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Richard Clayter

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Information about Richard Clayter

Profile image of Richard Clayter

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Trial Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Silver
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Freeport, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Keep A Roof Over Your Head.

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1922
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Trial Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Silver
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Freeport, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Keep A Roof Over Your Head.

Birthplace

Born:
7/28/1922
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Richard Clayter is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Lawyer Richard L. Clayter, Jr. was born on July 28, 1922, in Chicago, Illinois to Richard Clayter, Sr. and Bella Warren. Similar to many African Americans at the time, Clayter’s mother had taken part in the Great Migration of blacks out of the American South. During his childhood, Clayter still maintained ties to traditional African American communities in the South. His earliest memories are from his time in Wiggins, Mississippi. When he was only seven, Clayter experienced the Great Depression. Clayter attended William W. Carter Elementary located in the Washington Park neighborhood of Chicago’s south side. Aside from one year in Tuskegee, Alabama, Clayter attended Englewood High School located on Chicago’s south side. During this time he married his first wife, Mildred Warren, who was an orphan. Clayter graduated from high school in 1941 and soon after joined the U.S. military. His time fighting in World War II for the U.S. military would prove to be a transformative experience for Clayter.

After he returned from his service during the war, Clayter attended DePaul University. He earned his B.A. degree in sociology there in 1950. During this time Clayter married his second wife, Mary Lou Gullatt, and earned his M.A. degree in social work at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work. At a meeting at his mother’s home, one of the guests pointed at Clayter and said that he looked like a lawyer. The experience left him determined to earn a legal degree. Despite being rejected by the law programs at Northwestern University and DePaul University due to their quotas, Clayter was able to enroll at Loyola University Chicago School of Law after a personal discussion with Dean John C. Fitzgerald. In 1956, Clayter became the first African American to earn his J.D. in the part time program at Loyola University Chicago.

Even after he graduated, Clayter continued to press for African American rights. In 1958, he served as counsel for Charles S. Jackson Company, Inc. in their suit against the Oak Woods Cemetery Association. The funeral association had refused, on the basis of race, to cremate several bodies brought to them by the Jackson Company. Clayter won the suit and effectively integrated the cemetery association’s crematorium. In 1959, he was the only African American in the Short Course for Prosecuting Attorneys at Northwestern University.

The recipient of many awards, Clayter was honored by two organizations with which he has a long history in 2005. He received the Outstanding Sole Practitioner Award from the Center for Disability and Elder Law with personal recognition by Attorney General Lisa Madigan. In March of the same year, Roland Burris presented Clayter with the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Original Forty Club of Chicago. A longtime member of the club of accomplished African American men, Clayter held every position in The Original Forty Club from Secretary to President.

Clayter passed away on July 22, 2013 at the age of 90.

See how Richard Clayter is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard Clayter's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard Clayter lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard Clayter talks about his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard Clayter describes his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard Clayter talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard Clayter remembers his family's apartments in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard Clayter describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard Clayter recalls his experiences in Wiggins, Mississippi, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Richard Clayter recalls his experiences in Wiggins, Mississippi, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard Clayter recalls his start at Englewood High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard Clayter recalls his teachers and activities at Englewood High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard Clayter describes his early employment
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard Clayter talks about his first marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard Clayter recalls being drafted into the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard Clayter remembers his U.S. Army training
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard Clayter remembers his combat flashbacks
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Richard Clayter talks about his U.S. Army service in World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard Clayter talks about divorcing his first wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard Clayter remembers DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard Clayter describes his early experiences in social work
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard Clayter talks about his second marriage
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard Clayter remembers the Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard Clayter lists his children
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Richard Clayter describes his early law career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Richard Clayter remembers the African American attorneys in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Richard Clayter talks about the Cook County Bar Association
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Richard Clayter recalls the start of the Oak Woods Cemetery desegregation case
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard Clayter lists the attorneys involved in the Oak Woods Cemetery desegregation case
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard Clayter describes the Oak Woods Cemetery desegregation case
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard Clayter talks about aversion to criminal law
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard Clayter remembers the African American judges in Cook County, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard Clayter describes his experiences of racial discrimination in the judicial system
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Richard Clayter recalls joining the law firm of Gassaway, Crosson, Turner and Parsons
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Richard Clayter describes his law career in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Richard Clayter remembers George N. Leighton and R. Eugene Pincham
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Richard Clayter describes his law career in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard Clayter talks about his working relationship with Wilson Frost, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Richard Clayter talks about his working relationship with Wilson Frost, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Richard Clayter lists the law firms where he worked in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Richard Clayter talks about the judicial appointment process in Cook County, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Richard Clayter talks about representing community organizations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Richard Clayter describes his involvement in the Original 40 Club
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Richard Clayter talks about his friendship with James Weinstein
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Richard Clayter remembers the case of Friendship Medical Center, Ltd. v. Chicago Board of Health
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Richard Clayter remembers Mayor Harold Washington
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Richard Clayter talks about his memorable court cases, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Richard Clayter recalls securing a reduced sentence for a client
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Richard Clayter remembers applying to become a federal parole officer
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Richard Clayter describes his advice to aspiring lawyers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Richard Clayter talks about his memorable court cases, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Richard Clayter reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Richard Clayter talks about his religious affiliation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Richard Clayter describes his hopes for the world
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Richard Clayter shares a message to his children
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Richard Clayter reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Richard Clayter narrates his photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Richard Clayter narrates his photographs, pt. 2