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Clarence Irving, Sr.

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Information about Clarence Irving, Sr.

Profile image of Clarence Irving, Sr.

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Cultural Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Beets
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Rocky Mountains
Favorite Quote:
I've Always Wanted To Leave Something On This Earth The Way Somethin' Was Left For Me.

Birthplace

Born:
8/21/1924
Birth Location:
Prince George County, Virginia

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Cultural Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Beets
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Rocky Mountains
Favorite Quote:
I've Always Wanted To Leave Something On This Earth The Way Somethin' Was Left For Me.

Birthplace

Born:
8/21/1924
Birth Location:
Prince George County
See how Clarence Irving, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Cultural activist Clarence L. Irving, Sr. was born on August 21, 1924 in Prince George County, Virginia. His father, Paul Irving, was a farmer; his mother, Elizabeth Claiborne, a housewife. After attending Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School and Randall, Jr. High School in Washington, D.C., Irving moved to New York City where he graduated from the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard in 1952 and Brooklyn Technical Evening School in 1960.

From 1944 to 1953, Irving worked mechanist at the U.S. Naval Yard. In April of 1946, he organized his first baseball team in Brooklyn, New York. Then, in 1949, Irving’s team, the Falcons, became the undefeated championship team in the Betsy Hyde Park Baseball League Junior Division. He began working for Con Edison in 1953 as an electrical planner in the electrical power plant. Irving continued coaching youth baseball and went on to organize the Bisons, which by 1955 became very successful in the Brooklyn Kiwanis League, winning seven championship seasons in three divisions. On September 9, 1955, the Bisons won the New York State Kiwanis Baseball Senior Division Championship at Abner Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, New York, making it the first time a baseball team with an African American manager and coach played on the field. In 1956, Irving retired from managing youth baseball teams and developed the Bison Athletic Club where he served as a mentor.

In 1972, Irving conceived the idea of commemorating African American Women on U.S. postage stamps. Two years later, the U.S. Postal Service created a new series of stamps commemorating African Americans, “The Black Heritage U.S.A. Series.” Then, in 1984, Irving founded the Black American Heritage Foundation (BAHF) to document, preserve, and disseminate information about the accomplishments of African Americans. He also founded the Music History Archive in 1989, which serves as a repository for many original scores, early recordings, instruments, costumes, photographs, sheet music, and other artifacts related to musicians.

Irving holds the sole distinction of being honored by three elected women borough presidents of New York City: the Honorable Claire Shilman of Queens; the Honorable Helen M. Marshall of Queens; and the Honorable C. Virginia Fields of Manhattan. In 1996, New York Governor George E. Pataki, along with New York Senator Alton R. Waldon and New York City Assemblywoman Barbara Clark, named April 8th “Clarence L. Irving, Sr. Day.” He received the 1999 Carter G. Woodson Award and the 2000 Humanitarian Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives honored Irving by renaming the U.S. Postal Service Office in Jamaica, New York the “Clarence L. Irving, Sr. Post Office Building.”

Irving passed away in March of 2014 at the age of 90.

Clarence L. Irving, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 11, 2013.

See how Clarence Irving, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clarence Irving, Sr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his mother's ancestry, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his mother's ancestry, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Describes his mother's education, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers his early guidance from Carter G. Woodson
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his mother's education, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes Benjamin A. Quarles' perspective on selfishness
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers his sister's elopement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his parents' relationship
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. lists his siblings, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clarence Irving, Sr. lists his siblings, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls his early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers the guests in his family's household
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls his parents' emphasis on education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his early interest in engineering
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers the Great Depression
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his father and sister's relationship
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls his childhood mischief
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers joining his sister's household in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers living in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes the influence of Carter G. Woodson, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes the influence of Carter G. Woodson, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers meeting Carter G. Woodson
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes Carter G. Woodson's emphasis on reading
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his decision to become a machinist, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his decision to become a machinist, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers his early interest in Negro League baseball
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers playing for the Baltimore Black Sox
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers playing for the Baltimore Black Sox
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his time as a nightclub singer
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers his exemption from World War II
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers his decision to form a youth baseball team
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his youth baseball team's first season
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers the discrimination faced by Jackie Robinson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the influence of Jackie Robinson
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls his decision to continue as a youth baseball coach
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers his changes to the Bisons baseball team
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls the Bisons' baseball game in Peekskill, New York
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers winning the state championship, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers winning the state championship, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the name of the Bisons' baseball team
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers Operation Elevation
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes the members of the Bisons baseball team
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about professional baseball players
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his reason for participating in The HistoryMakers project
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls studying to become an electrician
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the disregard for history in the engineering profession, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the disregard for history in the engineering profession, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the problem of police coercion
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers developing community programs in Brooklyn, New York
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the Boys Choir of Harlem
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls joining the Queens Bicentennial Committee
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes his experiences of discrimination on the Queens Bicentennial Committee
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls his proposal for a black history stamp
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the Black Heritage Series of postage stamps
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the Bisons Bicentennial Committee
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his interest in music history
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers his record shop in New York City
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls the establishment of the York College-Black American Heritage Foundation Music History Archive
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Clarence Irving, Sr. recalls a friend's experience of police discrimination
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his interest in preserving black music history
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Clarence Irving, Sr. remembers his collaboration with York College President Milton Bassin
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about the Black American Heritage Foundation
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Clarence Irving, Sr. reflects upon his legacy as a community activist
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Clarence Irving, Sr. reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - Clarence Irving, Sr. shares his advice to young people
  • Tape: 9 Story: 11 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his family, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 12 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his family, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his concerns for the United States, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Clarence Irving, Sr. talks about his concerns for the United States, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Clarence Irving, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered