Former Durham Council Member, Civil Rights Icon Howard Clement III Dies at 82 | News

Former Durham Council Member, Civil Rights Icon Howard Clement III Dies at 82

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Howard Clement
  • Howard Clement
Former Durham City Council member and local civil rights icon Howard Clement III has died at the age of 82.

The news was reported Wednesday afternoon by Derrick Lewis of CBS North Carolina, and soon after, confirmed by the City of Durham:

As reporter Billy Ball wrote for The INDY in 2012, Clement had "a résumé like a history book."

     He was there in July 1963 when activists helped to integrate Durham's Carolina Theatre during the civil rights movement.

He was there in August 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

He was there in the late 1960s at the formation of Durham's influential Black Solidarity Committee for Community Improvement, an organization that once commandeered a selective buying campaign aimed at white businesses to pressure civil rights reforms.

He was there in April 1968 when Durham seethed with reactions, both violent and peaceful, to King's Memphis assassination.

He was there as a helping hand for organizations like the NAACP as well as the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity and more.And he was there upon his appointment to the City Council in May 1983, where he emerged of late as an outspoken advocate for a city-county government merger and public transit.

Clement's illness forced him to retire from the council on Dec. 2, 2013. At his final meeting, he was ceremoniously honored by other members for his thirty years of service.

Clement was the longest-serving council member in Durham history. Soon after the news broke Wednesday, tributes began appearing online, such as this one from N.C. Sen. Mike Woodard, who served with Clement on the council from 2005-2012:

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