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Clark Decision: Celebrating 150 Years of Iowa School Desegregation: Clark 150 Events

Clark 150 Brochure Cover Image

A variety of events celebrated the 150th anniversary of the 1868 landmark case, Clark v. Board of Directors, in which the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Susan Clark could not be denied admission to a public school based on her race. The decision declared "separate but equal" unconstitutional in Iowa 86 years before Brown v. Board of Education

The Clark v. Board of Directors precedent continues to be relevant today. The celebration of the decision provided an opportunity for rededication to the Iowa Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the law and also recognized Justice Chester C. Cole, author of the Clark decision and co-founder, former dean, and long-time faculty member of Drake Law School.

Brief descriptions of the Clark 150 events are listed below; see also the Drake press release on these events, and a PDF of the events brochure.

Sponsored by: Drake University, the Iowa Judicial Branch, The University of Iowa, Thurgood Marshall College Fund,
Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission, Drake University's Robert D. and Billie Ray Center, and the Des Moines NAACP.

Cole Hall Rededication
Tuesday, Sept. 25
Noon
Cole Hall front lawn, Drake University (moved inside to Cartwright Hall, Kerns Commons, due to inclement weather)

Cole Hall, the first building on campus dedicated to the instruction of law, was named after Justice Chester C. Cole, author of the Clark decision and co-founder of Drake Law School. The building was rededicated with a ceremony, the unveiling of a bust of Chester Cole, and an ice cream social.

Cole Hall rededication podcast,* featuring introductory remarks by Drake University President Marty Martin, a performance by the Drake choir, remarks by Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady, Drake Law School student and Public Service Scholar Brinet Rutherford, artist Jean-Marie Salem-Hartsuck, Drake University Professor Emeritus of Law David Walker, and the presentation of a Governor's proclamation in honor of the anniversary of the Clark decision read by Iowa State Senator Jack Whitver.

 

"The Iowa Constitution: An Enduring Testament to Equality"
Thursday, Sept. 27
Reception at 6 p.m.
Program at 7 p.m.
Hubbell Hall, Kent Campus Center, Simpson College

The event featured Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady, University of Iowa law professor Todd Pettys, and journalist and businessman Michael Gartner. Sponsored by the Iowa History Center at Simpson College.

 

* This podcast is the property of Drake Law School and may not be redistributed in any form to any person without express written consent.

Clark 150 Conference
Friday, Sept. 28
Noon-4 p.m.
Cartwright Hall, Drake University

Discussions covered the historic civil rights decisions of the Iowa Supreme Court, the continuing relevance of Clark, the challenges and consequences of racial disproportionality in the criminal justice system, and quality education today. Please see the conference schedule for a list of speakers and topics.

Conference luncheon podcast,* featuring Paul Finkelman, Gratz College President, with welcomes and introductions from Erin Lain, Drake University Associate Provost, Campus Equity & Inclusion and Associate Professor of Law, and David Walker, Drake University Professor Emeritus of Law.

 

 

Clark 150 Banquet
Friday, Sept. 28
Cocktail Reception at 5:15 p.m.
Banquet at 6 p.m.
Drake University, Parent's Hall/Olmsted

The banquet included a documentary short, keynote address by Johnny Taylor, Jr., and more. Drake President Marty Martin and Chief Justice Mark Cady provided remarks.

 

* This podcast is the property of Drake Law School and may not be redistributed in any form to any person without express written consent.

 

Event Photos

T-shirts commemorating the Clark sesquicentennial

T-shirts commemorating the Clark sesquicentennial

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