Dad, I served: The autobiography of C.J. McLin, Jr

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9780966164701: Dad, I served: The autobiography of C.J. McLin, Jr

Dad, I Served: The Autobiography of C. J. McLin, Jr. in 1998 to is a tribute to the political life of the late Honorable C. J. McLin, Jr. While his sphere of influence grew significantly over a 22 year career in the Ohio General Assembly, C. J. McLin willfully remained in local and state politics: a courageous strategist, a tireless negotiator, and a tough-minded idealist who used his regional and national connections not for his own glory but for the welfare of the least of his constituents. His influence was sought not only by those he served, but by Democratic presidential and gubernatorial hopefuls alike-Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Humphrey, Jesse Jackson, governors Gilligan and Celeste, all came by C. J. Despite the painful and frightening experiences of racism early in his life, C. J. chose the high ground, and was driven by concern for all people, regardless of race or status. Described as a workhorse rather than a show horse, he took great pride in being able to deliver to his constituents. to support that delivery system, C. J.'s vision led to the founding of the Black Elected Democrats of Ohio (BEDO), which became the model for regional and national Black political caucuses. The title, Dad, I Served, aptly describes C. J.'s satisfaction and pride in having fulfilled the political dreams that escaped his father, C. J. McLin, Sr. Both of them lived and breathed politics. So much so, that as C. J. told his memoirs to Minnie Fells Johnson, his primary focus was politics. Minnie began taping C. J.'s inspiring story before he became seriously ill with cancer and continued the taping sessions until his death in 1988. In addition to C. J.'s personal story, the book also includes views of C. J. Through the Eyes of Others with chapters by his late mother, Rubie McLin and his daughter, Ohio Senator, Rhine L. McLin.

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From the Publisher:

Some lives are so significant in courageous accomplishments, they form the beginning of an era. Others bring with their death the end of an era. Their thinking, their creative ideas, their magnificent model leave a veritable chasm across life's landscape. The person's shoes are so big that after death, rare is the individual who can fill them. State Representative C. J. McLin, Jr was such a person. And, Wright State University is proud to publish to publish Dad, I Served: The Autobiography of C. J. McLin, Jr., and to provide as a supplement to the book, public testimony to the greatness of one of the state's, the nation's, and the grater Miami Valley's "servant-leaders."

From the Author:

During the pre - Civil Rights era, few Black people held elective office. C. J. McLin, Sr., dared to be different. He ran for office several times. He was at the forefront of Civil Rights efforts in Dayton for more than 30 years. The Dayton Urban League claims him as a founder. In the mid-'30s, not many years after the family arrived in Dayton, Mr. McLin charged the West Dayton grocery stores to integrate.

C. J. McLin, Sr., a charming orator who was repeatedly defeated in his efforts to win either a seat on the Dayton City Commission or in the State Senate, laid the foundation on which his son would build an impressive political structure. C. J. McLin, Jr., would carry his father's torch. Thus, the title of this book: Dad, I Served.

I met C. J. in 1963, ran a campaign against him in 1966, and, as a "trusted bureaucrat," worked with him for many years. I observed several cardinal political principles that were sacred to him. On occasion, when I introduced him to an audience, I would ask if they realized that his initials stood for "Christ Jesus"? Of course the crowd would roar. "C. J.", in truth, stands for Clarence Josef. Over the years, I realized that his wisdom took on a Biblical context in the form of a series of "Thou Shalts":
1. Thou shalt not lie to me.
2. Thou shalt know thine enemy.
3. Thou shalt never drive a person to the edge; always leave room to negotiate.
4. Thou shalt study the whole person, paying particular attention to body language.
Et al.

Politics has been called his mistress. I don't know when he slept. He worked minimum 16-hour days. He'd "keep company" with the same cigar for days. Not surprisingly, with his many speeches given, events attended, and miles traveled to places far and near, he racked up many miles visiting the hinterlands of Ohio. He went places where no other politician thought worth their time, because it was his nature to respond to the call of the "little man," no matter how dim, how faint the call, no matter how inarticulate, unclear the request, no matter how limited the resources.

His mind, imprisoned in a body racked with pain, remained sharp as a tack. It was remarkable to watch him. He was small in stature but full of energy and dogged determination. He continued to hurl his body, mind, and spirit into the biggest battle of his life. He had a tremendous will to live. He was an inspiration to those who knew him well.

C. J. and I worked together over a period of two years to prepare his memoirs as his official autobiography. We combed through piles of news clippings, legislative journals, and photos to prepare his story. He arranged a time for me to interview his mother to recall certain facts about his childhood and gather her reflections on him and his dearly beloved father. Chapter 14 may seem repetitive, but it contains reflections by his mother.

As he struggled with his illness, we spent hours upon hours - on good days and bad days - trying to capture his life "from the gut." I hope all who read his words will understand the message he wished to convey - "you can do it, too!" This book is for all those who are - or some day may be - inspired by the life, deeds, and accomplishments of C. J. McLin, Jr.

Between the recording of C. J.'s memoirs and their publication, there had been rapid political and historical changes, particularly locally, and we wondered about our obligation to note these changes rather than simply leave the manuscript be. We spent a lot of time, then, trying to do the right thing by the manuscript. Then, in a fit of inspiration, we decided, as you will see, that the best thing was simply to leave the ma nuscript as it was and release to the public, unadulterated, the book C. J. wanted the public to have.

Editor Comments

We have done so, with only essential editing provided by Sarah Rickman and myself. We also have provided, as a tribute to C. J., an opportunity for others to comment on his legacy.

Lillie P. Howard, co-editor

You will see here a man who admits his own faults and shortcomings-and lives with them. You will see here a man with an iron will, and you will learn where that iron will was forged as you read about his mother and his father and what they did for him as he was growing up long before the 1960's Civil Rights Movement-back when being Black \ in a White man's society meant you were either fearless, feared, or dismissed as part of a second-class culture.

Sarah Rickman, co-editor.

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McLin, C. J, Johnson, Minnie F.
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