At its December graduation ceremonies, Michigan State University will honor former Speaker of the House Pro Tem Robert G. Clark Jr., who broke down the walls of race at the Mississippi Legislature.

On Friday, the 86-year-old civil rights pioneer and one-time schoolteacher will receive an honorary doctorate of laws.

David Sansing, professor emeritus of history at the University of Mississippi, credited Clark with playing a key role in bringing changes in the Magnolia State.

“He brought a calming but decisive attitude toward race relations in Mississippi,” he said. “He knew things weren’t right, but he went about getting them right in the right way.”

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