Congressman Thompson, Governor Bryant, Speaker Gunn To Join Robert Clark for Program at Old Capitol
What:As part of its History Is Lunch series, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History will host a commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the historic election of Robert G. Clark to the Mississippi Legislature. The program is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. Co-sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council.
When:Wednesday, August 9, 12 noon
Where:Old Capitol Museum, 100 South State Street, Jackson
Robert G. Clarkbecame in 1967 the first African American to be elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives since Reconstruction. Served continuously until retiring in December 2003.
Bennie Thompson, U.S. Representative for Mississippi’s 2nd congressional district.
Governor Phil Bryant, who served with Robert Clark from 1996 to 2003 in the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Philip Gunn, Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives.
Fred Banks, former Mississippi Supreme Court justice; served with Robert Clark from 1976 to 1985.
Bryant Clark hasrepresented the 47th district in theMississippi House of Representatives; followed his father Robert Clark in that seat.
Alyce Clarke has represented the 69th district in the Mississippi House of Representatives since 1984; served with Clark until his retirement.
Edwin Perry was elected with Clark in 1967 to the Mississippi House of Representatives and served with him until 1999.
Katie Blount, director, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Cynthia Goodloe-Palmer, executive director, Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement
Pamela Junior, director,Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
In 1977 Clark became the first black committee chairman in the Mississippi House of Representatives, heading the Education Committee for ten years. Clark was committee chair when the legislature passed the Education Reform Act in 1982. The law strengthened school academic standards, created a new compulsory attendance law, and established kindergarten in school districts throughout the state.
In January 1992, Robert Clark was elected Speaker Pro Tempore of the Mississippi House of Representatives. He was re-elected to that position at the start of the 1996 and 2000 sessions. When he retired in December 2003, he was the longest-serving member in continuous House service. He was succeeded in office by his son Bryant Clark.
In 2004, Clark became the first African American to have a Mississippi state building named after him.