Governor Chet Culver, along with the six African American members of the Iowa House of Representatives celebrated Black History Month in Iowa on Monday. During the ceremony, Governor Culver read and signed the 2010 Black History Month proclamation.

“Black History Month is a time to celebrate, remember and reflect on the important roles African Americans play in our state,” Governor Culver said.
Each of the representatives presented awards during the ceremony to people throughout the state.

Representative Ako Abdul-Samad from Des Moines presented awards to Mr. Napoleon Douglas, a student at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines and president of the Des Moines NAACP Youth Council; Dr. Vincent Lewis, retiring principal of Des Moines North High School; and Kappa Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. for their work with Champions for Change.

Representative Helen Miller from Fort Dodge presented an award to Mr. Judge Brown, Jr. from Fort Dodge, an educator who worked on multicultural/gender-fair education and school desegregation and integration.

Representative Deborah Berry from Waterloo presented awards to Mr. Jim Day, a retired speech-language pathologist who is vice-president of the Black Hawk County branch of the NAACP and a commissioner on the Cedar Falls Human Rights Commission and Mr. Derrick Holmes, formerly of Waterloo and now a resident of Colorado, the CEO of Banneker Watches. In his absence and on his behalf, Representative Berry presented the State of Iowa with a miniature grandfather clock.

Representative Kerry Burt from Waterloo presented awards to Mr. Levorn Robinson, an entrepreneur who founded and owns Alpha Express, Inc; Mr. Robert Smith, a former school board president, Black Hawk County Supervisor, basketball and football referee, and director of UNI’s Educational Opportunity Center; and Ms. Diann Wilder-Tomlinson of Ankeny, who is deputy director for the Western Division of the Department of Corrections.

Representative Phyllis Thede from Davenport presented an award to Ida Johnson, who is the executive director of United Neighbors, Inc., in Davenport, which recently celebrated its 36th year.

Representative Wayne Ford from Des Moines presented awards to Mr. Barry Griswell, board member, former chairman and retired CEO of Principal Financial Group and current president of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines; Ms. Mary Lynne Jones, Director of Student Affairs for the Des Moines Public Schools; and Frank Bell Jr., the assistant director of programs for Urban Dreams.

Kevin Burt,The City Wide Youth Choir from Central Iowa, and Vashauna Evans from Waterloo provided entertainment during the ceremony.

See more YouTube videos from the ceremony here:
Representative Ako-Abdul Samad reading the resolution.
Representative Kerry Burt presenting awards.
Representative Wayne Ford presenting awards.
Representatives Helen Miller and Deborah Berry
Representative Phyllis Thede