Interview, Clarence T. Ingram

May 22, 1980

Clarence T. Ingram (1923-2011) was born and raised in North Carolina. His father was a Baptist minister and his mother was a teacher. He graduated from high school and went on to attend Shaw University, a Baptist college in Raleigh, North Carolina. After just one year of college, Ingram was drafted into the United States Army, where he served for four years as a Staff Sergeant. After his stint in the military, Ingram used his G.I. Bill to enroll at Temple University, in Philadelphia, PA. He graduated in 1948 with a degree in business administration. After college, Ingram worked as a gospel singer and then at a real estate firm in New York City. He came to Rochester in 1953 and worked as an accountant. Ingram met and married Irene Stokes, a teacher, and together they had two children. He left his accounting job in 1966 and went to work as a business consultant for the Rochester Business Opportunities Corp (RBOC) in 1968. In 1972, he became Associate Director of the RBOC. At the time of this interview, Ingram was working as the General Manager at RBOC and was involved in the Monroe County Democratic Committee, the Western New York Minority Business Opportunity Committee, and the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church. Ingram passed away on February 24, 2011.

In this interview, Ingram discusses racial discrimination and supporting the minority business community in Rochester. Ingram remembers responding to a housing ad when he first came to Rochester and being turned away because of his race. He also recalls being refused help at a local restaurant when he stopped to ask for directions. Ingram explains that the purpose of the RBOC is to offer resource management, financial help, and technical assistance to African Americans who aspire to start their own businesses, and he reports being proud of the work he has done for Rochester’s small business community.

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  • 1980s