Actor, Author HILL HARPER was born in Iowa City, Iowa on May 17, 1966.  He attended Brown University and received a BA then earned a MPA and JD from Harvard.


DANAI GURIRA who plays Machonne on The Walking Dead and Okoye the lead warrior on Black Panther was born in Grinnell, Iowa on February 14, 1978.


NIKOLE HANNAH JONES was born in Waterloo, Iowa on April 9, 1976.

1619 African American History  The New York Times

On July 27, 1979, comedian ROBIN THEDE was born in Spencer, Iowa. She grew up in Davenport, Iowa with  two younger sisters and her mother, Phyllis Thede, the first African American female to become an Iowa State representative.


In 2020, Simon Estes was enrolled into the Opera Hall of Fame in New York City. His autobiography was published in 1999 called Simon Estes: In His Own Voice.

According to The Historymakers, Renowned opera singer and educator Simon Estes was born on March 2, 1938, in Centerville, Iowa. Estes is the youngest of three siblings. Raised in a spiritually-centered family, Estes sang in his church choir as a young boy and throughout his young educational years.

Estes began his university career as a pre-med student in 1957 at the University of Iowa. In 1961, a voice teacher, Mr. Charles Kellis, heard Estes sing in one of the university choirs. Kellis introduced Estes to several classical recordings which led Estes to change his professional career path to singing. Upon graduating from the University of Iowa, Estes enrolled in the Juilliard School in 1964. . In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson invited Estes to sing at the White House.