The African American Museum of Iowa, located in the heart of Cedar Rapids, has an important mission. It seeks to preserve, publicize and educate the public on the African American heritage and culture in Iowa.
Fort Dodgers have played an important part in the saga the museum commemorates. Two of those individuals - Jane Burleson and Judge Brown Jr. - are being singled out by AAMI leaders for recognition at a special event at the Fort Dodge Public Library today. Burleson was for many years the only African American on the Fort Dodge City Council. Judge Brown helped build the AAMI into the powerful educational force it has become. He helped with the museum's original capital campaign. Over the years, Brown has performed a number of leadership roles at AAMI, including service on its board of directors.
A third Fort Dodger's contributions to the museum will also be celebrated at today's event. Nick Johnson, fixed operations director at Fort Dodge Ford Lincoln Toyota, began serving on the AAMI board in January. Johnson was nominated for this key role by Brown.
There will be a 5:30 p.m. reception today at the library followed by a 6:30 p.m. educational program conducted by AAMI Executive Director Tom Moore. The theme of Moore's presentation will be the experiences of Iowans who been the only African Americans in classrooms, on sports teams, at work and more. That is especially fitting given Burleson's groundbreaking service as the first woman and only African American on our town's City Council.
The Messenger joins in applauding the contributions Brown and Burleson have made to our community and state. It also takes pride in Johnson's commitment to the ongoing success of this important museum.
Fort Dodgers are urged to stop by the library this evening to congratulate these impressive community leaders and partake of what is certain to be a superbly rewarding educational experience. Don't miss this important event.