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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

MOSS, Ernestine

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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

MOSS, Ernestine. (Milwaukee, WI- ). Moss came to Dubuque in 1976 with the Iowa Department of Human services as a day care consultant/project manager for Jackson and Dubuque counties. As a project manager, Moss developed contracts with agencies that desired to sell a service to the State of Iowa. As a day care consultant, she assisted in the licensing of day care centers and preschools in 1996. (1)

In 1988 O'Neill, Ernestine Moss, Ruby SUTTON, Hazel O'NEAL and May Jaycox spoke to the curriculum committee of the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT. They urged that the district recruit and hire more black teachers and counselors and that more curriculum topics pertinent to blacks should be offered. They also advocated that current teachers be trained to do a better job of instructing about all cultures. (2) In years to come, this meeting led to many of the initiatives started by Thomas DETERMAN.

Moss succeeded Ralph Watkins in February 1990 as president of the Dubuque chapter of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE (N.A.A.C.P.). It was a particularly difficult time. Perhaps initiated by a proposal to encourage one hundred minority families to move to Dubuque at a time of high unemployment, the summer of 1991 saw five cross-burnings and vandalism. Moss, a Justice Department representative and members of the state NAACP met with city and state officials in October, 1991. (3) The meeting was deemed "more of a fact-finding meeting," according to Charles Azebeokhai, Dubuque human rights director. (2) The situation deteriorated at the end of November with rallies by the KU KLUX KLAN and counter-protests by Moss and NAACP supporters. (4)

At times controversial within the NAACP, Moss was able in 1993 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the DUBUQUE POLICE DEPARTMENT. The agreement called for the creation of a Community Advisory Panel to hear allegations of police misconduct, civil rights violations and discrimination. (5) In 1994 Moss praised the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT for marking, for the first time, the birthday of Martin Luther King by closing schools for the day. (6) In 1995 she was succeeded as president of the NAACP by Evelyn JACKSON. In spite of being out of office, Moss did not shy away from responding to a local police report claiming 44.4% of arrests were of blacks. "If you give more attention to a location...you are more prone to see activity in a place. Black people in a white society are more visible." (7)

Moss was president of the Dubuque branch of the N.A.A.C.P. when it received the Thalheimer Award, the highest honor a chapter can receive from the national organization. (8)

Moss was a founder and president from 1982 to 1984 of the Parent Teacher Association (P.T.A.) at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL and was state AIDS chairperson for the P.T.A. until April 1991. In 2010 Moss was elected to a second three-year term on the board of directors of HILLCREST FAMILY SERVICES. (9) As the membership chair of the local chapter of the NAACP, she celebrated in 2014 the increased membership of the group at the 26th annual Freedom Fund Banquet, a key fundraiser for the chapter during the year. (10)

                    We all are brothers and sisters and we all deserve the
                    same rights and privileges that God has given each and
                    every one of us, so love your brother like you love
                    yourself. (111)
                                      Ernestine Moss



1. Glindinning, Mary, "Parents Need to Conduct Research to Find Good Day Care," Telegraph Herald, November 10, 1996, p. 1

2. Nepper, Mark, "Multi-Cultural Studies," Telegraph Herald, February 19, 1988, p. 3

3. Bagsarian, Tom, "Meeting Gets Race Issue Out in Open," Telegraph Herald, October 31, 1991, p. 3

4. Bagsarian,Tom, "KKK Leader Attacks NAACP, Mayor, Plan," Telegraph Herald, December 1, 1991, p. 1

5. Krapfl, Mike, "Meeting Targets Local NAACP Chapter," Telegraph Herald, March 14, 1993, p. 1

6. "King Commemoration Sunday," Telegraph Herald, January 14, 1994, p. 3

7. Sweeney, Kathleen, "Report: Gang Members Increase Dubuque Drug Sales," Telegraph Herald, August 22, 1997, p. 2

8. Jerde, Lyn Hanson, "NAACP Chapter Honored," Telegraph Herald, June 22, 1993, p. 2

9. "People," Telegraph Herald, April 11, 2010, p. 23

10. Montgomery, Jeff, "'New Beginning' for Dubuque NAACP," Telegraph Herald, 2014, p. 13

11. Hogstrom, Erik, "King's Dream, Ideals, Persevere," Telegraph Herald, January 20, 2014, p. 3