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Felton Grandison Clark

Biography: 

Felton Grandison Clark (1903-1970) was president of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from 1938 until 1969. Clark's father, Dr. Joseph S. Clark, founded Southern University in 1914 and preceded Clark as president of the university. Clark attended Southern and then completed his undergraduate work at Beloit College. He later received graduate degrees, including a doctoral degree, from Columbia University. For many years, Clark served on the advisory staff of the Journal of Negro Education. Clark's tenure as president of Southern included two incidents that attracted national attention. First, in March 1960, a small group of Southern University students participated in sit-in protests at several lunch counters in Baton Rouge; a much larger group of Southern University students, estimated at the time to number 1,000 students, participated in a demonstration on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol. Clark, reportedly bowing to pressure from Governor Earl Long, expelled eighteen of the students who participated in the protests. Hundreds of other students withdrew from the university as a result. Second, in January 1962, Clark temporarily closed the university to combat race-related student demonstrations.

Image courtesy of: © The Archives and Manuscripts Department/John B. Cade Library/Southern University and A&M College/Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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