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William A. Clement, Jr.

Entrepreneur and corporate chief executive William Alexander Clement, Jr. was born on January 22, 1943 in Atlanta, Georgia to politician Josephine Dobbs Clement and Executive Vice President for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company William Alexander Clement, Sr. Clement received his B.A. degree from Morehouse College in 1964, majoring in mathematics and business administration, and his M.B.A. degree in finance and insurance from Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967.

Clement worked as a credit analyst for NCNB Corporation (predecessor to Bank of America) in Charlotte, North Carolina, as a registered representative for Bache & Company as well as a representative for The Robinson-Humphrey Company prior to becoming vice president and senior loan officer of Citizens Trust Bank in 1973. In 1977, Clement was a political appointee in the Carter Administration and served as an associate administrator of the United States Small Business Administration. While in this position, he served as senior management officer for the federal government’s largest minority business development program. Clement also received a presidential appointment by President Jimmy Carter to join the board of directors of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank in Washington, D.C. In addition, he was founder and former chairman and chief executive officer of DOBBS, RAM & Company, a systems integration company. Founded in 1981, DOBBS, RAM & Company was engaged by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to maintain its E-Filing System.

Clement became an outside director of Atlanta Life Insurance Company in 1992, and in 2001, the board of directors named him chairman. In 2008, Clement was elected president and chief executive officer of the Atlanta Life Financial Group, Inc., and worked in this position for three years. He also served on the boards of two publicly-traded companies, Radiant Systems, Inc. and TRX, Inc.

Clement has been active in numerous civic and community organizations. He was former chair of the board of Opportunity Funding Corporation, a trustee of the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation, and a former trustee of the Woodruff Arts Center. He served on the board of directors of The Commerce Club and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Clement was also a charter member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, a former co-chair of the Atlanta Action Forum and a former chair of the Atlanta Business League. He has served as a member of the trustee board ministry of Antioch Baptist Church, as co-grantor of the Brown-Clement Endowed Scholarship Fund at Morehouse College, and a member of the Society of International Business Fellows.

Clement is married to R. Ressie Guy-Clement and is the father of two daughters and the grandfather of two grandchildren.

William Alexander Clement, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 27, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.114

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/27/2007

Last Name

Clement

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Morehouse College

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

W. G. Pearson S.T.E.A.M. Elementary School

Whitted Elementary School

Hillside High School

First Name

Willliam

Birth City, State, Country

Atlanta

HM ID

CLE05

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

Don't give in, don't give up, and don't give out.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

1/22/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, Potatoes, Cornbread

Short Description

Corporate chief executive and entrepreneur William A. Clement, Jr. (1943 - ) is the co-founder of DOBBS, RAM & Company and, as of 2008, serves as the President and CEO of the Atlanta Life Financial Group, Inc.

Employment

Atlanta Life Insurance Company

DOBBS, RAM & Company

United States Small Business Administration

Citizens Trust Bank

Robinson-Humphey Company

Bache & Company

NCNB Corporation (predecessor to Bank of America)

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of William A. Clement, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his father, William Clement, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers his grandparents' farm on Edisto Island in South Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his childhood neighborhood of Buttermilk Bottom in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls his childhood memories of Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his mother, Josephine Dobbs Clement

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his father, William Clement, Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - William A. Clement, Jr. begins to talk about his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his grandfather's emphasis on education, and his mother's sisters

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. continues to describe his elementary school years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers his childhood neighborhood in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his five siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers attending majority white summer camps in Boston, Massachusetts as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls his activities during his junior high years

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers his favorite teacher at Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about sit-ins in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his experience with segregation

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - William A. Clement, Jr. remembers his senior prom at Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his experience at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes Dr. Benjamin Mays and his professors at Morehouse College

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his jobs in college

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about working for North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company as a college student

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls the desegregation of Rich's Department Store and hearing Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes working for Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his experience at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his first job out of graduate school with the NCNB Corporation and the bank's history

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his first wife

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls working for Bache & Company, and for Robinson-Humphrey Company

