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September 19, 2018, 10:00 AM - February 28, 2019, 5:00 PM @ Muscatine Art Center
The local history gallery currently features “Alexander Clark: Civil Rights Leader.” Alexander Clark is regarded as Muscatine’s most prominent black citizen, and one of the community’s most accomplished residents and a prominent Iowa civil rights leader. Clark is notable in Iowa history for other things, too. He sued the Muscatine school board on behalf of his daughter, Susan, in a landmark case that outlawed school segregation in Iowa. His son, Alexander Jr., became the first black graduate of the University of Iowa law school in 1879. Alexander Sr. became the second black graduate of the law school in 1884 at the age of 58. In August 1862, Clark sent a letter to Governor Kirkwood offering to raise companies of black troops to serve in one of Iowa’s white regiments (this was at a time when integrated troops were not allowed). By the summer of 1863, Alexander Clark and community leader George V. Black began recruiting for the 1st Regiment of Iowa African Infantry.
February 23, 2019, 8:00 PM @ Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company
If you love puppets but would prefer to see them in the company of other adults, while listening to music and stories and savoring delectable desserts, this is your event! Eulenspiegel elves will transform the Center into a softly lit bistro for the weekend. The evening will feature A Magical Winter’s Night, staged in the time-honored art of paper theatre, in which the characters evoke paper dolls come to life and the staging is a giant pop-up story book. The Bluestem Trio will delight with eclectic music, and, back by popular demand, mesmerizing storyteller Susan Short Gilbert will entertain us with the adventures of her Irish/Cherokee great grandmother. Rumor has it a puppet psychic, guided by human psychic Gretchen Little, just might make an appearance, and no dessert theatre evening would be complete without Laura Kittrell’s music. Last but not least, Eulenspiegel’s newest company member, Meera Gessner, will make her puppet debut!
February 24, 2019, 2:00 PM
Dedication of the Alexander Clark Room featuring remarks by Professor Adrien Wing of the University of Iowa College of Law. There will also be an exhibit of historic photos with commentary by Kent Sissel, preservationist and current owner of the Alexander G. Clark House. The event celebrates Alexander Clark Day (born Feb. 25, 1826) and the upcoming first anniversary of the Merrill Hotel and Conference Center. From the top-floor conference room named for Muscatine's famous 19th century resident, you can enjoy a birdseye view of his 1878 house.
Refreshments will follow the presentations.
February 25, 2019, 7:00 PM @ Muscatine Community College
Alexander Clark Lecture Series: The Legacy of Alexander Clark and Black Activism in Iowa
Presenter: Dwain Coleman, University of Iowa Teaching Assistant
Black people have lived in Iowa since before the organization of the territory. Even so, the first legislatures of Iowa enacted “black laws” and “exclusionary acts” to deny black people citizenship rights and restrict black migration. Black activists like Alexander Clark and many others fought back against these discriminatory laws by organizing state Colored Conventions, petitioning the state legislature, appealing to the courts, creating vibrant communities, and utilizing the political capital accrued through black military service. Through the efforts of Clark and many others, the state legislature repealed these discriminatory laws and awarded citizenship rights to black Iowans.
This event is made possible by the Alexander Clark Lecture Series Committee.
February 28, 2019, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM @ Muscatine Art Center
Presenter: Kent Sissel, resident preserver of the Alexander G. Clark House and founder of the Alexander G. Clark Foundation. This is the last day of the local history gallery feature, "Alexander Clark: Civil Rights Leader."(1-5 p.m.)