O.B. MCCLINTON FOUNDATION

Promotes awareness in the community about education and the importance of giving our children and adults the available resources to become successful.

about-foundation

ABOUT THE FOUNDATION

clotealboardmemberCloteal Fitzpatrick, Founder & Director

Cloteal Fitzpatrick, sister of late country music star, O.B. McClinton, founded the O.B. McClinton Community Center Foundation April 8th, 2011.  The purpose of the Foundation is to enrich the lives of the residents of the Gravel Springs  Community and surrounding areas.  Our ultimate goal is to build a community center that will provide year round  educational, recreational, and cultural programs ranging from preschool to senior citizens. Cloteal is a retired librarian from the Memphis City Schools. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Lane College and her Masters + 45 from Memphis State University.  Born in Memphis, but raised in the Gravel Springs community, she has pledged the rest of her days to developing artistic and culturally enriched educational programs for her community  and surrounding areas, and facilitating the construction of a community center in the Gravel Springs/ Springfield community. She was named the 2014 Citizen of the Year.  She was also a recipient of the 2014 volunteer Service Award.

Nathan Fitzpatrick, Assistant Director

Nathan E. Fitzpatrick is a founding member of the Fitzpatrick Firm, LLC. He was recently nominated as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyer’s Magazine.  He is licensed to practice in Georgia, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee and his law degree from Georgia State University College of Law.  Nathan limits his practice almost exclusively to criminal law and personal injury.  Nathan is a member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals, and the United States District Court Northern District of Georgia. He has extensive knowledge of Georgia  law and has a remarkable record as a trial attorney. Nathan is originally from Memphis, Tennessee and the son of David and Cloteal Fitzpatrick, founders of The O. B. McClinton Community Center Foundation.

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Kimbrely Dandridge, Director of Communication

Kimbrely Dandridge is a recent graduate at Thurgood Marshall School of Law.  Kimbrely also graduated from the University of Mississippi. Throughout her time at Ole Miss, she made her mark and helped to ensure that Ole Miss continued to move forward. She was elected Freshman Homecoming Maid. She has been a member of The University Marching Band, Gospel Choir, The Black Law Students Association, The Residence Hall Association, Student Alumni Council, Mock Trail Club, Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, and various other clubs. She was the President of the Black Student Union and a Resident Assistant. Kim is also a member of Phi Mu Fraternity, the second oldest all women sorority in the country. In February 2012, Kim made history at Ole Miss and became the First African American Female Student Body President. Kim recently had the opportunity to travel to New York and Russia where she not only represented Ole Miss, but the US Government as well.  She also studied Spanish in Argentina.  Kimbrely served as a summer legal intern for the Mississippi Supreme Court.  Kimbrely completed an internship at the White House, this past winter.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Mission

Our Mission is to enhance the quality of life in the Gravel Springs/Springfield Community by providing educational, cultural and recreational programs ranging from Early Childhood to Senior Citizens.

History

The O.B. McClinton Community Center Foundation was founded in April 2011 as a non-profit charitable organization. Our inspiration was Tate County’s “favorite son” and Country Music Marker Recipient, O.B. McClinton. The founder, Cloteal Fitzpatrick, began the Foundation with a four week Project Based Summer Enrichment Program, in June of 2011. This effort has expanded to after school tutoring, Saturday Arts and Crafts Workshops, and Community Outreach to Senior Citizens.

Ultimate Goal

The ultimate goal of the O.B. McClinton Community Center Foundation is to build a community center that will facilitate the expansion and growth of the Foundation’s programs. Currently the Center’s activities and classes are held at the founder’s art studio. In order to effectively provide year- round Community wide programs, a much larger facility is needed and necessary.

Our Cause

Our cause is to develop artistic and culturally enriched educational programs that will supplement what is being offered in our schools. The Foundation is dedicated to providing the much needed educational, social and recreational programs in our community. Classes for youth will incorporate basic skills infused with the Arts and Project Based learning. Our offerings will include GED Prep, Tutoring, Social Skills, Parenting workshops and Sports.

our-philosophy-is

Today, Country Music is infused with performers of all parts of the community – black, white and other. It must be noted, O.B. McClinton was one of the trail-blazers who made this transition possible.

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Late one Wednesday night on April 25, 1940, Mary Anna McClinton gave birth to Obie Burnett McClinton. Little could she have known that the child she bore would be heard around the world. George, his father, had aspired to become an educated man and a pitcher for the Negro Baseball League. Very much like his son, George ran away from the confines of a rural Mississippi to Kansas City to try out for the Negro Baseball League. However, his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player did not become a reality. He returned to Senatobia where he would marry Mary Anna Conard. After marriage, he moved his bride to Little Rock, Arkansas and prepared to become an educated Baptist minister by attending Philander Smith College.

Years later, loyalty to his father’s wishes would lead Rev. George McClinton to move his family of five from urban Little Rock to the rural Gravel Springs community to help run the family farm. It was here that Obie Burnett, who would be affectionately called O.B., was born and raised with six brothers and sisters. Immersed in influences as varied as old time religion, delta blues, and country music, O.B. soaked in all the music he heard and dreamed of being a star himself someday. From an early age he wanted to write songs and perform. His first composition at age 10 was “Rocking in the Barnyard.” The early Rockabilly sounds that emanated from his father’s radio were springboards to songs and entertaining styles that would appear later in life.

Like his father, O.B. wanted to explore the world that awaited him outside the segregated confines of rural Mississippi. At age 14 he ran away to Memphis to become a country music star. Needlessly to say his parents were deeply concerned and had him examined by a doctor to make sure he was of sound mind. After all, who had heard of an black country singer. Even though African Americans had long contributed to the foundation of country music, little attention or credit had been given at this point in history.

Not to be outdone, O.B. set out to prove everyone wrong. He was going to see his dream come true. Attending Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, O.B. continued to polish his musical talents. After graduating from Rust, O.B. enlisted in the United States Air force. The Air force turned out to be the launching pad he needed. There he met many other aspiring musicians, song writers and performers. At this time in history the music scene in Memphis was more than hot, as it was alive with many soon to be greats that would create music known all over the world as the Memphis Sound. O.B. began to write songs for many recording artists at the Stax-Hi recording networks. Once out of the Air force, O.B. concentrated on his career writing and performing his style of music.

Many R&B artists of that era were quick to recognize his talent and recorded his songs. Hired by Stax label “Enterprise,” he made his break for the country music scene. His first album was “O.B. McClinton Country” in 1971. However, it was his next album “Obie from Senatobia” that made people sit up and listen. The chart maker “Don’t let the Green Grass Fool You” became a fan favorite and would mark the direction he would take his music.
There were few “published and promoted” black artists in country music outside of Charlie Pride. O.B. set out to dispel the notion that traditional audiences would not accept the “Chocolate Cowboy” as he became known. O.B. excelled at raising a family, touring and recording. Although O.B. toured constantly, he always was a good family man who was respected in his community and loved by fans wherever he went. Producing over 34 singles and eight LP albums, his music crossed over to so many venues and touched people in many ways. Fans were always giving testimony through letters and consistent attendance at his concerts to their love of his music. O.B. broke the mold and redefined the meaning and vision of what country music is today. Struck with a rare form of cancer, Obie Burnett McClinton died in September 23, 1987. During that year, as he struggled to defeat his illness, the Country Music community came out to support him through a benefit concert and other gratuities to show their love and respect for Obie Burnett.

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