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Dale Clinton

Community volunteer and community resource specialist Dale E. Clinton was born June 10, 1927, in Tupelo, Mississippi. She attended George Washington Carver School in segregated Tupelo. Her family moved to Chicago when she was fourteen years old. Clinton graduated from Chicago's Wendell Phillips High School in June 1944. She enrolled in Wilson Junior College, Cortez Typing School, and studied commercial law and nursing while working for Spiegel, International Harvester and other manufacturing companies. Clinton received a political education organizing youth volunteers for Chicago's black congressman, William L. Dawson.

In 1959 Clinton moved to California. By the mid 1960s, she was a struggling single mother of five children living on a monthly $333 welfare check. However, local Head Start officials urged her involvement in the Neighborhood Adult Participation Program. When Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty called for the eradication of federal welfare programs, Clinton wrote a letter to President Lyndon Johnson defending the plight of poor mothers. The letter was soon published in the major dailies nationwide and featured in Parade. Congressman Augustus F. Hawkins read the letter into the Congressional Record. The letter impressed Sargent Shriver and trickled down to local human services officials. Soon, Clinton was sought for her advice and was appointed to the board of the local Community Action Agency. She accepted an offer for postgraduate training in community relations and eventually worked on the executive staff of the Office of Community and Human Relations for the city of Long Beach.

Clinton is the recipient of numerous awards and plaques for championing welfare rights, fair housing and economic development. Now retired, she still lives in Long Beach where she is helping to raise her grandchildren.

Accession Number

A2002.213

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/21/2002

Last Name

Clinton

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Wendell Phillips Academy High School

Speakers Bureau

No

First Name

Dale

Birth City, State, Country

Tupelo

HM ID

CLI01

Favorite Season

Summer

Speaker Bureau Notes

Possibly willing to participate in future.

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Chicago, Illinois

Favorite Quote

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

6/10/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Greens

Short Description

Community activist and community resource specialist Dale Clinton (1927 - ) wrote what became a widely publicized and influential letter to President Lyndon Johnson, defending welfare and the plight of poor mothers. This prompted her appointment to professional work in service for her local community of Long Beach, California.

Employment

Spiegel, Inc.

International Harvester Company of America

Los Angeles Community Action Agency

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dale Clinton's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dale Clinton lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dale Clinton talks about her paternal grandparents, the Heads, and her maternal grandparents, the Wards

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dale Clinton talks about her family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dale Clinton describes her parents and what her father, Benny A. Head, did for a living

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dale Clinton describes her mother's, Sally Elizabeth Ward Head, and father's, Benny A. Head, jobs

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dale Clinton talks about her parents and brothers attending the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church, now Christian Methodist Episcopal

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dale Clinton describes the sights, smells, and sounds of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dale Clinton describes experiencing racism growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dale Clinton talks about attending George Washington Carver High School in Tupelo, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dale Clinton describes herself as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dale Clinton talks about the food her family ate growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dale Clinton talks about misbehaving as a girl in Tupelo, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dale Clinton describes her teachers in elementary school in Tupelo, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dale Clinton describes her father being forced to flee Tupelo, Mississippi after stabbing his racist supervisor

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dale Clinton talks about how Chicago, Illinois differed from Tupelo, Mississippi

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dale Clinton talks about attending Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dale Clinton talks about opting not to pursue nursing after graduating from Wendell Phillips Academy High School in 1944

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dale Clinton talks about trying different training programs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dale Clinton describes working at International Harvest, Chicago Mail Order, and RR Donnelly in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dale Clinton talks about attending Antioch Baptist Church and New Covenant Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dale Clinton talks about meeting gospel singers, the Roberta Martin Singers and Albertina Walker, Ozella Weber, and Mahalia Jackson at her church

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dale Clinton talks about her husband, James Clinton, and their children

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dale Clinton talks about moving to Los Angeles, California in 1959

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dale Clinton describes her rocky marriage to James Clinton

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dale Clinton talks about working for the Lafayette Hotel and Packard Bell and moving to Long Beach, California in 1961

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dale Clinton describes volunteering for Congressman William L. Dawson in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dale Clinton talks about going on welfare in 1965

