Monday, July 6, 2015

Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Two Controversial Decisions, Other Progressive Decisions made in the State of Iowa

      These are other progressive decisions made in the state of Iowa since the 1838 In the Matter of Ralph decision. Some were made by the Iowa Supreme Court, some by the state legislature, some during a constitutional convention, some were made by educational institutions such as colleges and universities, and some were made by the president or U.S. military.

      This timeline which shows the progressive 177 year history of Iowa proves the 2009 decision was not the first time a controversial decision had been made and that such decisions were not just made by the Iowa Supreme Court.

1838: While still a territory Iowa allowed unmarried women to own property. At that time, women did not have rights and in most of the U.S. they were considered property themselves.

1846: In the same year Iowa became a state it became the second state in the nation to allow married women to own property that did not originally come from her husband.

Iowa demonstrated its acceptance of religious minorities by allowing safe passage of the Mormons through western Iowa who were fleeing religious persecution in Illinois.

1851: A century before the rest of the United States and 12 years before the Emancipation Proclamation Iowa became the second state to legalize interracial marriage.

Iowa legislated that the property of married women did not vest in her husband, nor did the husband control his wife’s property.

1857: The University of Iowa became the first state university in the nation to open its degree programs to women.

1860: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a married woman may acquire real and personal property and hold it in her own right.

1867: African American men were granted the right to vote. 3 years ahead of the rest of the United States.

1868: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that women could have custody rights.

Iowa became the second state in the country to outlaw segregated schools. It took another ninety years before the rest of the United States did this. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled, in the case brought before it by Alexander Clark of Muscatine, that all children in Iowa must attend the same schools.

1869: Julia C. Addington became the first woman in the United States to be elected to a public office. She was elected to be Mitchell County Superintendent in northeast Iowa. At the time women were not allowed to vote in Iowa. Julia then got nervous about her election and asked the Iowa Attorney General to issue an opinion on the matter. He wrote that her election was legal under the constitution of Iowa. That was the first such ruling from any Attorney General in the country. Within a decade, 75% of the county superintendents in Iowa were women.

Iowa became the first state to allow women to join the bar, this made it possible for Iowa to have the first female attorney in the U.S.:  Arabella Mansfield.

1871: Ada E. North became the first woman appointed as the Iowa State Librarian> She was the first woman in the United States to such a position.

1873: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that African Americans are entitled to equal treatment in public accommodation.

1875: Emma Haddock of Iowa City became the first female in the United States to practice law before a federal court.

1880: The Iowa constitution was amended to allow African American men to serve in the Iowa General Assembly.

1884: The Iowa Civil Rights Act was passed. It prohibited discrimination in public accommodation. It was one of the first civil rights acts in the nation.

1885: Iowa once again demonstrated its acceptance of religious minorities as Iowa’s first Muslim immigrants settled in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

1890: Iowa native, Alexander Clark was appointed by President Harrison to be U.S. minister to Liberia. Mr. Clark became one of the first African American diplomats for the United States.

1894: Iowa became the third state in the nation to give women the right to vote.

1917: The US Army held its first officer candidate class for African American men at Ft. Des Moines.

July 2, 1919: Iowa became the 10th state to ratify the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

1934:  The first mosque in the United States is built in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is now known as the Mother Mosque of America. Cedar Rapids is also the home of the only exclusively Muslim cemetery in the United States, the Muslim National Cemetery.

1949: The Iowa State Supreme Court ruled that Katz Drug Store in Des Moines discriminated against Edna Griffin. It was the first successful enforcement of the Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1884. The ruling was preceded by a boycott of Katz Drug Store in Des Moines by both white and black residents. This boycott occurred seven years before the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.

1953: Iowa was the only state to defeat a McCarthyistic legislative measure to impose a teacher’s loyalty oath.

Iowan Abdallah Ingram, a World War II veteran from Cedar Rapids, convinced President Eisenhower that Islam should be recognized by the U.S. military, along with Christianity and Judaism. Additionally, he successfully urged President Eisenhower to have the symbol “I” for “Islamic” stamped on the dog tags of American Muslim soldiers.

1962: Iowa becomes the fourth state in the nation to use a merit selection process for its judicial system. This system prevents politics from influencing judges.

1970: Iowa became the second state to adopt no-fault divorce.

The University of Iowa became one of the first universities in the U.S. to allow a student GLBT group. It was also one of the first universities in the U.S. to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy.

1984: Republican Rich Eychaner became the first openly gay man in the U.S. to run for a voting seat in Congress, running for Iowa’s 4th congressional district.

November 14, 2003: Iowa State District Court Judge Jeff Neary in Sioux City granted a divorce to a lesbian couple who had a civil union in Vermont. The case was appealed by conservatives to the Iowa Supreme Court.

June 17, 2005: Iowa Supreme Court, in Alons v Iowa District Court, ruled that a same-sex couple who had been legally joined in another state could be divorced under Iowa law.

2007: Iowa became the second state to allow full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. One gay couple was married before the judge put a stay on his ruling in Varnum v Brien until the Iowa State Supreme Court could rule on the case.

Iowa became the fifth state to protect children from bullying due to sexual orientation AND gender identity.

Iowa became the seventh state to ban discrimination due to sexual orientation AND gender identity.

January 18, 2008: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled that second parent adoptions by same-sex couples are legal.

April 3, 2008: Iowa became the 8th state to allow Election Day Registration or same day voter registration.

2008: The Council Bluffs City Council banned discrimination in Council Bluffs due to sexual orientation AND gender identity.

April 3, 2009: The Iowa Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Varnum v Brien in favor of full marriage equality for gays and lesbians. Due to the stay on the 2007 district court ruling, this made Iowa officially the third state to allow marriage equality. And it was the first state not on one of the coasts to allow marriage equality and the first state to gain marriage equality with a unanimous decision.

February 17, 2010: The Iowa Board of Pharmacy became the first state pharmacy board in the nation to recommend the legalization of medical marijuana and to change the classification of marijuana to a schedule II drug before either legislators or voters took steps to legalize it.  It was a unanimous vote of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy.

February 18, 2010: Grinnell College announced that it has selected Dr. Raynard Kington as its next president. Dr. Kington is the first openly gay, African American college president in the nation. Dr. Kington has a husband and two sons. Grinnell College was founded in 1846 by strict abolitionists and has always been committed to social justice issues.

References:

Council Bluffs Community Alliance, Iowa’s Progressive History

Previous articles in the series:
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Introduction
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, History and Introduction
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1619
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1846
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1861
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1863
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1864
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1865
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1865 to 1990
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1990's
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 1990 to Present
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, Artifacts, Book and CD
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 2002
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, Celebrations and Photos
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 2003 to 2004
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 2009 to 2010
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, 2012 to 2015
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Juneteenth, Flags
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, Introduction
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, Iowa Civil Rights Timeline
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1839
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1868
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1869
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1873
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1884
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1925
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1905 to 1940
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1930
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1948
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1949
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1965
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1967
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1968
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1970
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1972
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1979
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1980
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 1990
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 2007
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, 2009
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Working Toward Equality, Resolving Conflicts/The Work Continues
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Two Controversial Decisions, Thesis and a Brief History of the Iowa Territory
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: Two controversial Decisions, The Story of Ralph Montgomery
Freedom and Civil Rights in Iowa: The Story of David Rorer