Iowans should know his name.
Iowa was the first state in the nation to desegregate its public schools in the year 1868. That was 86 years before Brown v Board of Education.
The man who was behind all that effort, was known as Alexander G. Clark from Muscatine, Iowa. Mr. Clark is arguably the most influential Black man who ever lived in the state of Iowa in the 19th century. In 1867, Mr. Clark sued the Muscatine school district after the school refused to admit his daughter Susan Clark to an all-white school in his neighborhood. He won that case at the district level; the Muscatine board of directors refused to accept the decision so the board appealed the case to the Iowa Supreme Court. Iowa's highest court upheld the lower court decision and sided with Mr. Clark.
That decision made Iowa the first state in the nation to desegregate its public schools. So, why has this man disappeared from our history books today?
Erick Nganyange, Mason City