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Lost in History: Alexander Clark

Lost in History: Alexander Clark

In the 1860s, shortly after the Civil War, a black teenager from Muscatine, Iowa tried to enroll in the local high school. She was denied admission because of her color. Her father sued and won. And when the school board challenged the decision in the Iowa Supreme Court, he won again. Because of those actions, Iowa's schools were desegregated more than 85 years before the rest of the nation officially outlawed school segregation. Despite his historic court victory, his prominent anti-slavery role, his recruitment of black soldiers for the Union side in the Civil War and his appointment as the U.S. ambassador to Liberia, Alexander Clark has been all but lost from history. After a chance occurrence 35 years ago, another Muscatine man, a white man, launched a campaign to restore Clark's place in history. The cause came to consume his life. [27 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Program Description: In the 1860s, shortly after the Civil War, a black teenager from Muscatine, Iowa tried to enroll in the local high school. She was denied admission because of her color. Her father sued and won. And when the school board challenged the decision in the Iowa Supreme Court, he won again. Because of those actions, Iowa's schools were desegregated more than 85 years before the rest of the nation officially outlawed school segregation. Despite his historic court victory, his prominent anti-slavery role, his recruitment of black soldiers for the Union side in the Civil War and his appointment as the U.S. ambassador to Liberia, Alexander Clark has been all but lost from history. After a chance occurrence 35 years ago, another Muscatine man, a white man, launched a campaign to restore Clark's place in history. The cause came to consume his life.

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