Last year, my daughter and I had a great time strolling through Elmwood Cemetery in Waterloo and seeing some of the town's founding father's come to life. Unfortunately, like just about everything else this fall, this event will be held virtually this year.

As the Grout Museum's website explains, "you can take a walk back in time with some of Waterloo's most prominent and influential figures. Travel through four Waterloo cemeteries to uncover the stories that make up our history".

This year's event highlights prominent Black voices from Waterloo history, including:

  • Dr. Lee Burton - first African-American physician in Waterloo, he practiced for 21 years before he died in 1948.
  • Lily Nina Furgerson - became the first African-American to teach in the Waterloo school system.
  • Jesse Lee Cosby - musically talented, he created some of the Cedar Valley's first racially integrated social venues.
  • Dr. Walter Cunningham - became Iowa's first African-American high school principal, working at East High School from 1976 until 1989.
  • Russell Bell - a WWII veteran who earned the rank of Staff Sergeant. He then studied to become a pharmacist at UNI.
  • Gwendolyn Hickey -  the first Black nurse in Iowa, and the first Black nursing instructor at Hawkeye Tech.
  • This year's event will be pre-recorded and sold as a virtual tour on-line at Grout Museum District.org. The video will go live on Saturday, October 31. Purchase price is $10. This a fun way to celebrate the Halloween season and learn about our community's past, make sure to check it out and tell your friends.

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