Postville Project Oral Histories: Community Voices

Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project Recording with Steve Brackett


Steve Brackett



Download Audio File (mp3) (33.1 MB)

Download Transcript (195 KB)


Click image to play interview:

Interview Conducted by RaeAnn Swanson-Evans

Interview Transcribed by RaeAnn Swanson-Evans


Brackett, Steve--Interviews; Postville Immigration Raid, Postville, Iowa, 2008; Church and social problems;


Oral History

Interview Description

Stephen Brackett came to Postville in 2005 to serve as the Pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church. In the interview Pastor Brackett discusses his experiences living and working in Postville as the community adapted to demographic changes and dealt with the aftermath of the May 2008 ICE immigration raid at Agriprocessors. In Postville, churches are centers for social and spiritual interaction, so when the raid threw the town into turmoil, community and church leaders led the way in relief efforts. Pastor Brackett recounts how many community members, himself included, responded to the immigration raid by marching in Postville as well as Waterloo. Also discussed in the interview are the challenges and joys of serving a rural congregation, the evolution of the food pantry in town, and more recent developments in Postville, namely the influx of Somali refugees.

Interview Number


Interview Date


File Format



Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | United States History

Project Title

Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project

Project Description

The Community Voices: Postville Oral History Project sought to capture the remembered past of those who experienced the “Postville story,” that is, the social context leading up to, including, and following the ICE immigration raid that occurred on May 12th, 2008. The Interviews available here showcase the unique memories of 16 interviewees living and working in or near Postville. The interviews will leave listeners with a sense of how a small town in rural Iowa has dealt with and continues to deal with vast demographic change and the aftermath of an ICE raid that threw Postville into the national conversation on immigration reform.


Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa


©2014 The Postville Project

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



Community Voices: The Postville Oral History Project Recording with Steve Brackett


Audio File Location