News

Iowa PBS Presents Telling Our Own Story, Featuring Venise Berry

This June, Iowa PBS presents Telling Our Own Story, four films produced by Black Iowan independent filmmakers providing insights on topics that have dominated recent headlines and Black culture since Iowa became a state. The unique perspectives of these filmmakers show what life is like for Black Iowans and provide a window for other cultures to see where similarities and differences exist. On Tuesday, June 7 at 8 p.m, Professor Venise Berry and filmmaker S. Torriano Berry spotlight Black Iowans who have made their mark on the state and world with their film, Black History.

Victor Ray's Forthcoming Book on Critical Race Theory Receives a Starred Review in Publisher's Weekly

University of Iowa sociologist Ray debuts with an illuminating primer on critical race theory. He details the field’s genesis in legal studies—specifically the insight that ostensibly race-neutral laws can perpetuate racist outcomes—and its incorporation of other social sciences. A brief overview of racism as “a basic organizing principle in America’s political history” (the three-fifths compromise, Jim Crow) is followed by lucid explanations of key concepts in critical race theory, including the idea that race is not an immutable biological attribute, but a malleable social and political construction used to justify exploitation.

Richard Turner Profiled by the University of Iowa: "Soundtrack to a career"

The scholarship of an African American religious history professor at the University of Iowa has come full circle with a book that examines the relationship between African American Islam and jazz.

Venise Berry Interviewed by KCRG: "Teaching kids about race under Iowa's new law"

Dr. Venise Berry was interviewed by KCRG, Channel 9 in Cedar Rapids, after speaking to a group of kindergarteners at Nixon Elementary School. In 2021, Iowa passed a law banning teaching certain concepts about race. “It’s very important that we understand that all experience isn’t the same,” Dr. Berry said. “And the only way that we can know how to treat each other is to understand each other’s experience. And to me, that is what teaching race is about.”

Victor Ray Op-Ed on CNN: "The White moderates MLK warned us about"

"In [Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s letter from Birmingham jail], King differentiated between just and unjust laws, citing measures that prevented Black Americans from voting as a form of legalized injustice.... By blocking voting reform today, Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are the White moderates Dr. King warned us about."

Victor Ray on FiveThirtyEight: "White Backlash Is A Type Of Racial Reckoning, Too"

"Instead, these moments [of racial reckoning] are often met with violent responses. They are also often met with new laws that attempt to weaken the political power of Black people while strengthening the political power of white people. And, yes, these moments are also often met by attempts to ensure a particular telling of American history that helps to maintain the mythology of racial progress that so many Americans find so deeply attractive."
No More Apologies by Damani Phillips

Dr. George Wolfe Reviews Dr. Damani Phillips' New Album

Dr. George Wolfe, Professor Emeritus of Music Performance at Ball State University, reviews Dr. Damani Phillips' newest album, No More Apologies.
Whaley Workshop

Deborah Whaley Discusses Comics and Social Change in Iowa Magazine

African American Studies Professor Deborah Whaley, an expert on race and gender in graphic novels and comics, explains why the genre can be an inviting medium for complex conversations in Iowa Magazine.
Soundtrack to a Movement: African American Islam, Jazz, and Black Internationalism

Richard Turner Interviewed on "Left of Black" To Discuss His New Book

What is the interesting, yet too little explored, intersection between the golden age of jazz and Islam in the African American community? How did one inform and influence the other? Dr. Richard Brent Turner joined Prof. Mark Anthony Neal to discuss his latest book, "Soundtrack to a Movement: African American Islam, Jazz, and Black Internationalism," published by NYU Press.

Louise Seamster on the New York Times' Ezra Klein Show Podcast

Public policy in the United States often overlooks wealth. We tend to design, debate and measure our economic policies with regard to income alone, which blinds us to the ways prosperity and precarity tangibly function in people’s lives. And that blind spot can ultimately prevent us from addressing social inequality at its roots.