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Viola Gibson

Viola Gibson moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa as a child where she would go on to become a community leader in religious and human rights activities. She was a minister and founder of the Cedar Rapids chapter of the NAACP in 1942. Viola Gibson has many achievements but will be most remembered for her concern for people and her community.

Mrs. Gibson once told a reporter for the Cedar Rapids Gazette “I never did anything for recognition. I just did things because they needed doing.”

Viola Gibson died in 1989 at the age of 83. The “Yes I Can” award is handed out each year by the NAACP in her honor.

Viola Gibson Elementary School opened in 2002 as the first school to be named after an African-American and a woman.