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In the second of a three-part On Iowa Podcast series exploring Black history in University of Iowa athletics, The Gazette's Leah Vann introduces listeners to the university's first Black woman letterwinner: Marcella Benson-Quaziena.
Benson-Quaziena played basketball, field hockey and fencing at Iowa.
She graduated with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education, then a Master's in sports administration. She's now a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., with two more Master's degrees in social work and organizational development and a Ph.D. in human and organizational development.
In the podcast, Benson-Quaziena discusses her background, why she went to Iowa, the discrimination she faced, her involvement with the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, her career in teaching and how the Black Lives Matter movement fits into her curriculum.
After this podcast was recorded, it was discovered that Emma Williams (now Squires) was actually the first Black woman athlete at Iowa, having played basketball and softball at Iowa from 1972-1974. She missed the cutoff when Iowa women's athletics were considered intercollegiate and therefore wasn't credited as a varsity letterwinner. Both women have a place in Hawkeye history.
(Episode 1: Remembering the 3 Black pioneers of Iowa football)