A Fireside Chat with Officer Clemmons
Time: 4:00 pm-5:00 pm
We celebrate Black History month with a visit from Francois Clemmons, singer, storyteller, and, as Officer Clemmons on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, one of the first African-Americans with a recurring role on a children’s television series. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Clemmons had a close relationship with Rogers, whom he called a surrogate father. Although the show made a powerful statement when the two of them shared a footbath during an episode that aired in 1969 at the height of desegregation, Clemmons was also asked to keep quiet about his identity as a gay man. Clemmons recently retired after 15 years as Middlebury College’s artist-in-residence and director of its Martin Luther King Spiritual Choir. He will be introduced by his friend and former Norfolk resident, Kate Gridley.