown Des Moines, where the drug store was located, is now the Edna Griffin Building.

Voting by absentee ballot? You can track your returned ballot on the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Contact your coun...
10/22/2020
Track Your Absentee Ballot

Voting by absentee ballot? You can track your returned ballot on the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. Contact your county auditor’s office if you have returned your ballot but they have not received it.

Track Your Absentee Ballot Please review: Please enter a first name. Please enter a last name. Please enter a numeric zip code. Please select an election. Please enter: Your birth month Your birth day Your four digit birth year Please check the captcha. Please type in your first name, last name, and...

Early voting is underway across Iowa at county auditor’s offices. To vote early, bring your ID, wear a mask, and be prep...
10/21/2020
Absentee Voting in Person

Early voting is underway across Iowa at county auditor’s offices. To vote early, bring your ID, wear a mask, and be prepared to social distance. Visit the Secretary of State's office to learn more:

Absentee Voting in Person You may cast an absentee ballot in person at your county auditor's office before any election. You must vote your absentee ballot at the auditor's office. You cannot take the ballot home with you. For voters who need assistance in marking their ballots, an accessible ballot...

10/20/2020

We regret to announce that the Bettendorf Public Library is not able to host “Toward A Universal Suffrage” Nov. 10-16. The library continues to use the space where the exhibition was to be displayed for quarantining materials. We hope the exhibition is able to travel to the library at a future date.

There is a shortage of poll workers this year due to the pandemic. If you are comfortable serving as a precinct election...
10/19/2020
Iowa Precinct Election Officials

There is a shortage of poll workers this year due to the pandemic. If you are comfortable serving as a precinct election official, sign up through the Secretary of State's office. Poll workers will be provided personal protective equipment.

Helping voters vote, answering their questions, guiding them through the voting process and guarding the integrity of our elections is paramount in determining the will of the voters in selecting our leaders. The precinct election officials who are tasked with these duties are dedicated to our democ...

Thank you to the African American Museum of Iowa for hosting “Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iow...
10/18/2020

Thank you to the African American Museum of Iowa for hosting “Toward a Universal Suffrage: African American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All”!

“Toward A Universal Suffrage” is now open at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. It will be on view thr...
10/16/2020

“Toward A Universal Suffrage” is now open at the African American Museum of Iowa in Cedar Rapids. It will be on view through Oct. 31. The museum is currently open Fridays from noon to 6 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 6 pm. Please wear a mask if you go to see it.

Requesting an absentee ballot? Make sure to follow the instructions when filling out the request form. You will need to ...
10/15/2020
Absentee Voting

Requesting an absentee ballot? Make sure to follow the instructions when filling out the request form. You will need to include your driver’s license number or your four-digit voter PIN, which can be found on an Iowa Voter ID card. Fill out the form yourself as pre-filled forms may not be accepted. Download an absentee ballot request form on the Iowa Secretary of State's website.

Absentee Voting County AuditorDirectory Any registered voter in Iowa may request an absentee ballot through their county auditor. Download an absentee ballot request form *Signed and completed absentee ballot request forms must be delivered to your county auditor. Learn how to request an absentee ba...

10/14/2020

If you are planning to vote by mail, now is the time to submit your ballot request. Contact your county’s election office to request an absentee ballot. Don’t delay! The deadline to request a ballot is 10 days away. However, due to the large volume of absentee voting and delays in the mail, you should request your ballot now.

Dear Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst, We miss you! Iowa's arts and cultural venues and their 42,000 employ...
10/14/2020
Save Our Stages

Dear Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Joni Ernst, We miss you! Iowa's arts and cultural venues and their 42,000 employees need your help to survive. 48 senators and 31 states have co-sponsored the #SAVEOURSTAGES Act. Iowa NEEDS YOUR support on this bi-partisan bill! Iowans can add their voices at www.saveourstages.com.

With nearly 2 million letters sent, we're still hoping Congress does the right thing, and passes legislation that will #SaveOurStages. The truth is that while we wait for Congress, many venues are at risk of closing forever if they don't get help today.

10/13/2020

The election is three weeks from today. Do you have a plan to vote? A plan is important to make sure that you don’t miss casting your ballot. Are you registered? Will you vote in person or absentee? If in person, do you know your polling place location, how you’ll get there, and what time you’ll vote? If absentee, have you requested your ballot so you can return it in time?

