IOWA CITY — Shutterbugs and others with an eye on photography take note.
Mary Bennett of the State Historical Society of Iowa will discuss the “History of Photography in Iowa” at 7 p.m. today (2/15) in the Senate Chambers at the Old Capitol in Iowa City. The discussion is free and open to the public.
Bennett will explore the use of photography as historical evidence and how images alter perceptions and perspectives. By tracing the history of Iowa’s photographers, she will showcase 19th- and 20th-century examples from the collections at the State Historical Society of Iowa.
“Photographs are valuable cultural artifacts, capable of adding a new dimension to history or a more balanced interpretation as images have the power to re-create the past in visual terms and convey the human spirit behind these stories,” she said.
Bennett received a bachelor’s degree in 1976 and a master’s degree in 1985 from the University of Iowa, where she was recently honored as a College of Liberal Arts Alumni Fellow. Her presentation is part of her associated residency in the University of Iowa’s Department of History. She is a contributor to the current Old Capitol Museum exhibit “Faces of Iowa Through the Early Lens”; authored “An Iowa Album: A Photographic History, 1860-1920”; and co-authored “Iowa Stereographs: Three-Dimensional Visions of the Past.”
The lecture is presented by the Old Capitol Museum in conjunction with the University of Iowa Department of History and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The University of Iowa invites all people, including those with disabilities, to attend its events. Anyone requiring an accommodation should call the Old Capitol Museum at (319) 335-0546.
UI Play examines education rights
Two Iowa mothers in 1874 — Charlotta Smith, a former slave, and Mary Jane Dove, the wife of a respected minister — were determined in to end the unconstitutional exclusion of black children from Keokuk’s public schools.
They took to the courts to challenge the southeast Iowa town’s school segregation practice.
Their successful efforts, which brought them to the Iowa Supreme Court, are depicted in “Cross-Examined,” a play written by University of Iowa MFA student and playwright Margot Connolly. The work is largely based on historical research by Leslie A. Schwalm, UI professor of History and Gender, Women’s and Sexuality Studies.
Free, staged readings are coming to Cedar Rapids at 7 p.m. today (2/15) in Mount Mercy University’s McAuley Theatre, 1330 Elmhurst Dr. NE; and at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at the African American Museum of Iowa, 55 12th Ave. SE. Both Black History Month presentations, sponsored by Arts Share at the UI Office of Outreach & Engagement, are open to the public.
“Cross-Examined” personalizes the national struggle to expand the meaning of freedom after the Civil War by dramatizing Smith’s and Dove’s experiences. Northern states were slow to extend full political and civil rights to black citizens, even after reconstruction-era constitutional amendments and federal legislation guaranteed such rights.
Director Tempestt Farrar, a UI MFA student, will perform in the productions, along with other UI Arts Share students.
“The play covers an interesting time in Iowa history,” Connolly said. “I hope it sparks interest in audiences to further explore the subject of Iowa post-Emancipation.”
For this project, Arts Share teamed up with the UI History Department to “bring history alive” by turning research into a theatrical performance piece. Arts Share artists have been performing the work at schools and communities throughout the state.
Next, Arts Share will work with Jim Giblin’s “Seminar in Oral Histories” class during the 2018 spring semester. UI graduate students will collect stories from local Sudanese immigrants about their personal experiences, and Tameka Conley, a poet, playwright and MFA student at the UI, will develop the stories into a staged reading.