Author, educator and expert historian Paul Finkelman, Ph.D. will present the annual Alexander Clark Lecture at 6 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the Muscatine Community College Student Center, 152 Colorado St., Muscatine.

This free public lecture will also be livestreamed via Zoom at

Finkelman’s presentation, Alexander Clark: A Civil Rights Icon in the Mississippi Valley, will walk the audience through Clark’s life, the history of his family’s involvement in the fight for civil rights and what his actions and leadership can teach us today.

Iowa has a long history of supporting justice and equality, a tradition influenced by Clark. Finkelman describes him as one of the most important 19th Century Black leaders and a pioneer of civil rights. Clark challenged the system and his work, actions and legacy continue to have deep significance.

“If we want this country to live up to its claim that we are all created equal and entitled to the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then we have to know our history. We have to know about people like Alexander Clark and what he did,” Finkelman said.

The annual Alexander Clark Lecture is co-sponsored by the Alexander Clark Foundation, Stanley Center for Peace and Security, and the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.

Finkelman is the Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. He previously taught at Albany Law School, Duke Law School, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Tulsa, and was the Fulbright Research Chair in Human Rights and Social Justice at the University of Ottawa.

Finkelman is an expert in American and world slavery, constitutional law, civil liberties, religious liberty, African American history, American Jewish history, and more. He has edited and authored more than 50 books, and published hundreds of scholarly articles. His book Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court, explores how the 19th century Supreme Court dealt with slavery. His book Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson, examines how slavery affected the writing of the Constitution and the politics of the early national period.

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Alexander Clark's Legacy: Elevating His Story

February 16, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., Muscatine Art Center

Several projects are currently underway to introduce the Alexander Clark story to new audiences, demonstrate his national significance, and broaden understanding of Clark's leadership in his own time. Join author Rachelle Chase and local historian Dan Clark for a discussion on Alexander Clark.

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