The City will be celebrating Black History Month throughout February with a series of special events and commemorations. 

The events are listed below in order of date, and all are open to the public.

A seat for Rosa Parks

All buses in the Iowa City transit system will be reserving a seat for Civil Rights Movement icon Rosa Parks throughout the month.

On Dec. 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger, and helped spark a bus boycott that became a critical event in the Civil Rights Movement. This year is the 65th anniversary of the boycott. 

On City buses, riders can find a QR code located on the commemorative image to find materials on Mrs. Parks and the civil rights movement that are available at the Iowa City Public Library.  

'More Than Just A Game'

A presentation called "More Than Just A Game" will highlight African American athletes in Iowa who fought for the right to equal treatment on and off the field to impact their teams, communities and sports they played.

This program is perfect for sports enthusiasts, history buffs, and the general public. 

The event will be held at noon Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St. Food and beverages will be provided from Sugapeach Chicken & Fish Fry.

Still Rising: Celebrating 10 Years of the Iowa City Civil Rights Trip

For more than a decade, Iowa City students have taken a trip to the South to learn about our nation's checkered past when it comes to racial equality.

The documentary film "Still Rising," made by City's Media Production Specialist Jack Brooks, follows the students who traveled on the 2018 trip to capture the historic sites, and the final year with the trip's founder Henri Harper.

A free screening will be held at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020 at the Iowa City Public Library's Meeting Room A. Discussion following the screening will be led by Johnson County Board of Supervisor Royceann Porter. 

Black History Trivia 

Attendees will have an opportunity to enhance their knowledge about Black History in an interactive and fun way.

The trivia fun will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center's Social Hall. All ages are welcome, and the event is free. 

Preserving Black History in Iowa City: Tate Arms and the Iowa Federation Home

Join us at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 at the Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A, to learn about two historic buildings that helped shape the history of African Americans in Iowa City. 

Tate Arms at 914 S. Dubuque St., and the Iowa Federation Home at 942 Iowa Ave., have been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. They both provided housing to African Americans when housing options were very limited.

Jessica Bristow, Historic Preservationist for the City, will give a free presentation about the homes and about the process to add them to the National Register. 

More ICPL events

The Iowa City Public Library will also be hosting several events, including Black History Storytime at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, a Black History Short Film Festival at 11 a.m. that same day, and a screening of the documentary "Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. For more information, visit

Date of publication

Friday, January 31, 2020