Kesho Scott, associate professor of American studies and sociology is one of four 2016 inductees to the Iowa African-American Hall of Fame (IAAHF).

Founded in 1995 in Des Moines, the IAAHF recognizes the outstanding achievements of African-Americans who have enhanced the quality of life for all Iowans. Since its inception, 65 Iowans have been inducted into the IAAHF.

“I am humbled by this honor and look forward to bringing about 20 of my students to the banquet,” Scott says. “They will have the opportunity to interact with many of Iowa's most distinguished leaders and scholars in the realm of race and social justice, and I am excited to give them this opportunity.”

Scott was the first African-American woman to receive tenure at Grinnell College. She is an award-winning author and frequent speaker on issues of race relations, diversity, women’s issues, and inclusion and cultural competency. She has 30 years of experience conducting workshops about unlearning racism and all “-isms.” She has impacted the heartland by opening new pathways to equality and celebrating differences.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Scott received her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University, her master's degree in political sociology from the University of Detroit and her doctorate in American studies from the University of Iowa, where she was Woman of the Year in 1986. She has held several distinguished faculty positions, including visiting professor at Nanjing University in China and Fulbright visiting professor at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. The recipient of numerous honors, Scott is especially proud to have been awarded the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice by the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women in 2008. In addition, Scott has appeared on CNN, Iowa Public Radio, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The other inductees are:

  • Betty Andrews (Des Moines) who has distinguished herself “I’ll Make Me A World In Iowa,” an annual celebration of African American cultural heritage that draws over 10,000 participants from across Iowa. As president of the Iowa/Nebraska State Conference of the NAACP, she has led efforts to reform the criminal justice system and bring more equality into the Iowa courts.
  • Henry Harper (Iowa City) has empowered youth and families and enabled challenged youth to meet seemingly insurmountable goals in school work and in community organizing. He has been exemplary in his efforts to bring community support to interagency cooperation between law enforcement, community residents, students, and by his leadership founding two organizations that assists young people in school to transition to college.
  • James B. Morris Jr. (posthumously, Des Moines) was the first black Assistant Polk County Attorney and had an outstanding career as a trial lawyer. Morris also served as an intelligence officer with the U.S. 6th Army in World War II in the South Pacific. He received the Bronze Star and was one of the first African-American officers to lead white troops in combat. He and his father, the late J.B. Morris Sr., practiced law in Des Moines for many years.

The 2016 inductees will be recognized at a reception and banquet starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport, 6111 Fleur Drive, Des Moines. Tickets are $50 per person. Proceeds support the IAAHF and provide scholarships for developing youth leadership at Iowa colleges and universities.

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