|Vol. 16, No. 2||Special Edition||June 1998|
|1839||Iowa Territorial Supreme Court rules that former slave who contracted for his freedom but was unable to pay the contract price was a free man in Iowa. In Re Ralph, A Black Man.|
|1857||U.S. Supreme Court rules that fugitive slaves in free states and territories must be returned to their masters. Dred Scott v. Sandford.|
|1863||Emancipation Proclamation is signed by President Abraham Lincoln.|
|1866||13th Amendment abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude. Civil Rights Act of 1866 guarantees African-Americans the right to contract and equal protection under the law.|
|1868||Iowa Supreme Court rules that segregated schools are illegal. Clark v. The Board of Directors.|
|1873||Iowa Supreme Court rules that African-Americans are entitled to equal treatment in public accommodations. Coger v. The North West Union Packet Co.|
|1875||The Iowa Supreme Court rules that schools cannot deny admittance to African-Americans. Smith v. The Directors of the Ind. Sch. Dist. of Keokuk and Dove v. The Ind. Sch. Dist. of Keokuk.|
|1880||Iowa Constitution amended to allow African American men to serve in the Iowa General Assembly.|
|1884||Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1884 prohibits discrimination in public accommodations.|
|1885||Iowa Supreme Court rules that it is legal for a skating rink to deny admittance to African Americans. Bowlin v. Lyon.|
|1896||U,.S. Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that the "separate but equal" doctrine is constitutional.|
|1905||Iowa Supreme Court rules that it is illegal for an eating house to deny service to an African-American juror. Humburd v. Crawford.|
|1930||Katz Drug Store opens at 7th and Locust in Des Moines.|
|1943||Earl Vroman, manager at the Katz store, is acquitted of charges of refusing to serve African-Americans under the 1884 Iowa civil rights law.|
|1944||Maurice Katz, store manager, is acquitted on charges of refusing to serve African-Americans.|
|1947||Two other Katz employees are acquitted.|
|1948||July 7 - Edna Griffin, Phyllis Griffin, John Bibbs, and Leonard Hudson are denied service at Katz Drug Store.|
July 10 - Criminal charges are filed against Maurice Katz.
August and September - Katz Drug Store picketed.
Sit-ins occur at the lunch counter.
October 6 - Maurice Katz is convicted.
November 11 - Clifford Nixon, operator of Nixon's Luncheonette, is acquitted on charges of refusing to serve African-Americans.
November 23 - Katz' motion for new trial denied and he is fined $50. Katz appeals to the Iowa Supreme Court.
"Committee to End Jim Crow at Katz" founded.
September 16 - jury denies damages in civil case against Nixon's Luncheonette.
October 14 - Griffin's civil case goes to trial and she wins $1.00. Iowa Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the criminal case, State v. Katz.
November - Katz denies service to Edna Griffin, John Bibbs, Arthur Bryant, Barbara Williams, Kenneth Walker, Leonard Hudson, and Gordon Jasper, who file civil lawsuits.
December 2 - Katz settles lawsuits for $1,000, and promises to end discriminatory practices.
December 13 - Iowa Supreme Court upholds the conviction in State v. Katz.
|1954||U.S. Supreme Court declares that the "separate but equal" doctrine is unconstitutional. Brown v. Bd. of Education.|
|1955||December - Rosa Parks of Montgomery, AL, refuses to give up her seat on a bus to a white man, triggering a 13 month bus boycott which eventually integrated the transportation system.|
|1960||College students in Nashville, TN, begin lunch counter sit-ins. Movement spreads to other cities.|
August 28 - the March on Washington takes place, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivers his "I have a Dream" speech. Edna Griffin leads the Iowa Delegation to the March.
Griffin organizes the Des Moines Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
|1964||July 2 - President Lyndon Johnson signs into law the 1964 Civil Rights Act.|
March - the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) leads a march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, to secure voting rights.
The Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 is passed and signed into law by Governor Harold Hughes.
|1968||April 4 - assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, TN.|
At this site where Katz Drug Store once stood, on July 7, 1948, at 3:45 p.m., Edna Griffin, her infant daughter Phyllis, John Bibbs, and Leonard Hudson entered the store and ordered ice cream at the lunch counter. The manager refused to serve them, saying, "It is the policy of our store that we don't serve colored."
Outraged members of the community responded with sit-ins and picketing directed at Katz and other local lunch counters refusing to serve patrons based on their race.
The Polk County Attorney's Office prosecuted the Katz manager under Iowa's only civil rights law, a criminal statute prohibiting discrimination in public accommodations. The manager was found guilty by a jury and fined $50. The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 1949.
One week before the Supreme Court ruling, civil rights attorneys Charles P. Howard and Henry T. McKnight, who was head of the local NAACP Legal Redress Committee, negotiated an agreement which successfully ended Katz's discriminatory practices.
These events foreshadowed the modern civil rights movement. Through non-violent protest and legal action in the courts, the movement ended tolerance of open discrimination in our country and resulted in policies and laws prohibiting racial discrimination. It may truly be said that those who opposed the discriminatory denial of service at Katz led the way. This plaque is dedicated to those citizens.