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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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SAWYER, Mary R. (McCook, Nebraska, Apr. 14, 1944--Dubuque, IA, May 20, 2015) A life-long social justice activist, Mary's involvement in the civil rights movement began as a college student. After many years of human relations and human rights work, in 1986 she began a 25-year career teaching religious studies at Iowa State University in Ames, where she co-founded the African American Studies Program, created a Peace and Justice Internship option, and was a voice for the empowerment of women.

As a scholar-activist, with advanced degrees from Howard University Divinity School (M.A.) and Duke University (Ph.D.), she authored and co-edited three books and numerous articles on African American religion and politics.



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