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dale Clinton describes her involvement with Head Start and the Neighborhood Adult Participation Program (NAPP) in 1965

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dale Clinton talks about writing to President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 defending mothers on welfare

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dale Clinton talks about her post-graduate training program in community relations at the University of California, Los Angeles in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dale Clinton describes when Senator Robert Kennedy was killed in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dale Clinton talks about the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dale Clinton describes her hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dale Clinton reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dale Clinton talks about how her letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson defending welfare went into the Congressional Record in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dale Clinton talks about her hopes for the next generation of the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dale Clinton talks about her lack of political aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dale Clinton talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dale Clinton describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dale Clinton talks about her desire for companionship

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dale Clinton describes taking care of her family and grandchildren

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dale Clinton talks about the problems caused by cocaine

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dale Clinton narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

9$10

DATitle
Dale Clinton describes her involvement with Head Start and the Neighborhood Adult Participation Program (NAPP) in 1965
Dale Clinton talks about writing to President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 defending mothers on welfare
Transcript
But, anyhow after that was over and we all talked about this Head Start program, and I didn't know what Head Start was about, but anyway that was what I was there for and I--after it was over they said "we need to talk to you" and I said why, you know. They said "anybody that's brave enough to say that they belong to AFDC belongs in this program." So, they told me about the programs, and I told them I was not gonna work no more. I was gonna raise my kids. I was gonna stay home and be on AFDC like everybody else 'cause I wanted to raise my kids. So, they kept bothering me and I kept running from them. Finally, one day somebody from the city came and said "we really need you in this program." So, I went down to the community improvement league and met with the people and became a part of NAPP. It was the Neighborhood Participation Program, Neighborhood Adult Participation Program. Head Start was the number one program and then for children and then this was the program for the adults and you know what that was all about. It was getting people, you know, to start thinking work and start thinking education and all the rest of this stuff.$$An unfortunate acronym isn't it, NAPP.$$Yeah, neighborhood adult participation program.$$It sounds like we're going to go to sleep-$$(Laughing) But that's what it was. And from there I just took off.$I just--in fact in September or something like that of 1965 I was so involved in the program, and they was talking about cutting it out and all of that in 1966 I sat down and wrote a 32-page letter to [President Lyndon B.] Johnson, the president. It wasn't long after that that my daddy [Benny A. Head] called me from Chicago [Illinois] and said, "What the hell have you done?" And I said, "What do you mean?" He says, "I got somebody came to see me today from the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] asking about you." And I said, "Why?" And he said, "I don't know what did you do?" I said, "I wrote a letter to the president [Lyndon B. Johnson]." "What hell you do that for?" I said, "Because I felt like I had some information that he needed to know." And, you know, that was my fifteen minutes of fame and I went on from there.$$Was it publicized? Did it-$$Oh yeah, I have it. It's over there somewhere, you can see it.$$What happened, did they talk about it in the news or?$$They put it in the Congressional Record. They put it in all, most of the major newspapers across this country. They put it in the Stars and Stripes overseas. That's what they did. So, I guess you don't write to the president [Lyndon B. Johnson].$$Was it an impressive letter?$$I guess it was.$$Anything that's-$$I guess it was because I heard from a lot of congress people and senators.$$And the core of it was that he shouldn't discontinue those programs, right?$$Right, right and after that Head Start along with some other programs it was given like millions of dollars across this country.$$Increased instead of decreased.$$Yes.$$All right.$$Yes it did.$$Okay.$$Brought on another work type program and the whole bit. I guess it did what it was supposed to do. I was sitting on the beach in San Pedro [California] and I was just thinking, you know, we can't do without these programs. We were only making $333 a month. That was all we was making. But, you know, that was $333 more than I was making, you know, 'cause I was sitting home before that. And what they did was that's--it wasn't welfare to work, but that's when they incorporated a part of, you know, you can go to work as a welfare mother and they would do thirty-three and a third percent or something like that. They balanced it out some kind of way and they gave you some help. So, that, that was pretty nice, you know. And from there--plus I was on the, the board. By, by that time we--they had brought in down here it was called the CAP [CAA], the Community Action Agency and I was one of the members that was on the board and--.