Voices In Color seeks to document, preserve, and share the oral history of racial and ethnic communities at Iowa State University,

as well as inserting these stories into Iowa State’s historical narrative and archival record.



Stories of communities of color have traditionally been relegated to the margins of America’s historical narrative and the documentation of communities of color have not been acquired and preserved by America’s cultural heritage institutions. When these stories are told, they are typically told from the perspective of Whiteness, continuing to silence these communities. This pattern holds true at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) like Iowa State University, where discussions of racial and ethnic diversity in Iowa State’s history typically focus on Jack Trice and George Washington Carver.


Individuals of color at predominantly white institutions face a multitude of obstacles at predominantly white institutions, including Iowa State University. These obstacles include feelings of isolation, a lack of mentorship, devaluing of minority-centered research, among others. Communities of color (such as organizations and culture centers) provide spaces for students, faculty, and staff of color to build relationships, network, gain mentors, and provide an outlet for race-based frustrations. These communities are central to improving the quality of life for many racial and ethnic minorities at PWIs.


This project seeks to document, preserve, and share the history of racial and ethnic diversity at Iowa State University through the lens of communities of color, inserting these stories into Iowa State’s historical narrative and archival record.


This project has several goals:

  • Document, preserve, and share stories of communities of color at Iowa State University through the conduction of oral history interviews and the creation of a project website;
  • Provide opportunities for networking, socializing, and community building for Iowa State faculty, students, and staff of color by facilitating gatherings to launch and celebrate the project;

Oral Histories and Community Building

In the first year of the project, two organizations have been selected for oral history interviews—the Black Faculty and Staff Association and Lambda Theta Alpha.



Division of Diversity and Inclusion, Iowa State University Digital Press, University Library Special Collections and University Archives


Project Leaders
Dr. Liz Mendez-Shannon (former Project Director for Hispanic/Latinx Affairs in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion)
Harrison Inefuku, Scholarly Publishing Services Librarian
Petrina Jackson, Head of Special Collections & University Archives

Project Team

Rachael Acheson, Assistant University Archivist

Rosie Rowe, AV & Film Preservation Specialist


  • Identifier:
    RS 00/17/05
  • Date Span:
  • Language:
  • Conditions Governing Access:

    To the extent that the donor owns copyright, copyright has been retained by the donor. The donor has granted to Iowa State University and the State of Iowa a limited license to grant publication rights. Copyright in some items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. It is the responsibility of the user to make a final determination of copyright status and conduct their own due diligence regarding their intended use of the material(s) and to identify any permissions required. The user is responsible for obtaining permission from the rights-holder(s) for uses not otherwise permitted by law or regulation.

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