The perfect plan for booklovers!
Add this book to bookshelf
Write a new comment Default profile 50px
Subscribe to read the full book or read the first pages for free!
All characters reduced
Officer Clemmons - A Memoir - cover

Officer Clemmons - A Memoir

Dr. François S. Clemmons

Publisher: Catapult

  • 1
  • 0
  • 0


There is renewed love, attention, and consumer interest in the universe and real-life characters surrounding the children's television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: The documentary about Fred Rogers, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, is the highest-grossing biographical documentary of all time. It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was released on June 8, 2018. And Tom Hanks will star in a film about Fred Rogers, entitled "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," which premieres 11/22/19 (Thanksgiving weekend) 2019
Dr. François S. Clemmons' Officer Clemmons: A Memoir details the historic children's tv actor's early years, his close friendship with Fred Rogers, and how American's racial and sexual politics shaped his life and career as a gay, closteted singer and performer
Being on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood created a deep schism within Clemmons' own life; Fred Rogers encouraged/asked him to remain in the closet during his long tenure on the show. This choice allowed him to travel around the world and inspire millions of people, and yet he was forced to live a lie every day of his life. 
Clemmons' life and career realizes the arc of history, struggles, and gains within both the LGBTQI+ and Civil Rights movements in American 
The author on why he wrote this book: 
"I was highly motivated to tell this story because as a young boy growing up I had NO role-models. Where could I go to learn how to be gay? It haunted me for years that young men, black and white, did not have healthy role models to begin to fashion their own lives after. So, I began to put down for history how I struggled with many of the same questions I’m sure they had, and how I set about learning who I am at my very core. I wanted them to know that they could search and be victorious and successful as a gay, honorable person. Life is difficult for everyone, but gay folks don’t have to live with rejection by society or reject themselves"
Born in Alabama, raised in Ohio, worked on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in Pittsburgh and then NYC (1968-2001), Clemmons now lives in Middlebury, VT, where he has been a professor, choral director, and choral arranger for 22 years at Middlebury College. He is now in his seventies, and this is his first published book. 
Clemmons is a **Grammy Award-Winning** operatic Tenor (for the best recording of the role, “Sportin Life” George Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, 1973) in addition to being an actor, playright, poet, and activist; he is also the 2019 recipient of the Vermont Arts Council's Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. 
Clemmons is also the Founder/Director of The Harlem Spiritual Ensemble, which was dedicated to preserving, sustaining and commissioning new and traditional arrangements of American Negro Spirituals for future generations
Acquired by editor at large Mensah Demary (who co-authored the New York Times bestselling book with Common, Let Love Have the Last Word)

Bookseller Praise for Officer Clemmons

"Officer Clemmons is not just another Mister Rogers story. It's a story of race, sexuality, overcoming the odds, and love. Clemmons's story will make you believe in the power of good despite all of the bad we face in this life." —Robert Lingle, Off the Beaten Path Bookstore (Lakewood, New York)

"This is a very meaningful book to me, being raised on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood by parents who were also raised on the show. A frequent character in the neighborhood, François Clemmons had to overcome much adversity in his young life to get to that point. Born in the South and then a transplant to Ohio, Franc dealt not only with constant racism but also abuse from his conservative family whom he knew he could not come out of the closet to. Through hard work, he got through school when he met Fred Rogers, the man who would change his life forever. This is a very heartfelt, inspiring, and touching memoir that any fan of the show should read, as well as anyone interested in music or civil rights." —Carl Kranz, Fountain Bookstore (Richmond, VA)

"Reading Dr. François S. Clemmons's memoir feels like sitting down for a conversation with a warm, wise, and friendly figure—just as his character, Officer Clemmons, was on screen in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Although many readers will flock to this book for Clemmons's stories of Fred Rogers, I found the first half of his life story even more moving. In easy, conversational prose, Clemmons walks us through his childhood in a family of sharecroppers, his fraught relationship with his mother and abusive stepfather, his involvement in the civil rights movement, and his emergence as a gay black man in a conservative and religious world. Above all, Clemmons's story—from his grandfather and his magic singing cane to his big break on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood—is a testament to music, imagination, and the joy of creativity. The book feels raw and a touch unpolished at times, and a few narrative threads from Clemmons's young adult life were left unresolved. But above all, this warm, big-hearted book is honest and authentic." —Rayne Stone, Rediscovered Books (Boise, ID)

"Dr. François S. Clemmons's memoir, Officer Clemmons, is authentic storytelling at its finest. Clemmons, a trained opera singer who became one of the most beloved neighbors in Mister Rogers' neighborhood, shares the story of his life with exuberance and authenticity. As a gay black man, his presence on a children's television show was revolutionary. Readers are admitted into his close and personal friendship with Fred Rogers. We are also invited into the most painful and humiliating parts of his life as he deals with prejudice against both his race and sexuality. While Clemmons is honest about his feelings of frustration and fatigue regarding the racism and homophobia he encountered throughout his life, readers are left with the portrait of a man who has spent his life pursuing the things that he loves." —Margaret Leonard, Dotters Books (Eau Claire, WI)