10/09/2020

Voting by absentee ballot? County auditors are recommending you bring your ballot to the post office rather than place it in your mailbox. This will help your ballot move more quickly through the mail system. You can also take place your ballot in the dropbox located at your county auditor’s office.

On Oct. 2, 1919, the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association reorganized as the League of Women Voters of Iowa. Sue M. Wilson Br...
10/08/2020

On Oct. 2, 1919, the Iowa Equal Suffrage Association reorganized as the League of Women Voters of Iowa. Sue M. Wilson Brown, president of the Des Moines League of Colored Women Voters, spoke at the last IESA convention, and she and three other members of the Des Moines League of Colored Women Voters were delegates to the first convention of the League of Women Voters of Iowa.

10/07/2020

Absentee ballots began mailing to voters who requested them on Monday. If you vote absentee, follow these steps to ensure your vote counts:

- Use a black pen
- Fill in the box next to the candidate
- Place the ballot in the secrecy envelope/sleeve provided
- Sign the affidavit envelope

"The first vote marks a crossing over into political adulthood and entree into the political culture. Each is an affirma...
10/06/2020

"The first vote marks a crossing over into political adulthood and entree into the political culture. Each is an affirmation and recommitment to the ideas of representative government. Each time a first vote is cast, it is a new expression of faith in the nation" - Historian Martha S. Jones, author of the newly released "Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All

09/30/2020

White supremacy has no place in our society. White supremacy prevented Black women and men from fully having the vote until 1965. Failing to condemn white supremacy puts Black lives at risk. Anyone unable to condemn white supremacy is not fit to lead our country.

09/25/2020

“We ask suffrage not as a favor, not as a privilege, but as a right based on the ground that we are all human beings, and as such entitled to all human rights.” – African American suffragist Lottie Rollin

The Des Moines Public Library has put together a 2020 Iowa Voter Guide. This guide has information about voter registrat...
09/24/2020

The Des Moines Public Library has put together a 2020 Iowa Voter Guide. This guide has information about voter registration, absentee ballots, and early voting. You can also ask for voter registration and absentee ballot request forms at any of the library’s curbside pickup locations.

Looking for info on voter registration, absentee ballots, and early voting? Check out our new Iowa Voter Guide for all that and more: dmpl.org/2020-iowa-voter-guide

You can also ask for voter registration and absentee ballot request forms at any curbside pickup location.

Check out this Zoom program tomorrow night, which will highlight voting rights and options in this year's election!
09/23/2020

Check out this Zoom program tomorrow night, which will highlight voting rights and options in this year's election!

Thursday we will be joining the ACLU of Iowa for a Zoom program on voting rights in Iowa. Learn all about your options leading up to the Nov. 3 election. dmpl.org/events/voting-rights-iowa-dont-be-intimidated-vote

Register now. If you'd like to submit questions in advance, email them to [email protected].

09/23/2020
Rod Library @ UNI

"Toward A Universal Suffrage" was recently at the Rod Library @ UNI. They have made an incredible video about the exhibition! Thank you to UNI and the Rod Library for hosting this exhibition and making this video!

Over the last several weeks, the University of Northern Iowa Museum housed the "Toward a Universal Suffrage: African-American Women in Iowa and the Vote for All" exhibit, courtesy of the Central Iowa Community Museum. Didn't get a chance to stop by and visit? Don't worry! Check out this virtual walk-through of the exhibit for a more in depth look at the courageous women that it features🙌 University of Northern Iowa Alumni Association

You can also check out the exhibit online at https://centraliowamuseum.com/exhibitions?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

As the country marks the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we make note of the following connections...
09/21/2020

As the country marks the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we make note of the following connections between her and African American women’s suffrage.

Justice Ginsburg famously quoted Sarah Grimke, who said, “I ask no favor for my sex...All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks." Grimke was an abolitionist. The roots of the women’s suffrage and equal rights movements are found in the movement to abolish slavery. In the early 1800s, women began to assert their right to organize, speak, and act on public and political issues.

African American women did not gain full suffrage throughout the United States until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled in Shelby vs. Holder that section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act is an undue burden to states. This decision undermines the Justice Department’s preclearance power, where certain jurisdictions are required to submit any proposed changes to their election laws for review to ensure they do not have discriminatory effects. After the Shelby decision, many states passed laws that may discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities and the poor. They include voter ID laws, aggressive purging of voter rolls, and shortening or eliminating early voting periods. Justice Ginsburg dissented in this decision.

