Tag Archives: Black History Month

Remembering Black History: Mapping the Black ISC Student Housing Experience

February is Black History month, and as part of that celebration IowaView would like to highlight a new story map that was recently released by the Tracing Race at Iowa State University. The Tracing Race project funds digital projects that reveal the under-documented history of accomplishment and experience of people of color, and engage with the history of race, inequality, racism, and student, faculty and staff activism at Iowa State University.

The Tracing Race project recently released a Story Map by Gloria Betcher, Ph.D.; Ted Grevstad-Nordbrock, Ph.D. & Jeanne Beck, Ed.S. called Mapping the Black ISC (Iowa State College) Student Housing Experience. It shares the stories of black students as they overcame challenges to find housing in Ames in order to pursue their education at Iowa State College.

“Since its founding in 1858 as Iowa Agricultural College & Model Farm, Iowa State University has allowed Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) to enroll as students. Iowa State’s first Black student, George Washington Carver, enrolled in classes in 1891. At that time, the question of where Black students could live while enrolled at the college became a concern, but it was left largely unaddressed by the institution until after World War II. Prior to that time, BIPOC students at Iowa State College (ISC) were kept from rooming on campus by an unwritten policy that required Black students to room together. This requirement was difficult to meet when so few Black students attended the college at any given time. As late as 1926, ISC had only 13 Black students and had just graduated its first Black woman, Willa Juanita Ewing, according to The Crisis: A Record of the Darker Races (“A Record,” 1926).

The housing situation of most BIPOC students at Iowa State in the years before it became a university remains unstudied in any systematic way. This ESRI Story Map project is an initial step toward addressing that research gap. It is also intended as a means of illuminating just who the Black students at ISC were and what contributions they made after leaving Iowa State.”

– From the Project Introduction: Mapping the Black ISC Student Housing Experience

This story map is a treasure. It explains the challenges of Black students in the early days of Iowa State College in finding housing and how they overcame those challenges. It provides a map showing many of the early residences of the students around Ames, many of the homes are still there today.

Another exciting feature of this story map is how the authors pay tribute to each of the Black students enrolled in at Iowa State College during this period of history. The authors provide a biography of each of the students and information about their time at the college and life after school as well as picture of the students. This is a great way to remember these students.

Take time to explore this wonderful Story Map: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/collections/8c704f644e3f46a3b6b7442f702aa586?item=1