Department of Tourism
Ky. Chautauqua Presents Anna Mac Clarke for Black History Month at Greenbo State Park
GREENUP, Ky. -- Anna Mac Clarke (1919-1944) didn’t put up with second-class treatment from anybody, including the U.S. Army. By insisting on fair treatment and becoming the first black Woman’s Army Corps officer to command a white unit, the young Kentucky native struck a powerful blow for racial equality in the military.
A Kentucky Chautauqua presentation set for 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park in Greenup will bring Clarke’s story to life and help mark February as Black History Month.
Born and raised in Lawrenceburg, Ky., Clarke graduated from Kentucky State College (now University) in Frankfort in 1941 with a degree in sociology and economics. Back home in Lawrenceburg, her degree was useless, as only domestic jobs were available. She left for New York and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps.
Clarke reported to Ft. Des Moines, Iowa for officer training. She was the only black graduate in her class. Arriving for duty at Douglas Army Airfield in Arizona, Clarke made history by assuming command of an all white unit.
She then made national news by protesting segregated seating in the base theater. After the base commander heard her arguments, he issued an order banning segregation on the base. A month later Anna Mac Clarke died of a rupture appendix. She was only 24, but in her short life she had made a difference.
In the Kentucky Chautauqua presentation, Anna Mac Clarke is portrayed by Haley S. Bowling, who grew up in Jackson County. Bowling, who has a strong interest in research and historic reenactment, is a graduate of Union College in Barbourville, Ky.
Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of the Kentucky Humanities Council, Inc. with statewide support from the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels and regional funding from Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America, Inc., People’s Bank & Trust Company of Hazard, National City banks in Lexington and London, the Brown-Forman Corp., and Union College Barbourville.
Greenbo Lake State Resort Park has a lodge, the Anglers Cove restaurant, camping facilities, a gift shop and hiking trails. For more information or for room reservations, phone 1-800-325-0083. The resort is on Ky. 1711, 4 miles west of Ky. 1, and 18 miles north of I-64 from the Grayson exit in northeastern Kentucky.
The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 53 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. Each year, Kentucky parks draw 7 million visitors and contribute $317 million to the economy. For more information on Kentucky parks, visit our Web site at http://www.parks.ky.gov.