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Iowa Supreme Court Rules on Equal Access: Portrait of Alexander Clark, 1868

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Engraved portrait of Alexander Clark, Muscatine lawyer who initiated an Iowa Supreme Court case to allow his daughter to attend the white-only public school, and U.S. Ambassador to Liberia.
Courtesy of State Historical Society of Iowa (Document) / Robin, Augustus, Portrait of Alexander Clark: Engraving, New York: Date unknown (Image)


Iowa’s first constitution of 1846 required blacks to pay a $500 bond to enter the state and stopped them from voting, holding office, serving in the state militia, attending public schools and marrying whites. Alexander Clark participated in a campaign for voting rights in Iowa after the end of the Civil War. The campaign was successful and in 1868, Iowa became the first state outside of New England to grant African-American men the right to vote.

Transcript of an Excerpt from The Iowa Supreme Court Rules on Equal Access to Schools and Common Carriers

Source-Dependent Questions

  • According to the text, in 1846, what did the Iowa Constitution outlaw?
  • What did Alexander do for Susan and other African-American students across Iowa?

Citation Information 

Image: Robin, Augustus, "Portrait of Alexander Clark," Date Unknown. 
Document: Silag, Bill, Bridgford, Susan Koch & Hal Chase, Outside In: African-American History in Iowa, pg. 72-73, 2001. Courtesy of State Historical Society of Iowa