Clarence Pendleton, a controversial politician


Clarence M.
Pendleton
Date: 
Mon, 1930-11-10

On this date in 1930, Clarence Pendleton, Jr., was born. He was an African American politician.

Born in Louisville, KY, Clarence McClane Pendleton was raised in Washington D.C., attended Dunbar High School. He received a B.S. from Howard University in 1954, and a masters degree in 1961 while coaching swimming, football, rowing, and baseball.

He served in the medical unit of the U.S. Army for three years. From 1968 to 1972, Pendleton was employed with the Baltimore Model Cities Program, director of the Urban Affairs Department of the National Recreation and Parks Association, and head of the San Diego Model Cities Program and that city's Urban League.

In 1980, his philosophy changed: He began to feel that African American reliance on government programs were trapping them in a cycle of dependence and welfare handouts. Pendleton believed that it was in African Americans' better interest to build strong relations with the expanding private sector and give up the more familiar ties with liberal bureaucrats and philosophies. To this end, he abandoned his self-described "bleeding-heart liberalism."

Pendleton went to work in support of Reagan's bid for the presidency. In 1981, President Reagan appointed him as the first black chairman of the Civil Rights Commission. As its chairman, Pendleton was an outspoken proponent of the Administration's "color-blind" philosophy on civil rights. From the time of his appointment he was at the center of a political storm, opposing busing for racial balance, and opposing affirmative action to achieve desegregation.

Clarence Pendleton died suddenly of a heart attack on June 5, 1988 while exercising at a health club. He was 57.

Reference:
Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History
Volume 1, ISBN #0-02-897345-3, Pg 175
Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, Cornel West

To become a Political Scientist

Person / name: 

Pendleton, Clarence