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about Maynard Jackson's mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William A. Clement, Jr. recalls working with Herman Russell and Jesse Hill during Maynard Jackson's mayoral campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about the history of Citizens Trust Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - William A. Clement, Jr. details his tenure as vice president of Citizens Trust Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his work as an associate administrator of the Small Business Administration in the President Jimmy Carter Administration

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about the benefits of his experiences in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about the beginning of The Dobbs Corporation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his company, DOBBS, RAM & Company

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his second marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about how he became the chairman of Atlanta Life Insurance in 2001

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his work on the board of Radiant Systems, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about the national reach of Atlanta Life Financial Group

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his church, Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his participation in 100 Black Men and the Maynard Jackson Youth Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his work on the Opportunity Funding Corporation and Friends of Morehouse

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his parents' deaths and managing Maynard Jackson's estate

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about politicians in his family

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about his grandchildren

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William A. Clement, Jr. shares his advice for future generations

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William A. Clement, Jr. shares his business advice

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William A. Clement, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William A. Clement, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William A. Clement, Jr. talks about what he would do differently

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William A. Clement, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

9$8

DATitle
William A. Clement, Jr. talks about sit-ins in Durham, North Carolina
William A. Clement, Jr. talks about Maynard Jackson's mayoral campaign
Transcript
Now civil rights are heating up in Atlanta [Georgia], are your parents involved in civil rights?$$My father [William Clement, Sr.] was, my father was on the Durham Committee For [sic, On] The Affairs Of Black People which was a very, very strong activist organization in, in Durham [North Carolina]. And Durham was the second city in, in the 1960s for the sit-ins. Greensboro [North Carolina] was the first and Durham was the second. And we were in, involved in that, they took us down to Woolworth's or whatever the store, I can't even remember what it was and it, it, it, it just was--I hate to say this, but it was a thing to do. It was not dangerous at that time even though the kids in Greensboro--but it was nothing, you know, like what [HM] John Lewis faced or people in Selma [Alabama], and once again, Durham was a relatively small town and so it was a really a non-event just going down to, you know, sit in a, a luncheon counter at, at, at one of the five-and-ten stores there.$$Were things turned around easily there?$$No, no, eventually it became--but, it was not--even though it started in Greensboro then, an, you know, the images we have of the dogs and the hoses and all, and that was in places like Birmingham [Alabama] and maybe some cities in Mississippi. But that, for some reason just did not happen in North Carolina. I think one reason is that North Carolina's always been a fairly progressive state relative to the other southern states. We had a Governor, whose name was Luther Hodges, and he had a lot of industry there, a place called Research Triangle which had a lot of businesses there and so it was a, a different kind of place, it still is a, a more progressive place then some of the southern, you know, real southern states like Mississippi and Alabama.$During this time Maynard Jackson moves back to Atlanta [Georgia] and we grew up together, even though he was a little older--from the reunions and all, but when he gets back to Atlanta we kind of bound again and it was in the early '70s [1970] that he started talking about running for mayor. And so he called four of us together one Saturday--well, including him, four including him, David Franklin, who was married to Shirley Franklin at one time; gentleman by the name of Chuck Williams, who is dead now; and Maynard. And he talked about wanting to run for mayor, he had run now for the United States Senate against [Herman] Talmadge and then was the sitting vice chair, or vice chairman of the Aldermanic Board which is almost like President of the Atlanta City Council today. And he was still only his thirties, and people thought that he would wait until his, his turn, but he had noticed that the demographics in Atlanta changed and that the Atlan--the city of Atlanta registered voters become predominately black, and he thought that with the right campaign that he could win. And so I tell that because it was really a turning point of my life. I, I, I really got directly engaged in politics. David Franklin and I put up the first $40,000, I mean, back in the '70s [1970], that was a lot of money and we actually lent it to the campaign and he developed a staff and campaign staff and the election was next year and, you know, he won and the rest is, the rest is history.

Kenneth Crooks

Georgian civic leader Kenneth Crooks, Jr. was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 12, 1931. He attended elementary school in Hampton, Virginia and secondary school in Jamaica, West Indies. Crooks graduated in 1957 from the University of Massachusetts with a Bachelors Degree of Business Administration and received a Masters of Business Administration from Atlanta University in 1962.

