African Americans were enrolled at the University of Iowa as far back as the 1870s. But the Black presence on campus was very limited until the 1960s.
The University of Iowa recently held a five-day event on campus on the Black experience at the university. Entitled, “Iowa and Invisible Man: Making Blackness Visible,” the program included a theater production of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, panel discussions, exhibits, and performances.
One panel included some of earliest Black athletes on the University of Iowa campus. Here is a video of Orville Townsend, a Black athlete who enrolled at the University of Iowa in 1962, discussing his experiences at the university.