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

Pendleton, Clarence M., Jr.

(born: 1930  -  died: 1988) 

Born in Louisville, KY, and raised in Washington, D.C., Pendleton was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the first African American chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (1981-1988). Pendleton replaced Arthur S. Flemming, who was dismissed by President Reagan. Pendleton had been the director of the San Diego Urban League and was 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 had been 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, and the team won 10 championships in 11 years. For more see Current Biography (1984); and J. McQuiston, "Clarence M. Pendleton, 57, dies, Head of Civil Rights Commission," The New York Times, 06/06/1988, p. A1.


Cited in this Entry

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

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Pendleton, Clarence M., Jr.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed January 27, 2021,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:29