AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa African-American Hall of Fame, housed in Iowa State University's Black Cultural Center, will induct five new members in August.
Founded in Des Moines in 1995, the IAAHF recognizes outstanding achievements of African-Americans with respect to enhancing the quality of life for all Iowans. Forty individuals have been inducted into the hall of fame since its inception.
This year, the Iowa African-American Hall of Fame recognizes the achievements of:
Melvin Harper, manager of restaurants and
entertainment venues in Iowa. A promoter of national musical
acts, Harper was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in
2002. Harper also founded several construction businesses in
Elaine Estes, the first and only
African-American director (now retired) of the Des Moines
Public Library. Under her leadership, the library became the
first in Iowa and in the country to carry out a materials
preservation program and disaster preparedness plan, and Iowa
became the first state to pass a law protecting library
- Iowa Tuskegee Airmen (group), African-Americans who participated in air crew, ground crew and operations support training in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Iowa had 12 black Tuskegee Airmen, six of whom served in combat. Between them, they flew over 400 combat missions.
Chuck Toney (posthumous), former director of
affirmative action at John Deere. The first African-American
at an executive level at John Deere, Toney started out his
career as the first welder of color in Iowa and
- Zack E. Hamlett Jr. (posthumous), founder and first executive dean, Des Moines Area Community College Urban Campus. Hamlett also founded the Iowa Alliance of Black School Educators and served as chair of the Iowa State Black Network.
The 2010 inductees will be recognized at a reception and
banquet starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 6, at The Meadows
Event and Conference Center, Prairie Meadows, Altoona. Tickets
are $50 per individual. To reserve a seat, contact Rose
Wilbanks at (515) 294-1909. In addition to supporting the
IAAHF, proceeds help support the George Washington Carver
Leadership Academy for developing youth leadership at Iowa
colleges and universities. Proceeds also will help establish a
permanent home for the Hall of Fame.