Mark Smith to be featured at historical society’s ‘Third Thursday’

State representative Mark Smith (D-Marshalltown) is a man who wears many hats.

He currently serves residents in House District 71 and when not in Des Moines, is the executive director of the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit of Central Iowa in Marshalltown.

He is a husband, parent, active in his church and an avid bicyclist.

At 6:30 p.m., on Nov. 21, Smith will be wearing his historian hat when he speaks before the Historical Society of Marshall County and guests at its monthly “Third Thursday” program.

The presentation is open to the public and is free-of-charge.

Fittingly, Smith’s presentation “Iowa and the Rights of the People” will be made in the main courtroom of the Marshall County Courthouse, 1 E. Main St.

He will discuss three civil rights cases, “In the Matter of Ralph,” “Clark v. the Directors” and “Coger v. Northwest Union Packet Co.”

Iowa was a territory when “In the Matter of Ralph” was adjudicated and the other two after Iowa attained statehood in 1848.

The three cases were legally and historically significant, as Iowa Territorial and Iowa judges made far-reaching legal decisions years and in two, decades ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Central to Smith’s presentation will be a review and analysis of slavery in the United States and Iowa’s attitude toward the practice.

Smith said he was invited after Tom Swartz, HSMC president, saw his program.

“I’ve had an interest in history and politics for many years and the cases were precedent setting,” Smith said.

“We are looking forward to Mark’s presentation,” said Jay Carollo, HSMC board member. “The Third Thursday programs have been well attended – and we are expecting a good crowd Nov. 21.”

The courthouse elevators will be operational and parking is available on surrounding streets and in the “horseshoe” area adjoining the courthouse on the south-side, bordering Church Street.