Iowa Juneteenth Observance

A Program of the Connect Foundation

The Iowa Juneteenth Observance in Des Moines symbolizes the African-American experience in the annals of United States history. Our purpose is to educate Iowans on Juneteenth history through cultural diversity activities that help to preserve the Iowa Juneteenth Observance african-american history experience for future generations.

The Iowa Juneteenth Observance respects the cultural diversity of Iowa and recognizes the importance of sharing the African-American experience in a manner that promotes a better understanding of, and appreciation for, strengthening the bonds within the larger community of freedom-loving people across this state.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said "We are prone to judge success by the index of our own salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity."

We are proud of our non-salaried dedicated staff of volunteers who are committed to buiding better communities by assisting with economic, social, and political development.

  • Community Appreciation Banquet
  • Governor's Proclamation Ceremony
  • Parade
  • Neighbors Day
  • Urban Scouting Project
                ......and much more!

2013-15 Iowa Juneteenth King & Queen

Walter and Donna (Douglas) Henderson


Below are several pictures taken last year of our current King & Queen. They are serving a 2-year term that expires in June of 2015. In addition to their other duties, the King & Queen are ambassadors for the Iowa Juneteenth Observance.

 1993-94    Paul and Doriss Wilson - Des Moines

 1994-96    Robert A. and Mabel Jackson - Des Moines

 1996-97    Harry and Dorithy Taylor - Des Moines

 1997-98    Orsel and Nellie Morrow - Des Moines

 1998-99    William (Sr.) and Venita Wells - Des Moines

 1999-'00   Robert and Hessie Jenkins - Des Moines

 2000-01    Peter and Frances Hawthorne - Des Moines

 2001-02    Edward and Barbara Robinson - Des Moines

 2002-03    Thomas and Oreatha Spears - Des Moines

 2003-04    Willie and Janie Zanders - Waterloo

 2004-05    Frank and Bernie Hogan - Des Moines

 2005-06    William and Edith Sharp - Des Moines

 2006-07    Robert (Sr.) and Geraldine Sharp - Des Moines

 2007-08    Robert L. (Sr.) and Rebecca King - Des Moines

 2008-09    Robert A. (Sr.) and Berniece Wright - Des Moines

 2009-10    Johnny E. (Jr.) and Barbara J. Long - West Des Moines

 2010-11    Alex and Vera Crawford - Des Moines

 2011-13    George and Marji Shade - Des Moines - Des Moines

 2013-15    Walter and Donna (Douglas) Henderson - Des Moines

From 1993 to 2011, with one exception, Kings & Queens served one-year terms begining in June. In 2011, Kings & Queens began serving two-year terms.

Tradition of Kings & Queens

This is What our "non-salaried" staff Are Doing


Iowa Juneteenth Observance African-american History