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Ouida Eleanor Harrison Clapp

She was born in Detroit, MI. She was accomplished in the area of Education. She later died on 11-22-2000.
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Ouida Harrison Clapp, a native of Detroit, MI, was the daughter of Celia Juliette Howard Harrison and William L. Harrison, Sr. She had one brother.

A graduate of Talladega College, Alabama, and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, Mrs. Clapp was Director of English Language Arts in the Buffalo Public Schools for seventeen years until her retirement in 1985. She began her career as a substitute teacher of English in 1948. The begin teaching on a permanent basis in 1952. She taught at schools 6, 8, 74, 53 and Genesee Humboldt Junior High School before taking a position in City Hall in 1966. She became the Director of English Language Arts in 1969.

A leader in her profession, she served many years as a Director of the National Council of Teachers of English and chaired some of that organization's most important committees. She was a Past President and Fellow of the New York State English Council and a charter member and Past President of the Buffalo Area English Teachers Association. She is author of numerous articles and publications, including grammar and literature textbooks that are used in schools nationwide.

After her marriage to Claude D. Clapp, who eventually became Deputy Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools and Associate Superintendent in charge of Finance and Personnel, she moved from Detroit to Buffalo. She joined Bethel AME Church, where she taught Sunday school and sang in the choir. She served on numerous community boards and especially enjoyed her board work with the Educational Opportunity Center, NAACP's ACT-SO, the Trocaire College Board of Trustees, Restoration Seventy-Eight, and the Buffalo Inner City Ballet. She was a Past President of Gamma Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a member of Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church.

Among Mrs. Clapp's awards are the New York State English Council's award for Outstanding Instructional Leader in the State, the Martin Luther King Day Outstanding Educator Award, the Martin Luther King Day Rosa Parks Award, the Spotlight on Women Award of the Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Medgar Evers Award of the NAACP, and the Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award of the Association of Negro and Professional Women's Clubs.

Mr. and Mrs. Clapp have three children and eight grandchildren. They are: Karen Graves, who served on the National Board of the Episcopal Church and headed toward the priesthood before she died in an automobile accident in 1989; Dr. Karla F. Holloway is Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, and William R. Kenan Professor of English and Linguistics at Duke University; and Dr. Leslie Clapp is a pediatrician and founder of Main Pediatrics in Buffalo.

Mrs. Clapp was among the first black persons to teach in the senior high schools of Buffalo and the first black woman to become a director of a major department in the Buffalo Public Schools. As Director of English Language Arts she was responsible for curriculum development, assignment, supervision, and evaluation of English teachers, staff development, textbook selection, examination preparation, and the system's program of essay and speaking contests, debates, and dramatic presentations.

Mrs. Clapp was one of three persons in the nation nominated by the executive committee of the National Council of Teachers of English to the Presidency of the Council. She headed such important committees including the Committee on Classroom Practices in the Teaching of English, the Committee for Spring Institutes on Teaching Minority Literatures, the Committee on Publications for Students, and the Committee on American Literature and the American Multicultural Heritage.

In her role as co-author of Scott Foresman's widely used, highly respected grades six through twelve anthology of American literature, the America Reads Series, Mrs. Clapp contributed to the development of a leading junior and senior high school textbook series. It was a forerunner in presenting a significant and representative number of black and third-world writers and characters in appropriate contexts.

Then, as senior author of the Holt English Series for Grades K-8, she led a team of writers who worked from a keen awareness of the language needs of all students. Further, included among her numerous professional articles and publications are articles about the need for classroom literature by and about black people. For example, articles like ""Why Color it White?"" and ""The Invisible Child,"" which she wrote as Contributing Language Arts Editor of the Instructor Magazine, address matters of literature and language especially pertinent to black children.

In 2015, the Buffalo Board of Education re-named School 74 in honor of Mrs. Clapp and her husband Claude. The School is now known as the Hamlin Park Claude & Ouida Clapp Academy.

Mrs. Clapp died in November 2000. In addition to her family, many mourn the passing of this extraordinary woman.