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Dr. C. A. W. Clark
African-American Legend’s Greatest Gift to Community:
“A Legacy of Faith, Hope and Love”
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“He was a man that lived his life using the “Wisdom of Solomon” and the “Teachings of Jesus” and the “Faith of Abraham” to help train, prepare men and woman how to live and make a living in a world and society that has not been as accepting and friendly to African-Americans as God would desire a society be.”
- Selected by LSPP Writer to describe the life of Dr. C.A.W. Clark Sr.
DALLAS- His example and his life were the greatest sermons he ever preached.
Now, the world is without one of its best as Dallas lost a great man of God and a servant who dedicated his life for his people and his community.
That is the legacy of Dr. Caesar A.W. Clark Sr. Clark, known lovingly to many as “Little Caesar”. Clark died last week at the age of 93. Clark spent over 50 years preaching from Dallas' Good Street Baptist Church and even encouraged Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his work when Dr. King visited the church in 1956.
“He is one who has stood in the box and sounded the trumpet like John the Baptist, preaching nothing but truth,” longtime friend Dr. C.B.T. Smith, pastor emeritus of Golden Gate Baptist Church in Dallas said about Clark during a special celebration ceremony in his honor in 2006. “Not only has he been a great pastor, but he has worked in legal circles, civic circles and politics for the good of his fellow man. We believe he is par excellence because of his unselfish spirit and his desire to always give of himself.”
In life, this pastor’s small, feeble stature never told the real story or described his large heart and great work over the years as pastor, teacher, community leader and friend of Dallas.
Clark Sr.’s life of service and leadership ranks with the greatest of the ages and the most honorable of our African ancestors.
He was that one stable African-American voice heralding truth to the masses without fear and fighting during difficult periods in Dallas history to bring justice, stability, peace, education and greater fellowship between churches and residents in the city.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana, he attended the public schools in his native state and was a witness to the darker periods of modern era of American history for Blacks that included Jim Crow Segregation, racism, voting and justice issues.
He was converted to Christianity in 1928 at age 14 and began preaching in April 1929. Clark was ordained in 1933 and that was followed by his first pastorate at age 19, at the Israelite Baptist Church in Longstreet, Louisiana. Clark was also a graduate of Bishop College.
For 78 years later until his death, he labored and proved his dedication to preaching the gospel of Christ and helped to shoulder the burdens of countless thousands crying in the wilderness for strong influential personality, godly leadership and a voice.
Prior to coming to Good Street in 1950, Clark pastured in several other churches across the South including Magnolia Baptist Church in South Mansfield, La.; Flower Hill Baptist Church in Grand Cane, La.; Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport, La.; and Spruce Street Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
One of his most crowning achievements was the establishment of the C.A.W. Clark Legal Clinic in 1989. The clinic was named in his honor and offered free time with attorneys to discuss different legal topics with people needing legal counsel at the church.
Services are offered by judges, attorneys and paralegals at no cost. The service helps people understand the legal process and put them on the road to solving legal matters.
It was the first legal service of its kind to be offered in Texas by an African-American church and an idea that has since spread in many other communities.
Not only was his preaching and work to improve the legal climate for African-Americans fighting for justice in a hostile criminal justice system, Clark was a fighter on many other fronts to help improve the quality of life for African-Americans in Dallas.
His love for God and the community motivated him to bring services and raise awareness among fellow citizens that made an impact and redefined how other ethnic groups viewed African-Americans.
It was his leadership at Good Street has resulted in the church being a trailblazer south of the Trinity River and that has led to the church buying and donating an iron lung to Baylor Medical Center and establishing a permanent Blood Bank at Parkland Hospital for Good Street Baptist Church. He also spearheaded the building of the C.A.W. Clark Community Center that houses the Good Street Social Service Center and the Good Street Baptist Church Child Care.
Clark is also a lifelong member of the N.A.A.C.P. and the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce.
His commitment to community was also evident in his support for Moorland Y.M.C.A, Black colleges and universities, as well as young people pursuing an education.
In 2003, his efforts were recognized by the U.S. Congress and the United States Post Office, who named the postal facility at 1502 E. Kiest Blvd. in Dallas in his honor.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Elaine Clark; two stepchildren; and three grandchildren..
“All great leaders are not the ones you see and hear about on the news,” said Dallas Mayor Pro Tem and District 4 Councilman Dwaine Caraway. “He made tremendous contributions to this community and the world and we hope to continue to keep his name and his legacy moving forward.”
Services for Rev. Clark will be Sunday Aug. 3 at Good Street Baptist Church at 3110 S. Bonnie View Road. A special memorial celebration of his life is at 7 p.m. at Friendship West Baptist Church, 2020 W. Wheatland Road in Dallas.
Clark will be laid to rest in the Chapel Springs Garden at Laurel Land Memorial Park.