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Cedar Rapids Historic Markers

The Cedar Rapids Historic Markers project is a collaborative community history project that seeks to highlight notable historic sites throughout the city.
1898 directory photo of the building

In the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, factories stood at this site—including Liddle & Carter, where workers produced pants, shirts, and overalls. At that time, factory jobs were only open to whites. In 1897, Emma Oliphant and six other African American women challenged that discrimination. Though a manager hired them through written correspondence, when the women reported for work, they were treated poorly and turned away. Oliphant sued, winning damages; still, the black women were not allowed to work at the factory. Although this effort was unsuccessful, it exemplifies how African Americans have long challenged discrimination through legal and everyday actions.

Download this plaque (PDF format)
© 2022  Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 101 First Street SE

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