Gussie Clark

March 5, 1932 - October 13, 2013—Note this profile is still being updated.
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Born in Alabama, Augusta “Gussie” Clark moved to Philadelphia after graduating from West Virginia State College to work as an assistant for now-defunct Color magazine, a periodical modeled after Life magazine and aimed at an African-American readership. After the magazine folded she went on to achieve multiple degrees, a master’s in library science at Drexel University and a law degree from Temple University at the age of 39. In 1979, she was elected to Philadelphia City Council becoming only the second Black woman elected to City Council. Clark served consecutive terms from 1980-2000, served for a little over twenty years. She retired from the City Council in 2000 after serving as Democratic councilwoman-at-large. Clark was known as a proponent of public education, serving as chair of the Council’s Education Committee for twelve years, and an advocate for the revitalization of rundown neighborhoods. During her tenure, she was a formative mentor for other community leaders and an inspiration for women in politics. When Clark passed away in 2013, the American Library Association passed a memorial resolution honoring the councilwoman for her devotion to librarianship and the labors she undertook on behalf of the disenfranchised and vulnerable throughout her political career.


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