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Morris, Arlene Roberts (1926-2016)



  • Existence: 1926 - 2016


Arlene J. Roberts Morris was born on April 7, 1926 and grew up in Moline, Illinois. While a college student, Morris appeared on the cover of the first issue of Eyes magazine, an early publication relating to African-American life and culture, in 1946. She also served on its staff.

Morris graduated from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa) in 1946. Arlene Roberts married attorney James B. Morris, Jr., in 1948. James Morris was the son of James Morris, Sr., a long-time publisher of the Iowa State Bystander, an African-American newspaper. Arlene Morris and her husband settled in Des Moines and had three sons, James III (Brad), William, and Robert.

From 1960 to 1967 Morris participated on the Know Your Neighbor Panel. The panel traveled around Iowa, as well as to several other states and Washington D.C., speaking about tolerance among races and religions. It consisted of women from different racial backgrounds, African-American, Japanese-American, and Caucasian as well as women of different religious backgrounds, Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish.

In 1967, Arlene Morris earned an M.A. in psychology from Drake University in Des Moines. She worked as a clinical psychologist at Broadlawns Medical Center from 1967 to 1991. She was the first African-American woman psychologist to be licensed by the Iowa State Board of Psychology. During the 1980s, Morris served on the Iowa Advisory Committee of the United States Civil Rights Commission for more than three years. Arlene Morris passed away in 2016.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Arlene Morris papers

Identifier: IWA0276

Clinical psychologist and University of Iowa alumna who was a member of the Des Moines Know Your Neighbor panel.

Dates: 1946-1996

Lillian Moore Scales papers

Identifier: IWA0292

Estherville, Iowa-born homemaker and teacher who was active in literary, political, and religious groups in Des Moines.

Dates: 1938-1991

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1931-1940 1
1941-1950 1
1951-1960 1
African American business enterprises 1
African Americans 1