Other books that might interest you

  • If I Can't Have You - cover

    If I Can't Have You

    Federica Bosco

    • 1
    • 2
    • 0
    'One morning you open your eyes and you're a teenager. Without warning, you wake up in the body of an overweight stranger who hates everyone, only wears black and has suicidal thoughts eighty-four percent of the time. And I was no exception.' 
    This is Mia: sixteen years old, rebellious, sarcastic, determined, and always ready to face head-on the problems of teenage life: school, classmates, separated parents, and a stormy relationship with a single mother who loves her to bits. 
    Mia has always pursued her one big dream: to get into London's Royal Ballet School. The most prestigious dance school in the world, with a gruelling selection process and fees which are way too expensive for a single mother. 
    And just to make things even more complicated, there's her secret passion for Patrick, her best friend's brother: a boy so charming and unique that it's hard to believe he's not an angel – but, unfortunately for Mia, an angel who thinks of her as a little sister. 
    Her passions for dance and for Patrick are so intense that there's no way Mia would ever be able to give up either. Until destiny presents her with a difficult and painful choice... 
    For fans of Jenny Han and Holly Bourne, a charming young adult novel about first love and big dreams from bestselling Italian author Federica Bosco.
    Show book
  • Emma - cover


    Jane Austen, RMB

    • 0
    • 1
    • 0
    Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. She was the youngest of the two daughters of a most affectionate, indulgent father; and had, in consequence of her sister's marriage, been mistress of his house from a very early period. Her mother had died too long ago for her to have more than an indistinct remembrance of her caresses; and her place had been supplied by an excellent woman as governess, who had fallen little short of a mother in affection. Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse's family, less as a governess than a friend, very fond of both daughters, but particularly of Emma. Between them it was more the intimacy of sisters. Even before Miss Taylor had ceased to hold the nominal office of governess, the mildness of her temper had hardly allowed her to impose any restraint; and the shadow of authority being now long passed away, they had been living together as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emma doing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgment, but directed chiefly by her own. The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.
    Show book
  • Pride and Prejudice - cover

    Pride and Prejudice

    Jane Austen, The griffin classics

    • 0
    • 1
    • 0
    Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work "her own darling child" and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, "as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print." The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen's radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.
    Among the writers who have approached nearest to the manner of the great master, we have no hesitation in placing Jane Austen. —Thomas Macaulay
    'Pride and Prejudice' is the best novel in the language. —Anthony Trollope
    I used to think that men did everything better than women, but that was before I read Jane Austen. I don't think any man ever wrote better than Jane Austen. —Rex Stout
    Elizabeth Bennet has but to speak, and I am at her knees. —Robert Louis Stevenson
    Read again, and for the third time at least, Miss Austen's very finely written novel of 'Pride and Prejudice.' That young lady has a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. —Sir Walter Scott
    Show book
  • Mikhail Vrubel: 170 Colour Plates - cover

    Mikhail Vrubel: 170 Colour Plates

    Maria Peitcheva

    • 0
    • 1
    • 0
    Mikhail Aleksandrovich Vrubel (1856 – 1910) is usually regarded amongst the Russian painters of the Symbolist movement and of Art Nouveau. In reality, he deliberately stood aloof from contemporary art trends, so that the origin of his unusual manner should be sought in Late Byzantine and Early Renaissance painting. Even in his earliest works, he exhibited great talent for drawing and an idiosyncratic style. He would later develop a penchant for fragmentary composition and an "unfinished touch".
    Show book
  • Family Don't End with Blood - Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Has Changed Lives - cover

    Family Don't End with Blood -...

    Lynn Zubernis

    • 0
    • 1
    • 0
    How a Show, and the Support of Its Fandom, Changed—and Saved—Lives 
    Supernatural, a three-time People’s Choice Award winner for Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Show and Tumblr’s 2015 Most Reblogged “Live Action TV,” has made a name for itself by supporting and encouraging its fans to “always keep fighting,” and a memorable line from early in the show’s run, “Family don’t end with blood,” became an inspiring mantra for many who found community in the fandom.
    In 25 powerful chapters written by  Supernatural’s actors and fans, including series lead Jared Padalecki, plus special messages from Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, and Mark Sheppard, Family Don’t End with Blood: Cast and Fans On How Supernatural Has Changed Lives examines the far reach of the show’s impact for more than a decade. Supernatural has inspired fans to change their lives, from getting “sober for Sam” to escaping a cult to pursuing life-long dreams. But fans aren’t the only ones who have been changed. The actors who bring the show to life have also found, in the show and its community, inspiration, courage, and the strength to keep going when life seemed too hard. 
    Including essays and special messages from Supernatural ’s cast:
    Jared Padelecki (“Sam Winchester”)
    Jensen Ackles (“Dean Winchester”)
    Misha Collins (“Castiel”)
    Mark Sheppard (“Crowley”)
    Jim Beaver (“Bobby Singer”)
    Ruth Connell (“Rowena MacLeod”)
    Osric Chau (“Kevin Tran”)
    Rob Benedict (“Chuck Shurley aka God”)
    Kim Rhodes (“Sheriff Jody Mills”)
    Briana Buckmaster (“Sheriff Donna Hanscum”)
    Matt Cohen (“Young John Winchester”)
    Gil McKinney (“Henry Winchester”)
    Rachel Miner (“Meg Masters”)
    Collected and edited by Lynn S. Zubernis, a clinical psychologist, professor, and passionate Supernatural fangirl, Family Don’t End with Blood provides an insightful and often uplifting look into the way international fan communities become powerful, positive forces in the lives of so many.
    In keeping with the show’s message to “always keep fighting,” a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to RANDOM ACTS, a nonprofit founded by Misha Collins, and AT TITUDES IN REVERSE, whose mission is to educate young people about mental health and suicide prevention.
    Show book