JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – The man who broke the color barrier in the Mississippi Legislature is being honored by his alma mater in Michigan.
Former state Rep. Robert Clark, now 86, is receiving an honorary law degree Friday at Michigan State University.
Clark earned a master’s degree in administration and education services from Michigan State before returning to Mississippi and winning a seat in the state House in 1967.
The Democrat from Holmes County was the first black person elected to the Mississippi Legislature since Reconstruction. He served 36 years and chose not to seek re-election in 2003.
Clark chaired the House Education Committee when the Legislature passed the Education Reform Act of 1982. His colleagues in the 122-member House elected him speaker pro tempore, the second-highest leadership post, in 1992, 1996 and 2000.