From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Clark, John W.

(born: 1871  -  died: 1930) In 1897, John W. Clark became the first African American graduate from the University of Kansas School of Law. The John W. and Gertrude Clark Scholarship was initially created at the school in 1967 as the John W. Clark Scholarship.

John W. Clark also served in the Spanish-American War as a 2nd Lieutenant in Company B of the 23rd Kansas Volunteer Infantry.

Clark was born in Lexington, KY around 1871, the son of John and Amanda Breckinridge Clark. The family is not listed in the 1875 Kansas Census, but by 1880, they were living in Lawrence, KS, according to the U.S. Census.

After earning his law degree in 1897, Clark was a partner in the law office of McWilliams and Clark (as of 1900) [source: p. 72 in Chittendens Lawrence City Directory, Volume V, 1900-1]. Ten years later, he was a lawyer and judge in Lawrence. In 1930 Clark and Henderson Graham, Sr. were the remaining lawyers in Kansas who were Kentucky natives; Clark died later that year.

Clark is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence, KS. He was the husband of Gertrude Clark.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Clark, John W.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed April 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-08-20 06:40:08