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Juneteenth celebrations grow as Iowa journalist films Black changemakers

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Charity Nebbe and guests discuss the history of Juneteenth and the recent swell of Juneteenth celebrations in Iowa. Later on, journalist Ty Rushing shares his new documentary on Iowa PBS that tackles how to end racism.

Celebrations of the date when the last enslaved African Americans in the United States were emancipated on June 19, 1865, have been held in Iowa and across the nation for more than a century. Since Juneteenth National Independence Day was first observed as a federal holiday last year, there has been an explosion of community festivities across the state. Talk of Iowa host Charity Nebbe chats with Black Iowa News founder Dana James about this year's events.

Des Moines Register columnist and author Rachelle Chase details the weeklong Juneteenth celebration happening through this Saturday in Washington, which will feature a play from the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre about Buxton, a fully-integrated coal-mining ghost town that existed in the late 19th to early 20th centuries in southeast Iowa. Leo Landis from the State Historical Museum of Iowa discusses the history of Juneteenth celebrations in Iowa.

Later on in the episode, journalist Ty Rushing shares insights from his installment of the four-part Iowa PBS documentary series Telling Our Own Story, which asks about how to end racism in the state.


  • Dana James, founder of Black Iowa News
  • Rachelle Chase, Des Moines Register columnist, founder of Uniting Through History
  • Leo Landis, state curator of the State Historical Museum of Iowa
  • Ty Rushing, senior editor at Iowa Starting Line, producer of Telling Our Own Story: Ending Racism on Iowa PBS
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Samantha McIntosh is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio. Prior to IPR, Samantha worked as a reporter for radio stations in southeast and west central Iowa under M&H Broadcasting, and before that she was a weekend music host for GO 96.3 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Natalie Dunlap is a rising junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and minoring in gender, women's & sexuality studies. She is from Iowa City and in her free time enjoys getting coffee and reading downtown with friends.