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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 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 Through the efforts of Clark and many others, the state legislature repealed these discriminatory laws and awarded citizenship rights to black Iowans.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.