Clark’s work worthy of state’s, our praise

Published 7:39 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Robert Clark from Holmes County made history 50 years ago, and was celebrated Wednesday by friends and colleagues.

Clark was the state’s first black legislator since Reconstruction. He was elected to the House in 1967. His election followed the federal Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act.

Clark was ostracized by white colleagues when he took office, but he gained a leadership role after more than a decade, The Associated Press reported.

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He went on to chair the House Education Committee and he helped with education reform in the 80s. He was eventually elected to the speaker pro tempore position by fellow lawmakers before retiring in 2004. 

Gov. Phil Bryant was on hand to celebrate Clark’s pioneering election Wednesday.

“Proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rep. Clark’s election. A good man who continues to make our state better,” Bryant wrote.

No one would mistake the state of Mississippi for being a pioneer when it comes to race relations, but there are many from Mississippi who are/were.

Clark is one of them. His many firsts are worth  honoring and memorializing. Because of people like Clark, Mississippi has come a long way since the ugly, violent days of the past.

We certainly still have a long way to go, but Clark helped pushed the state forward. We should all find that worthy of our praise.