In her 27 years as a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg had only one African American clerk. This is a painful reminder of the schism that existed in the women’s suffrage movement. While all women were united in their quest for the vote, white women often excluded African Americans and their concerns from the larger movement.

In fighting for their right to vote, African American women were universal suffragists. They believed that all citizens deserved the right to vote. They also believed that through the vote, they would be able to change laws that discriminated against them. As a lawyer, Ginsburg took cases that fought gender discrimination to advance women’s rights. Iowan, African American suffragist, and lawyer Gertrude Rush also focused on women’s legal rights, mainly in estate cases. It is notable that laws that discriminate against women were not changed until women won the right to vote and began practicing law.

Universal suffrage leads to universal representation. When all citizens have the right to vote they also have the opportunity to hold positions in our government. It was not until 2010 that Iowa’s first African American woman was appointed to the judicial bench. The country is still waiting for its first African American woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

Ruby Sutton passed away on this day in 2015. She followed in the footsteps of the suffragists. She was a tireless commun...
09/18/2020

Ruby Sutton passed away on this day in 2015. She followed in the footsteps of the suffragists. She was a tireless community activist in her adopted hometown of Dubuque. She received the NAACP’s First Humanitarian Award in 1989, which was later renamed in her honor, and the Friends of Iowa Civil Rights Award in 2000.

When the Iowa Constitution was ratified in 1857, it allowed only white men over the age of 21 to vote. Thankfully, throu...
09/17/2020

When the Iowa Constitution was ratified in 1857, it allowed only white men over the age of 21 to vote. Thankfully, through the tireless work of African American suffragists, Iowa is much closer to universal suffrage today!

When the United States Constitution was written in 1787, it said little about voting rights. States determined who had t...
09/16/2020

When the United States Constitution was written in 1787, it said little about voting rights. States determined who had the right to vote. Every state restricted voting rights to male property owners, and sometimes only to white male property owners.

Ottumwa was a center of African American women’s club activity which included work to gain votes for women. The Iowa Ass...
09/15/2020

Ottumwa was a center of African American women’s club activity which included work to gain votes for women. The Iowa Association of Colored Women's Clubs, later known as the Iowa Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, was founded in 1902, with Helen Downey of Ottumwa as the first president.

09/14/2020

Due to concerns about the pandemic, the "Toward A Universal Suffrage" tour stop scheduled to begin on Sept. 21 at Northwestern College has been canceled. The college may bring the exhibition to campus in the future. If they do, we'll be sure to announce it here.

We are pleased to announce that Sue M. Wilson Brown is a 2020 Woman of Achievement honoree! A plaque with her name will ...
09/11/2020

We are pleased to announce that Sue M. Wilson Brown is a 2020 Woman of Achievement honoree! A plaque with her name will be added to the Women of Achievement Bridge in downtown Des Moines. Thank you to Women Lead Change for honoring Mrs. Brown.

Mrs. Brown was nominated by us, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, and the Iowa Department of Human Rights, the organizers of the "Toward A Universal Suffrage" exhibition. We are grateful that one of Iowa's most important African American suffragists will continue to be remembered.

We will be honoring Sue M. Wilson Brown, Zada Mary Cooper, and Joy Cole Corning for their contributions to advancing women as 2020 Women of Achievement Award Honorees. Commemorative plaques with their names will be placed on the Iowa Women of Achievement Bridge in Downtown Des Moines. #WomenLeadChange

Suffragist Gertrude Rush passed the Iowa Bar exam in 1918 but was denied admittance to the American Bar Association. In ...
09/10/2020

Suffragist Gertrude Rush passed the Iowa Bar exam in 1918 but was denied admittance to the American Bar Association. In response to the ABA’s racism against African Americans, Mrs. Rush and four African American men founded what is now known as the National Bar Association in 1925.

On this day in 1877, Sue M. Wilson Brown was born. Mrs. Brown would become one of Iowa’s most prominent African American...
09/09/2020

On this day in 1877, Sue M. Wilson Brown was born. Mrs. Brown would become one of Iowa’s most prominent African American leaders. She founded many clubs and organizations that worked for suffrage and civil rights, including the Des Moines League of Colored Women Voters and the Des Moines chapter of the NAACP. She passed away in 1941.

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