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

Pendleton, Clarence McClane, Jr.

(born: November 10, 1930  -  died: June 5, 1988) 

Born in Louisville, KY and raised in Washington, D.C., Clarence Pendleton, Jr. was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the first African American chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1981-1988). He replaced Arthur S. Flemming, who was dismissed by President Reagan.

Pendleton had been the director of the San Diego Urban League and later an opponent of school busing and affirmative action. He changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in 1980. Over the next eight years he lived part time in Washington, D.C. and part time in San Diego, where he died suddenly in 1988.

His father was the first swimming coach at Howard University, where Pendleton received his B.S. and his Master's degree in education. He later took over as the swimming coach at Howard, guiding the team to 10 championships in 11 years.

Clarence M. Pendleton, Jr. was the son of Clarence Sr. and Edna M. Ramsaur Pendleton. For more see Current Biography (1984); "Pendleton, Clarence M., Jr." at; and J. McQuiston, "Clarence M. Pendleton, 57, dies, Head of Civil Rights Commission," The New York Times, 6/6/1988, p. A1.

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NKAA Source: Current biography (annual)
NKAA Source: The New York times (newspaper)

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“Pendleton, Clarence McClane, Jr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 15, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-12-01 18:28:01