Fraser, James Wilbur (“Jimmy”)  (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1924)

Headshot of James Wilbur Fraser

James Wilbur (“Jimmy”) Fraser was born 6 March 1901 in South Carolina to James W. Fraser, Sr., a house contractor,  and Catherine Gourdine Fraser. A class of 1924 electrical engineering major, Fraser was an avid boxer at Iowa State College and, by October 1923, he was President of the Alpha-Nu Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha (Tutt, 1923). Additionally, according to J. R. Otis, in Chronicles of Faith, he was an original member of the Interstate Club at 226 ½ Main Street, where he lived for three years (1991). 

Jimmy Fraser married Gertrude Heins in 1934. After the birth of their first son, also named James, Fraser became known as James W. Fraser, Sr., as his son took on the Jr. title. In 1935, Jimmy attended the banquet held for Iowa State Alumni at the inauguration of Frederick D. Patterson as President of Tuskegee. At that time, Fraser was reported to be the owner of Fraser Auto Repair Shop in Charleston, South Carolina.

Fraser died on 16 July 1991 in Hurt, Virginia, and is buried in the Gretna Burial Park in Gretna, Virginia.


Photo Credit: Iowa State University. (1924). 1924 Bomb, p. 89. Retrieved from

Otis, J. R. “Little-known facts about F.D. Patterson.” (1991). In Frederick D. Patterson, Chronicles of faith: The autobiography of Frederick D. Patterson. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, pp. 187-89.

Tutt, Harold L. (1923, Oct.). Alpha Nu chapter, Des Moines, Iowa. The Sphinx, 9(4), p. 3. ISSUU. Retrieved from

Stubblefield, Malcolm J.  (Two-Year Agriculture Certificate, 1924)

Headshot of Malcolm Stubblefield

Malcolm Jerome Stubblefield was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on 10 May 1898. His parents were Clarence and Camelia Stubblefield. He was briefly enlisted in the U.S. Military, enlisting in the Army from 28 October 1918 to 13 December 1918. He went to Iowa State College for two years, leaving in 1924. He then moved to New York City, where he worked for the New York Botanical Garden. He was well known for his public garden displays and his skills as a landscape gardener were highly praised. He died on 2 November 1980.

Whibby, Thomas Wiggins (Attended ISC Fall 1924-Winter 1925)

Headshot of Thomas Wiggins Whibby

Thomas Wiggins Whibby, one of five children, was born 4 February 1892 to Kansas City, MO, to Thomas H. Whibby, a teamster, and Sarah Margaret Wiggins Whibby. Before studying at Iowa State, Thomas was self-employed in Kansas City as a transfer driver, according to his WWI draft card. In 1920, he was employed as a butcher at a packing house there.

He entered ISC in the mid-1920s, and his stay at the school was brief: fall 1924 to winter 1925. By the time of the 1925 Iowa Census, Whibby was rooming with fellow ISC students Holloway Smith, the second African American football player at ISC; Benjamin Crutcher; and Harold Tutt at 2522 Chamberlain Street, the Ames home of Tutt’s grandmother, Louise Wynn, mother-in-law of the home’s owner, Arthur Marshall.

Whibby appears to have moved to Berkeley, California, after leaving Ames, as he is listed in “good standing” among members of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha there in October 1928 (“Roster of Alphas”). By 1930, he had moved to Detroit, where he had become Secretary of the Alpha Upsilon Chapter at the City College of Detroit by February 1930 (“Official,” 1930). Later that same year, The Sphinx reported that “Brother Whibby has been for some time a meat inspector for Uncle Sam” (Griffith, 1930). While others among the Alpha Upsilon Chapter were finding it difficult to stay enrolled in school during the Depression, Whibby was gainfully employed by the U.S.D.A. His employment by the U.S.D.A.’s Department of Animal Industry suggests that he studied Agriculture Sciences courses while at ISC.

Between 1930 and 1940, Thomas married Frieda M. Whibby, and by 1940, they had moved to New York City, where, the Federal Census indicates, he continued his employment as a meat inspector for the U.S.D.A. despite having completed only three years of his four-year college degree. That same job took him to Chicago, where he registered for the WWII draft in 1942 and was still working by the time of the 1950 Census.

Thomas Wiggins Whibby died in Port Charlotte, Florida, 22 Jul 1982 (Find a Grave, 2020).


Find a Grave, database and images. (2020, Apr. 10). Memorial page for Thomas Wiggins Whibby (1 Feb 1892–22 Jul 1982), Find a Grave Memorial ID 208924226. Retrieved from ( Maintained by Angelina Davis (contributor 47805424).

Griffith, Clifton H. (1930, Oct.). Alpha Upsilon finds its pledges promising. The Sphinx, vol. 16(4), p. 33. Retrieved from

Official Alpha Phi Alpha directory. (1930, Feb.). The Sphinx, vol. 16(1), n.p. Retrieved from

Roster of Alphas in good standing. (1928, October). The Sphinx, vol. 14(4), p, 21. ISSUU. Retrieved from

Banning, James Herman (left ISC in 1924)

Headshot of James Herman Banning

James Herman Banning, known as “Herman,” was born on 5 November 1899, in Canton, Oklahoma Territory, the last of four children born to Riley W. Banning, a farmer, and his wife Cora Woods Banning. After moving to Ames in 1919 to attend ISC, he studied Electrical Engineering. Like many of his Black college classmates, Banning worked while attending school and after leaving ISC in 1924 to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot; he operated the J. H. Banning Auto Repair Shop from 1922 to 1928. After catching the flying “bug” in 1920, Banning took flying lessons in Des Moines. He became “the first Black aviator to receive a federal pilot’s license and the first Black pilot to complete a transcontinental flight across the U.S.” (Ames History Museum).

During his time in college, Banning also lived for a number of semesters in what residents called “The Interstate Club,” an apartment at 226 1/2 Main Street in the Elliott Building. While living there, he met fellow Interstate Club resident Frederick D. Patterson (D.V.M. 1923, M.S. 1927). Patterson later wrote about seeing Banning fly when he lived in Iowa, the first time Patterson had seen a Black aviator. This inspiration, along with the likes of Black Aviator Bessie Coleman and others, encouraged Patterson to see the potential for a commercial aviation program at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), where he became president in 1935. This was the program that produced the famed Tuskegee Airmen of WWII.

Banning left Iowa in 1929 to take a job in Los Angeles, CA, teaching other African American would-be pilots as chief instructor at the newly opened Bessie Coleman Aero Club aviation school. While there he also purchased his biplane, christened “Miss Ames.” A few years later, from 18 September to 9 October 1932, Banning and co-pilot Thomas Cox Allen, completed a coast-to-coast flight from Los Angeles to New York City that secured for these so-called “Flying Hobos” the distinction of being the first African Americans to complete a transcontinental flight. (Moore).

Only a few months later, on 5 February 1933, Banning died in an air crash (aged 33), during an air show in San Diego, CA. As the biography of Banning on the Oklahoma Historical Society website notes, “Because of his color, this experienced pilot was not allowed to fly the plane in the air show. Instead, he had been only a passenger in a plane piloted by an aviation machinist mate second class from the San Diego Naval Air Station” (Moore). Banning is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA.

In fall 2022, the Ames City Council renamed the Ames Municipal Airport the James Herman Banning Ames Municipal Airport in recognition of Banning’s contributions to aviation history and his ties to the Ames community.

Photo courtesy of Philip Hart, University of Massachusetts, Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive, Ames Public Library. 


Ames History Museum. “Know History. Build a Better Future,” Ames History Museum,

Moore, Bill. “Banning, James Herman,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture,