PBS Iowa Presents ‘Telling Our Own Story,’ a preview

PBS Iowa examines race and Black history in Iowa with a four part series that is set to air on Monday and Tuesday.


Sam Knupp, Managing Editor

PBS Iowa will be examining race and Black history in Iowa with “Telling Our Own Story,” a series of four films set to air on Monday and Tuesday.

The first two films, Racism and Its Impact, along with Poverty and the Wealth Gap will be airing on Monday at 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. respectively.

In the films, Terrence Thames explores how racism first took hold in Iowa, why it persists, and how Black Iowans deal with the nuances of building generational wealth.

“I think they [viewers] will be surprised by the similarities if not the exact correlations between white Iowans in their lives and the similarities of those who are black in their lives,” he said in an interview with PBS.

The next two films, Black History and Ending Racism will air on Tuesday at 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. respectively.

Black History — made by Steve Berry and his sister, University of Iowa journalism professor Venise Berry — will examine figures like Alexander Clark, a Black man who sued the schools in Muscatine in the 1860s for not letting his daughter, Susan, attend classes.

Dr. Steve Berry said because of this, Iowa’s public schools were desegregated 86 years before Brown v. The Board of Education passed.

“All four pieces should not only engage and educate but should also hopefully open up a dialogue,” Steve Berry said.

In the film, Ending Racism, journalist Ty Rushing talks with people across Iowa on how to bring racism to an end.

“I wanted to highlight people who were doing things in their communities to try to make a difference,” Rushing said in a PBS interview.

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