The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Clyde Martin

Share on Social Media

Information about Clyde Martin

Profile image of Clyde Martin

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Regional Sales Manager
Civic Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Potato Chips
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Go To Work.

Birthplace

Born:
9/28/1936
Birth Location:
Bolivar County, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Regional Sales Manager
Civic Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Potato Chips
Favorite Time of Year:
Winter
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Go To Work.

Birthplace

Born:
9/28/1936
Birth Location:
Bolivar County
See how Clyde Martin is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Award-winning regional manager for Jay’s Potato Chips Clyde Martin never ate snack foods until he moved to Chicago in 1955. Born on September 28, 1936, on land his father owned in Bolivar County, Mississippi, Martin attended school at the White Star Missionary Baptist Church and later graduated from Cleveland (Mississippi) Colored Consolidated High School (CCCHS) in 1955. An honor student and an activist, young Martin led a student strike for a more relevant curriculum. Later, he refused to cooperate with an agreement his principal made with the state of Mississippi to impress the federal government, under which the school was to receive new school buses, and then exchange them with the white school in Cleveland, for their old ones.

In 1956, Martin was working in Chicago when he found out about a job at Jay’s Potato Chips. Hired as the first black route salesman, he determined that he could sell more Jay’s by distributing more of the smaller five cent bags. Martin was right and he more than doubled his sales. Consistently the top salesman during the 1960s and 1970s, he made assistant regional sales manager in 1967 and was the first African American to rise to regional sales manager in 1973. Martin fought racism and personally made sure that Jay’s hired other African Americans as drivers and salesmen.

Martin became an inspector for the Internal Affairs Division of the Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff’s Department in 1978. He was a beloved behind-the-scenes activist in Chicago politics and civic life.

Martin passed away on November, 21, 2017 at age 81.

See how Clyde Martin is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clyde Martin's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clyde Martin lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clyde Martin talks about his mother's family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clyde Martin talks about methods of survival employed by black farmers in the South
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clyde Martin talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clyde Martin recalls advice from his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clyde Martin talks about his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clyde Martin recalls watching his parents bury money in the ground as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clyde Martin recalls his childhood in Bolivar County, Mississippi
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Clyde Martin talks about his schooling, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Clyde Martin talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Clyde Martin talks about his schooling, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Clyde Martin recalls household appliances from his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Clyde Martin talks about his brothers' enlistment during World War II
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Clyde Martin talks about attending church on Sundays
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Clyde Martin recalls his experience at Cleveland Colored Consolidated High School in Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clyde Martin describes his role in distributing new buses to black schools as a high school student
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clyde Martin talks about attending Cleveland Colored Consolidated High School in Cleveland, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clyde Martin talks about moving to Chicago, Illinois after graduating from high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clyde Martin talks about the beginning of his career at Jays Foods
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clyde Martin talks about his career at Jays Foods, pt.1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clyde Martin talks about his career at Jays Foods, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clyde Martin describes a memorable interview he conducted with a black candidate at Jay Foods
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clyde Martin talks about his definition of an "Uncle Tom"
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clyde Martin describes how he defines the difference between "Uncle Toms" and "sambos"
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clyde Martin describes his friendship with Richard M. Daley
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clyde Martin talks about boards he served on under Richard M. Daley
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clyde Martin talks about working for the Cook County Sheriff's Department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clyde Martin talks about his role models
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clyde Martin talks about political positions he has run for
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clyde Martin describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clyde Martin talks about why he seldom returns home to Mississippi
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clyde Martin reflects on his life and legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Clyde Martin narrates his photographs