In Memoriam

Jack Elliott McClendon (1926-2010)

Jack E. McClendon, civil rights activist and the longtime associate pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., has died at a Washington hospital of congestive heart failure. He was 83 years old.

A native of LaFayette, Alabama, McClendon was a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He was ordained a Baptist minister and served at a church in Alabama. In 1950 he studied at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. During his time in New York, he conducted mission work in Harlem. He then studied for his doctorate at the University of Glasgow, where he joined the Presbyterian Church.

During the 1960s, Reverend McClendon opened his church in Washington to blacks and other minorities. McClendon became a voice for the poor and disabled. He invited Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders to speak at his church.

William B. Riddlesprigger Jr. (1942-2010)

Bill Riddlesprigger, longtime college professor and civil rights leader, died last month from Parkinson’s disease at his home in Fresno, California. He was 67 years old.

Professor Riddlesprigger was a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. As a young boy, his family moved to Fresno. After completing high school, Riddlesprigger joined the Navy and served as a medic for the Marine Corps in Vietnam.

After five years in the military he returned home and earned a bachelor’s degree at California State University at Fresno. He later was awarded a master’s degree in English from Sacramento State University.

Riddlesprigger served for 30 years as a member of the English department faculty at Fresno City College. He also was the first African American elected to the Fresno school board and served as president of the local chapter of the NAACP.