Crooks went to work for the National Urban League in its Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia, covering twelve southern states in 1962. His responsibilities there included providing technical support for local Urban Leagues and developing new affiliates in the South. Crooks remained at the Urban League until 1991, taking time off in 1972 to assist Maynard Jackson's first campaign for Mayor of Atlanta. During his tenure at the Urban League, he worked in Economic Development and Employment, Education, Housing, Counseling and Community Awareness programs. He also developed programs for youth in fine arts, creating the Summer Youth Academy, the "Do the Right Thing" Rallies and brought the Chattahoochee Court-Appointed Special Advocates program for deprived and neglected children to the community.

In 1993, Crooks moved to Columbus, Georgia to serve as President of the Urban League of Greater Columbus. He had previously held the position of Community Service Specialist and Assistant Director of Development at the Fort Valley State College. Crooks also serves as Special Assistant to the pastor at Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church. He has received several awards recognizing his service to the community, including "Man of the Year" for 2001, given by the Men's Progressive Club of Columbus.

Accession Number

A2002.016

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/16/2002

Last Name

Crooks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Clark Atlanta University

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Kenneth

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

CRO02

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

All

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

No - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Fall

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: Would accept honorarium, though not required; flexible on range
Preferred Audience: All

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

If I’m Not Up To It, I’m Down On It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/12/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Swordfish

Short Description

Nonprofit chief executive Kenneth Crooks (1931 - ) was the president of the Columbus, Georgia Urban League.

Employment

Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church

Urban League of Greater Columbus

Fort Valley State University

Urban League of Broward County

National Urban League (NUL)

Delete

Atlanta University

Grambling State University

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kenneth Crooks' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kenneth Crooks describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kenneth Crooks remembers his early childhood in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kenneth Crooks describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kenneth Crooks recalls an experience with segregation in Hampton, Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kenneth Crooks describes attending school as the son of the headmaster

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kenneth Crooks remembers his family's move to Jamaica

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Kenneth Crooks discusses his father's educational expectations

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Kenneth Crooks talks about returning to the United States to attend the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Kenneth Crooks recalls the sights and sounds that remind him of Jamaica

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Kenneth Crooks talks about segregation and cold weather at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his decision to major in business administration and other college experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Kenneth Crooks remembers being drafted into the U.S. Army as a medic after graduation

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his struggle to find a job as a black man in New England and moving to Grambling, Louisiana after his father's death

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his role in the Atlanta Student Movement while he was a graduate student at Atlanta University

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kenneth Crooks talks about coordinating student sit-ins in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kenneth Crooks describes how the Atlanta Student Movement focused on improving the economic power of blacks

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kenneth Crooks talks about civil rights organizations and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s influence on them

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kenneth Crooks talks about his effort to create a job placement office at Atlanta University

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kenneth Crooks talks about Clarence Coleman's role in recruiting him to join the National Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Kenneth Crooks talks about the roles of Lester Granger and Whitney Young in the history of the National Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Kenneth Crooks talks about significance of the National Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Kenneth Crooks talks his role in the National Urban League and its impact on his personal life

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Kenneth Crooks talks about the National Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Kenneth Crooks talks about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s connection to the Urban League

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Kenneth Crooks talks about the expansion of the National Urban League and working on Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson's campaign

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kenneth Crooks talks about Whitney Young and Vernon Jordan, presidents of the National Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kenneth Crook's talks about National Urban League President Hugh Price's emphasis on sound economics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kenneth Crook's describes the untapped potential of the black church

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kenneth Crook's talks about the future of the National Urban League

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kenneth Crook's talks about his leadership of the Urban League of Greater Columbus in Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kenneth Crook's talks about the National Urban League's agenda and its approach to AIDS in America

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kenneth Crook's reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

