Waterloo Cultural Center Seeks to Celebrate Black History | Iowa News


Although neither he nor the event is affiliated with the center, Williams said he had it there to help increase his visibility.

“I would love to see this place grow,” said Williams. “We hope the community will step in here and say, ‘Well, maybe we can do something there. “”

This is good news for the centre’s board of directors.

“A lot of people don’t know what’s going on because they’re still living through stories from the past,” Wilder said.

For starters, the board removed “museum” from the title for several reasons, including the fact that there is a museum of the same name in Cedar Rapids and that there aren’t as many artifacts as, say , the Grout Museum District. the street.

But they also refocus on themselves as a space for community gathering, while also showcasing the story of the boxcar. Black residents brought in as railroad scabs were forced to live in boxcars like this over 100 years ago, confined to a small area of ​​Waterloo known as the Afro-Triangle. American.

Neighborhoods surrounding the center have remained heavily black ever since, according to census data. But while the center – then known as the African American Historical and Cultural Museum – had the unique potential to shine a light on black history in Waterloo, it had instead been beset by internal strife.


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