Reference Entry

Mitchell, Clarence Maurice, Jr.

Kate Tuttle

in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Second Edition

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780195170559
Mitchell, Clarence Maurice, Jr.

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Less visible than many of his NAACP colleagues, Clarence Mitchell nonetheless had a major impact on the lives of African Americans. Known as the 101st senator, the longtime NAACP lobbyist was instrumental in the passage of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the two most significant successes of the Civil Rights Movement. Mitchell was a 1932 graduate of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and the husband of Juanita Jackson Mitchell, an NAACP official. He joined the NAACP staff following his work with the National Urban League and the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC).The FEPC was formed in 1941 to eliminate employment discrimination and was dissolved in 1946. While acting as the NAACP's labor secretary, Mitchell continued to fight for economic fair play, founding the National Council for a Permanent FEPC in 1949 and participating the following year in the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a group with representatives from more than fifty civil rights organizations. Mitchell began his legislative work as part of this struggle and quickly became the association's chief lobbyist, a position he held until he retired in 1978. The veteran lobbyist became a lawyer himself in 1962 after completing four years of nightly study at the University of Maryland Law School. In 1969 the NAACP awarded Mitchell the Spingarn Medal, and in 1980 he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest nonmilitary decoration. After his death in 1984 his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, renamed its courthouse after him.

Reference Entry.  269 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History

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