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On this date in 1930, Clarence Pendleton, Jr., was born. He was a Black politician.
Born in Louisville, KY, Clarence McClane Pendleton was raised in Washington, D.C., and attended Dunbar High School. He received a B.S. from Howard University in 1954 and a master's 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 black reliance on government programs was trapping them in a cycle of dependence and welfare handouts. Pendleton believed it was better for African Americans 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. 1981, President Reagan appointed him 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 his appointment, he was at the center of a political storm, opposing busing for racial balance and 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.