People & Places

Iowa Civil Rights Trail would identify historic sites

Charles Pearson is pictured in front of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, a former Carnegie Library on Thursday, October 2
Charles Pearson is pictured in front of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, a former Carnegie Library on Thursday, October 29, 2015. The building at one point housed a set of volumes written by Judge George Greene. In these volumes, titled Greene’s Reports, Greene took a stance against slavery, according to research historian Mark Stoffer Hunter of The History Center. Kiran Sood/ The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — A historic resource development specialist is working to identify significant sites that are linked with the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the Civil War.

Charles Pearson, a Waterloo native, calls his project the Iowa Civil Rights Trail. He has identified places in Davenport, where he lives, and now wants to do the same in Cedar Rapids.

On Oct. 20, Pearson delivered a presentation outlining his goals to a small group at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. Among the attendees were representatives of the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission, Coe College and the Veterans Memorial Building.

Pearson said he is looking for other interested groups and agencies to get involved. He eventually wants community members to be able to walk throughout the city and peruse historical markers.

“When it came to the Iowa Civil Rights Trail Project, Cedar Rapids has always been a part of the vision,” Pearson said.

Pearson, who runs Pearson Consulting in Davenport, said he and team began researching Cedar Rapids’ connection to civil rights in May 2014.

“The next step is to get collaboration from existing nonprofit organizations or people tied to arts and humanities, anybody that’s affiliated with a library or museum,” Pearson said. “We want to be able to develop this civil rights piece and then worry about implementing it down the road.

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“The goal is to make this ongoing so it can be a comprehensive piece so if the city has a master plan, what we’re doing can be part of that city’s master plan.”

On Nov. 17, he will host a community discussion on the future of Cedar Rapids and its African American historic resources. He is inviting members of the African American community and descendants of individuals involved in African American migration, according to a news release.

If you go

Charles Pearson will host a community discussion on the future of Cedar Rapids and its African American historic resources from 4 to 6 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. For more information, contact Pearson at (563) 209-1170 or email pc.pearsonconsulting@gmail.com.

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