3$7

DATitle
Kenneth Crooks talks about coordinating student sit-ins in Atlanta, Georgia
Kenneth Crooks talks about Clarence Coleman's role in recruiting him to join the National Urban League
Transcript
As the, as the president of the student body for Atlanta University [now Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia], (unclear) the graduate school, I got involved with the youngsters from Clark [Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University], Marshbon (ph) Spelman [Spelman College] and Morehouse [Morehouse College]. These were young, aggressive, tuition-having-been-paid-by-parents-kids (laughter). When I was a graduate student struggling, working on the weekends at the Jewish club out on, I'm not sure where the location is, but I had waiter's jobs on the weekends where I was waiting tables, trying to survive to make it in those tough times. And so there was--although I felt strongly in support of what they were doing, I didn't have the wherewithal to--I had to watch out where the next meal was coming from (laughter). No father and my mom [Adele Crooks] was working as a counselor and I was a grown person at that time, and didn't feel like I should burden her with that responsibility. And so I was really caught between the devil and the deep blue sea in fulfilling my role as an African American, which I was, who I just happen to have spent some time in Jamaica and the Jamerican, which we like to call ourselves, we had a (unclear) little group trying to make it in the great country of opportunity. The kids would take a rally club approach to some solutions and I would try with others to meld--mold that so that it didn't have to be as dramatic as they like to see it happen. I think I spent a lot of time on the telephone in Reverend [Joseph Everhard] Boone's church payphone directing kids to where the police were not, 'cause the police couldn't be everywhere at the same time. So we'd the find the location where there were no police cars; we'd send the kids from that location to the place where there were no policemen and they would try to sit-in. And when the cops got over there, then we'd (unclear), and in fact they were not at Sears, then we send the kids back to Sears. So for a couple days there we had an exciting play with the, with the police. And they did arrest the kids and they took them to jail and we'd take them food baskets and take letters back and forth for their--to their parents and they'd write theirs in jail and we'd spend the time doing that. I saw myself in the coordinating, functioning, assisting role and not being in jail with the kids. Somebody had to do the other part of it and I think that's where the T.M. Alexanders [Theodore Martin Alexander, Sr.] and the wealthy black Atlantans tried to make sure that they had a vehicle for solving the problems.$So did you feel these were sincere efforts on the part of these businesses? Did they really want blacks--$$No, no,$$--in their--$$(Laughter). When the guy come to town and he, and he--well there were exceptions. The guys who were on the liberal end of the totem pole said, "where is the place that I can stay, no I don't want to stay at the Hilton, what's the nearest hotel to the school, what's Paschal's Motel [Paschal's Motor Hotel] like, I can't find it in the book, how do I get there", etc, etc. Those guys did get cabs and came to the Paschal's and stayed there and did their things, did the interviews, some in Paschal's, and some on campus [Atlanta University, now Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia]. Others stayed downtown, came to the campus at nine o'clock in the morning, left at four and didn't invite us over as they did the other placement officers, I learned later, and that was kinda were we were. But the basic--the largest majority of them were complying with, with what seem to have been a directive from somewhere upstairs that said, "let's get some folks hired".$$Did this create any frustration in you?$$I wouldn't call it frustration. I take each of these experiences as challenges. I recognized that there's an education that white America needed and the only way to give them the education that they needed was to kinda put them in a setting in which they had as little fear as possible. And that they did not expect to be jumped on if they asked the wrong question. In each of the other settings, if they asked the wrong question, they get pounced on and in other settings they found themselves kinda afraid of the environment. I try to put them at ease and when I did that I able to get through them, I think, to them. And this has been the hallmark of my approach to life and that's how I got involved with Whitney [Whitney Young], and Whitney at the School of Social Work [at Atlanta University], and when I got the call from Clarence Coleman at the Urban League in Atlanta--National Urban League in Atlanta--that said, "how would you like to work for the Urban League"? I said, "doing what"? He said, "doing for Atlanta University for 40 other schools". I couldn't turn it down. So I became the liaison for black schools for the South, to try to get them to put their placement offices in some kind of an order so that we could go ahead and build a schedule. And part of my job, having linked up with some of the big industries was to get that information even down to LeMoyne College and some of the other schools all over the South, an exciting experience.