Thomas and Anna Oliphant were among Cedar Rapids’ earliest African American settlers. They were born into slavery—Thomas in Tennessee, Anna in South Carolina—before the Civil War. During the war, Thomas served in the 43rd U.S. Colored Infantry. After, he and Anna married and moved to Iowa. Thomas’ military pension and income as a laborer, along with contributions from his wife and children, made it possible for the Oliphant family to purchase a home which once stood here at 520 10th Avenue South. Oliphant family members were influential in helping to establish Cedar Rapids’ early black community.
Download this plaque (PDF format)