Clayton, Joseph Elward (1879–unknown)

By: Kharen Monsho

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: September 9, 2020

Joseph Elward Clayton, school principal and supervisor of programs to aid African Americans in Texas, was born on February 8, 1879, in Fulshear, Texas, the son of Joseph E. and Elizabeth Clayton. On December 27, 1899, he married Brittie White; they had two children. After completing his high school education in Houston, Clayton received his B.A. from Guadalupe College in Seguin in 1903. From 1908 to 1923 he was principal of the Clayton Vocational School in Manor. He was a lecturer at the Texas Department of Agriculture from 1907 to 1919. In 1924 he organized the National Self-Help Association and in 1930 was the supervisor and a lecturer for the Phoenix Aid and Development Association in Phoenix, Arkansas. In 1923 he began his long involvement in projects designed to move urban Blacks to rural areas as part of self-help efforts. He purchased 2,000 acres of land in Texas, divided it into small farms, and invited Blacks to move onto the land and support themselves away from urban areas. Clayton was a member of the Masons, the NAACP, and the Texas State Teachers Association. He was a Baptist. In 1933, although he maintained a Houston address, he was residing in Chicago, Illinois.

Who's Who in Colored America, 1930–32.

  • Education
  • School Principals and Superintendents
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Educators
Time Periods:
  • Texas in the 1920s

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Kharen Monsho, “Clayton, Joseph Elward,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 20, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994
September 9, 2020

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