School District Announces MLK Spirit Award Winner
The late Agnes Clarice Taylor Gladney is the 2013 recipient of the MLK Spirit award.
The 2013 MLK Spirit award winner is the late Agnes Clarice Taylor Gladney. Gladney will be honored at the 27th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. community-wide Celebration at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19.
The School District of University City released the following biography:
Agnes Clarice Taylor Gladney was fondly known as simply Clarice. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she attended Talladega College in Alabama, where she met and married John H. Gladney Jr. upon her graduation.
She and the late Dr. Gladney had three children, John Jr., Connie and Judy who grew up in University City. After receiving her master’s degree in speech pathology from St. Louis University, she became a speech therapist for the Special School District, primarily serving students in the School District of University City.
Gladney grew up in a home where God, faith, family and community service were paramount. She embodied her father’s motto: “Our job is to each day ‘make someone’s smile a little brighter, someone’s load a little lighter.’”
Clarice was an activist in her own quiet way… during her college years, she became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Chi Chapter in 1942. From soup kitchens to schools to hospitals to cemeteries. Clarice served the community. She was especially concerned about the welfare of the Black community who could not speak up for themselves.
One story told of a time when Clarice visited a local hospital during the segregated 1960s, and was angry that a young woman who lost a limb due to cancer was recovering in the basement. Seeing the deplorable conditions was her “call to action.” Her activism was a catalyst to eliminate the poor assignments for Black patients. With similar outrage, she wrote a protest letter to a local cemetery that eliminated the signage of a black hand pointing to the “Black” section and a white hand pointing to the “White” section.
In a proclamation from the Elijah P. Lovejoy Society in 1999, Clarice and John’s spirit was summarized, “Through your courage and conviction, you have set new standards in the practice of health care, race relations, education, the arts, religion and public service… the citizens of this region are the proud beneficiaries of your life and work.”
What's Your Dream?
The theme for 2013 is “What’s YOUR Dream?”
The event starts on the front lawn of Jackson Park School with a “Positive Protest March” led by University City High School’s drum line. The program immediately follows in the UCHS Charles Banks auditorium.
New this year is a “Positive Family Poster Project.” Community members and families are encouraged to create signs in keeping with the theme to carry as they march. Sign carriers will receive a raffle ticket as they enter the auditorium. At the end of the program, participants will be invited on stage to compete in a drawing for donated prizes and gift cards.