Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Minority-owned Southern businesses get back on their feet post-pandemic with a fund's help; President Biden says don't panic over the new COVID variant; and eye doctors gauge the risk of dying from COVID.


U.S. Senate is back in session with a long holiday to-do list that includes avoiding a government shutdown; negotiations to revive the Iran Nuclear Deal resume; and Jack Dorsey resigns as CEO of Twitter.


South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

"1619 Project" Creator Establishes Freedom School in IA


Thursday, September 2, 2021   

WATERLOO, Iowa -- Disadvantaged students in one of Iowa's largest cities will get the chance to build reading skills through a more robust telling of Black American history.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter, received acclaim for her initiative with The New York Times called the 1619 Project. The 2019 essay was inspired by the 400th anniversary of the first enslaved Africans sold into English colonies.

A separate effort called 1619 Freedom School is now coming to Hannah-Jones' hometown of Waterloo.

She said the free after-school program is a way to give back to the community, especially for students who haven't been given opportunities to thrive.

"I think this intervention is necessary because we can just look at the test scores of Black students, particularly low-income Black students in Waterloo, as compared to white students, and see there's a failure happening somewhere," Hannah-Jones contended.

State data showed the graduation rate for Black high school students in Waterloo is 76%, below the statewide average of 91%.

Freedom School does not use government funding and combines local educators with community leaders in identifying younger, marginalized students for the program. It follows Iowa's adoption of a law that bans curriculum deemed controversial, such as Critical Race Theory, even though many observers note that theory isn't taught in most K-12 schools.

Hannah-Jones pointed out there is a lot of intentional misinformation surrounding the debate over Critical Race Theory and the pushback against expanding the teaching of Black history. She stressed her initiative has nothing to do with race theory found in college classrooms. She's focused on inspiring younger Black students.

"The research actually is pretty clear on this, that Black students who are exposed to Black history do better academically," Hannah-Jones explained.

She added while they aim to reach Black students who are struggling with reading, the program is available to all students. There are no current plans for Freedom Schools elsewhere in Iowa, but Hannah-Jones stated she hopes leaders in other communities replicate the program.

get more stories like this via email
The proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge is key habitat to the federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly. (Eric Porter/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


HEMET, Calif. -- Public-lands groups are asking Congress to support the proposed Western Riverside County Wildlife Refuge, a 500,000-acre swath …

Social Issues

PRINCETON, Minn. -- President Joe Biden is expected to visit Minnesota today to tout passage of the new federal infrastructure bill. Those working …

Health and Wellness

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Advocates for access to mental-health services are holding a Behavioral Health Summit today at the Augusta Civic Center. They are …

Experts say eye exams do more than just help patients find the right prescription for glasses. (Dario Lo Presti/Adobestock)

Health and Wellness

CARSON CITY, Nev. -- Eye exams can help determine your risk of dying from COVID, according to experts, because optometrists are often the first …

Health and Wellness

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- In a few weeks, Kentucky lawmakers will convene the General Assembly, and health advocates are calling for new policies to address …

Conservationists say the Recovering America's Wildlife Act could support improvements to water quality in the Ozarks, including the Buffalo National River. (Adobe Stock)


ST. JOE, Ark. -- More than a decade of restoration efforts in a section of Northern Arkansas' Ozark National Forest have led to 40 new species of …

Social Issues

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Legislature will consider three possible redistricting maps for the House and Senate when it meets for a special …

Social Issues

HOUSTON, Texas -- Minority-owned businesses across the South are benefitting from a program designed to help them get back on their feet post-…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021