Judge Hamilton: Gertrude Rush was an awe striking person in the state organization which was around before the national organization was founded. She was the president of the Iowa Colored Bar Association in 1921, that made her the first female to lead a state-wide bar association. Dr. Long-Hill: She is the first African American female to be admitted to practice in the state of Iowa. Dwana: With hearing the history speak about the journey of getting to the monument and what made you want this in our city and what was involved with that? Judge McGhee: I think the story was we need to do something for ourselves and that’s why I felt this was an important thing. You can treat it however you want to that’s why from my perspective the monument is so important. We did not allow race to be a hinderance, we did something ourselves. On the 75th Anniversary of NBA, we were able to get them to come down to Iowa for a regional meeting and some of the board knew it was founded in Iowa, but they wanted to know where specifically it was founded. We had nothing to point to. We were able to find a small, little marker at St. Paul A.M.E. churches parking lot. We had a hard time finding that, but we were eventually able to find it. Drake University did give us an NBA room in the lower level of the Law School and we put the marker in that room. Here we have an organization that is supposed to represent over 60,000 people around the world. We have all these famous people and the like who are apart of this organization and we have nothing to show that it was founded here. I said I was going to do something about it. I was going to work with our organization and build a monument. You should see all the drawings I created and went onto sell it, most people didn’t find it interesting, but we found people after a while that started to say ‘that’s a good idea’. We were able to go out and we found a man by the name of Ralph, he was a wonderful guy, and executive at one of the banks. He liked what we were doing, and he started to sell it with us. He would be the person that could give you $1,000 right now. He had personality, and you know what, he died right in the middle of our first major campaign. When he died, it faltered for a while. We got back on and the public art people decided to give us a little money. They wanted a minority project. Judge McGhee: All these symmetrical problems are typical, and we went through them. The first site was in front of the Law Center. We had this project that was talking about injustice and the plight of African America. Then on the Riverwalk and that was going be our big place and we built it and it looked really good, it was a beautiful thing, we got federal money and the city worked with us, but you know what happened? The Riverwalk commission said our initial proposal for the wall was three feet too short we had everything worked out by the time we got around to find the extra money to raise the three feet, they pulled the federal money and moved it to Fort Dodge. They took our money and moved it there. Our artist floundered. We were able to get it reestablished with the Des Moines Art people and that was a long story. We finally got them to get it together to help us with the fundraising. Through all the hardships as in all projects it’s just good to have it up there and see it. You don’t know this, but it took us 18 years to get this done. Dr. Long-Hill: I felt personally that there was a point in time that as we struggled I reflected, and I said, “I can understand what the founders may have gone through.” The same atmospheres and attitudes.

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