This page is to bring awareness of the Jesse Clipper Post #430 and to actively seek members.
Not much is known about the background of this World War I hero, however Jesse Clipper became a local Buffalo, New York legend as the first African American from the region to die in the war. Clipper worked at the American Palace laundry before he was drafted into the army. According to his contemporaries, he was a pleasant young man and a good worker. Before service to his country, Jesse Clipper served as Vice-President of Colored Musicians Local No. 533 in 1917.
A Buffalo News article, published on May 2, 1968 notes that "Pvt. Jesse Clipper of the 317th Engineers, was wounded at the front in France. He was hospitalized several weeks. When the wounds healed, he returned to his outfit. Soon afterwards he was gassed. After another long stay in the hospital, he received orders to return to the United States. But before he could be brought home, he landed in the hospital again. There he died in 1919." Clipper was buried in Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, a French cemetery.
The Jesse Clipper American Legion Post 430 was founded by fifteen Black World War I veterans on September 16, 1919. The first Commander was Mosby B. McAden. The group petitioned the Buffalo Common Council to establish a monument in honor of Clipper and all Black soldiers. The petition to the Common Council from Jesse Clipper Post 430, American Legion stated: "Be it resolved: that we the members of Jesse Clipper Post 430, American Legion, having the progress, civic betterment and beautification of the City of Buffalo uppermost in our hearts, and being desirous of paying further tribute to that Negro soldier for whom our post has been named, and being anxious to honor all of our fellow men and women who have so valiantly served our country during periods of major strife, namely, War of Revolution, War of 1812, Spanish-American War and World War, do humbly petition the Common Council of the City of Buffalo for permission to erect a memorial bearing suitable inscription, in Jesse Clipper Square."
The group dedicated the Jesse Clipper Square at Michigan and William Streets on May 30, 1935. A monument was erected in honor of Jesse Clipper and all the war heroes of World War I as a result of the advocacy and fundraising of members of the Jesse Clipper Post. Since the initial dedication of the monument the dates of other wars, in which Blacks fought have been added.
Now, here's a bit of trivia that (Barbara Nevergold) stumbled across in the Indianapolis Freeman of November 1916. It referenced an African American vaudeville group, the Heart of Dixie, who attended the "October 10, 1916 marriage of Jesse Clipper to Miss Edna Mercer, a non-professional, at Buffalo, NY." So, many someone can research this and find a copy of the marriage license.