Noteable Books by Faculty & Alumni
Grinnell Stories: African Americans of Early Grinnell
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Author Daniel Kaiser is Professor Emeritus of History at Grinnell College. The early history of the city of Grinnell is well documented, starting with J.B. Grinnell himself. The narratives about an ideal town on the Iowa prairie patterned after a New England village are well known. But those stories don’t give the full picture of the history of early Grinnell. In almost every account of Grinnell’s early years, the town’s African-Americans are overlooked. Even though J.B. Grinnell was a staunch abolitionist and the community was a stop on the Underground Railroad, African-Americans are not mentioned or pictured. Daniel Kaiser aims to fill the gap in the historical record. The book, “Grinnell Stories: African-Americans of Early Grinnell,” introduces some of the men and women of color in Grinnell between about 1860 and 1960. The book’s 12 chapters include the story of Emma Morgan, a former slave who, as a child, was brought to Grinnell after the Civil War. Other chapters tell the stories of the Renfrow family, whose six children grew up in Grinnell. The “wind-blown archive” of the Tibbs family informs several other chapters, and an appendix identifies the more than 200 African-Americans who lived in Grinnell between 1860 and 1960.