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The new 1619 Freedom School in Waterloo, Iowa, is an after-school literacy program inspired by the Freedom Schools of the 1960s civil-rights movement.

Founder Nikole Hannah-Jones sees the long struggle of Waterloo’s Black community for capital and support echoed in many other places. But now, a cadre of Black community leaders have raised funds from around the country for efforts — including the 1619 Freedom School — to make Waterloo more equitable.

“We are at a very pivotal moment,” said Hannah-Jones, a Waterloo native and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.

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