Iowa Civil Rights History

1839 In re Ralph- first reported Supreme Court Case in Iowa, Slave was person, not property.

(compared to Dred Scott v Sandford, slave = property 1856,

overturned 1865 13th Amendment, 1868 14th Amendment)


1851 Iowa is 3rd state to reject anti-miscegenation law allowing interracial marriage.

(compared to Loving v Virginia 1967)


1855 University of Iowa opens and admits males and females. U of I first state university to recognize LGBT student group and give insurance benefits to domestic partners.


1868 Clark v. Board of Directors –  – dismantling racial segregation in Iowa elementary schools

(compared to Plessy v. Ferguson 1896 upholding separate v equal,

overturned by Brown v Board of Ed 1954 96 years later.)


1869 Iowa Supreme Court admitted first woman in US to practice of law.

1873 U of I Law school is first public school to award law degree to a woman.


1879 U of I Law school  is first public school to award law degree to an African American and removes “white male”  language.


1900 Carrie Chapman Catt grew up in Iowa, graduated Iowa State, taught in Mason City. President of the National Women’s Suffrage Association and founder of League of Women Voters.


1905 Beginning of Niagra movement, which later became NAACP.


1911 Iowa native John L. Lewis organizes the American Federation of Labor.


1915 NAACP organized in Iowa.


1934 First permanent Mosque in North America constructed in Cedar Rapids Iowa.


1969 – Tinker v Des Moines – school kids take right to wear arm bands to protest Vietnam war to US Supreme Court and win free speech for students


2007 – Varnum v Bailey District court rules unconstitutional to deny gay mariage.

2009  State Supreme Court affirms Varnum (compared to Obergefell v. Hodges 2015)

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