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Potluck: The Only One

The Only One

by Mary Gottschalk


Being the only one can be a great experience. Or a painful one.

Jasmine Bailey, the lone female on Iowa City West High School’s wrestling team, has experienced it both ways. Sixteen-year-old Bailey, who dreams of competing in the Olympics, has eight varsity victories, all of them against males. But several were forfeits because her opponents refused to wrestle with her. “It is frustrating,” says Bailey, “to go through the intensive training and then be denied the opportunity to prove myself at a match.”

Kevin Sanders, a social worker in Iowa City, has a different perspective. Sanders, who joined the Masons because he was attracted to their role in community service, was elected the first black Worshipful Master of his Lodge in 2009. Only a few months later, he was appointed a Grand Lodge Officer of the statewide Grand Lodge. “I was overwhelmed and humbled by these honors,” says Sanders.  

Bailey and Sanders are two of the many black Iowans whose stories are featured in The Only One, an exhibit opening this month at the African American Museum (Cedar Rapids) and the Johnson County Historical Society (Coralville).

For information on opening dates and exhibit hours, visit


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