Clemson, Barry


"Dr. Barry Clemson was born on June 6, 1941, in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Amos and Sara Hostetter. He was raised by his mother and his stepfather, Fleming Clemson. He spent his formative years in rural Alaska. He attributes his interest in civil rights work to being raised in an atmosphere of tolerance for divergent views and concern for the underdog, which he says in part came from his membership in the Church of the Brethren, one of the "key civil rights churches." Clemson was recruited as a Freedom Summer volunteer while attending Pennsylvania State University. He went to the training session in Oxford and was assigned to Biloxi. The majority of his time was dedicated to voter registration, though he also became the self-appointed record keeper for his group, accumulating data on such information as where they had polled and who was interested in participating in Freedom Summer activities. He also spent a short time working in Wiggins, which he says was a "different country" compared to the relatively more cosmopolitan Biloxi. Clemson left Mississippi to participate in the Selma to Montgomery March, then returned to Penn State. He has a bachelor's degree in science, a master's degree in political science, and a Ph.D. in administration. He is currently executive director for Organizational Systems Engineering and a research associate in the Department of Engineering Management at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia."--Oral history with Dr. Barry Clemson, University of Southern Mississippi.

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