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Cedar Rapids Historic Markers

The Cedar Rapids Historic Markers project is a collaborative community history project that seeks to highlight notable historic sites throughout the city. 
1903 yearbook photo of William Lowery
Thomas and Mary Frances Lowery were among Cedar Rapids’ earliest African American settlers. After the Civil War, former slave Thomas married Mary—who was born free near the Michigan/Canada border to parents who fled Kentucky slavery. After moving to Iowa in the 1870s, Thomas worked as a laborer and hotel cook. Mary participated in social and religious activities, especially the Bethel AME Church. They built a nine-room, two-story house that once stood here at 903 South 8th Street. Two of their children, William and Luther, were Washington High School’s first black graduates. William became Coe College’s first African American graduate.

Download this plaque (PDF format)
© 2020  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

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