Reuben Anderson grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1940s and 50s. In this episode, he recalls being inspired to become a civil rights attorney at a young age. When Anderson graduated from Ole’ Miss Law School, there were only a few African American attorneys in Mississippi. He remembers his first job working on school desegregation cases.
In 1985, Rueben Anderson became the first African American to serve on the Mississippi Supreme Court. He discusses his initial reluctance and the comradery he shared with his fellow justices. Justice Anderson served for two terms on the Mississippi Supreme Court. He explains why being first is not as important as the opportunities Black attorneys enjoy today.
Alyce Clarke was the first African American female elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives. In this episode, Clarke shares her memories of a groundbreaking career in state politics.
She remembers being encouraged to run for political office by her family and friends in 1984. Clarke began her first term in the Mississippi House of Representatives on March 24, 1985. She recalls the swearing-in ceremony and a misunderstanding about her first committee assignment.
As one of the Mississippi House of Representatives’ longest serving members, Clarke has authored several key pieces of legislation. She discusses two of her proudest achievements.
Since 1976, the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus has promoted the needs of their constituents. Clark discusses how they worked to change the rules regarding leadership positions.