# Alexander Clark



Where was Susie Clark's school?

This column by Daniel G. Clark about Alexander Clark (1826-1891) first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

August 24 was the first full day at SCJH—Susan Clark Junior High—and also the first day of the 2022-23 academic year at Muscatine High School, alma mater of Iowa’s first Black high school graduate.

Iowa’s 1857 constitution mandated public education for “all the youths of the State, without distinction of color,” but it took an Iowa Supreme Court ruling more than a decade later to end racial segregation. The 1868 case was named for that Muscatine student: Clark v. Board of School Directors.

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Whites and Blacks together?

This column by Daniel G. Clark about Alexander Clark (1826-1891) first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

“We never had race trouble here.” I hear this often. I call it the Nice Iowans fairytale.

Take this comment posted on the Muscatine Journal’s website recently: “Throughout all of lowa, Black children regularly attended school with their White neighbors at this time, and at all times in history. lowa has never had any such thing as ‘segregated’ schools—ever.”

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No picture of Susan?

This column by Daniel G. Clark about Alexander Clark (1826-1891) first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

“Look! They included Susan, and with a photo we haven’t seen!” my wife exclaimed while perusing a Sunday newspaper article about “17 Iowa women who changed the world.”

“Starting with this school year, the combined middle schools of Muscatine have a new name marking an old decision that changed lives for many, including a 12-year-old girl who didn’t want to stop learning: Susan Clark Junior High School.” (Des Moines Register, March 29, 2020)

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Dr. Pritchard's "colored" petition

This column by Daniel G. Clark about Alexander Clark (1826-1891) first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

Alexander Clark’s daughter entered history in 1867 as the 12-year-old Iowan turned away from her neighborhood school because of skin color. Her father sued Muscatine’s school board and won. In 2019 the modern successors named the Susan Clark Junior High School.

Susan was born December 6, 1854. Her father had been an equal-rights activist all her life.

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Rebecca the pioneer

This column by Daniel G. Clark about Alexander Clark (1826-1891) first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

The name of Susan Clark Junior High is meant to evoke a 12-year-old student and her father who sued a school board in 1867. Iowans celebrate the resulting state Supreme Court decision for ending separate-but-equal public education in our state.

That board’s modern successors voted in September 2019 to name Muscatine’s newly combined middle schools for the younger daughter of Iowa’s equal-rights champion.

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