The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King visited Iowa on three separate occasions, in 1959, 1962, and in 1967. The first visit in 1959 had been to Waterloo, Iowa, and then to Iowa City, Iowa. Waterloo residents have kept Dr. King’s visit alive in their memory compared to the general amnesia of Iowa City residents.
Therefore, my Public Digital Humanities capstone project centers on creating an ArcGIS Story map of Dr. King’s visit to Waterloo, Iowa, and Iowa City. This requires learning about conditions in both respective cities before his visit in 1959, his speeches, and understanding racial relations past and present. Conducting background research, audio recordings of his speeches have been located, at the University of Iowa and in other locations. The University of Iowa has a digitized recording of his 1967 speech in Grinnell College, and an audio cd of his 1959 speech at the Iowa Memorial Union.
Talking with librarians at the University of Iowa demonstrated that researchers need to spend time with their materials, particularly to learn about what might be in special collections in various places. Special Collections at the University of Iowa Libraries has the cd of Dr. King’s speech in Iowa City, and I will have to talk and visit the University of Northern Iowa to see what Waterloo.
Knowing full well that this project would never do justice to Dr. King’s Iowa visits, it remains a project that would require continual work, whether I am at the University of Iowa or not. This project seeks to engage with various resources at libraries, whether they be academic or public libraries. It will provide various items such as pictures of where Dr. King visited in Waterloo and in Iowa City, while potentially providing links to audio recordings of Dr. King’s respective speeches in the two cities.
By Francis Menezes