African American/Black Community

About 4 percent of the Iowa City area's 77,000 residents are African American. Many African American students new to the area ask about faith communities and hair care. Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, located near campus, was founded in 1868. The congregation welcomes students and offers weekly services, Sunday school, bible study, and a choir. Several local businesses specialize in caring for African American hair.

The Afro American Cultural Center

Known as the Afro House, the Afro American Cultural Center provides a supportive and inclusive environment and programs that empower students, faculty, staff, and community members to excel in their endeavors, stretch themselves to experience diversity, engage in activism, make positive choices, and serve their communities.

Center for Diversity & Enrichment (CDE)

The CDE sponsors social and academic events throughout the school year and offers guidance on scholarships and financial aid, academic development, student involvement, and just about every other aspect of campus life.

Office of Graduate Inclusion (OGI)

The Office of Graduate Inclusion (OGI) serves graduate students who are historically under-represented academically to provide information, networking, liaison support, counseling and access as a supportive community while they are pursuing a graduate degree. 

Student organizations and campus groups

The University of Iowa boasts nearly 500 student organizations, including some specifically for African American students.

Black Student Union

Voices of Soul

Multicultural Business Student Association

National Society of Black Engineers

National Association of Black Journalists

Darwin Turner Action Theatre

Minority Nurse Association

African American Council

Black Alumni Association

Fraternity and Sorority Life

Iowa is home to seven traditionally African American fraternities and sororities, all of which aim for academic achievement, political awareness, and community service.


More than 90 percent of Iowa students receive some form of financial aid. Scholarships specifically awarded to members of diverse or underrepresented groups include (but are not limited to) the Iowa Minority Academic Grants for Economic Success (IMAGES), the Advantage Iowa Award (AI Award), and the Halas-Sayers Scholarship, the Ezra L. Totten Scholarship, and the Engineering Opportunities Scholarship. You also may be eligible for a Minority American Science Scholarship or a Horatio Alger Scholarship.

Faculty and Staff Organizations

African American Council
The African American Council (AAC) strives to improve the quality of life for African American faculty, staff and students at the University of Iowa.  By promoting recognition of achievement, cultural exchange, and public service, we encourage individuals to advance in their careers, build meaningful personal relationships, and address needs beyond this university.

Hair Care

Alfies Beauty Supply
400 Kirkwood Ave
Iowa City, IA 52240

Sally Beauty Supply
1656 Sycamore St.
Iowa City, IA

Textures Salon
1812 Boyrum St
Iowa City, IA 52240

Venus African Hair Braiding
1348 B 5th Street
Coralville, IA 52241

Places of Worship

Bethel AME Church
411 S Governor Street
Iowa City, IA52240-5620

Gospel Explosion Ministries
1854 Muscatine Ave
Iowa City, IA 52240

Kingdom Apostolic

Living Waters Kingdom Church
1200 2nd Ave. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Parkview Church
15 Foster Road
Iowa City, IA 52245

Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City
10 S. Gilbert Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

Vineyard Community Church
2205 E Grantview Dr. # 200
Coralville, IA 52241-8585

Did you know?

Iowa's African American Studies program was created in 1969 to foster awareness of the contributions of African Americans to the development of the United States. It offers a major and a minor. Iowa also offers a certificate in Critical Cultural Competence.

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