About this Famous Person
42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001
Source : Tim DOWLING
Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe, III, at Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, Arkansas. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., was a traveling salesman who died in an automobile accident three months before Bill was born. Following Bill's birth, to study nursing, his mother Virginia Dell Cassidy (1923–1994), traveled to New Orleans, leaving Bill in Hope with grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, who owned and operated a small grocery store. At a time when the Southern United States was racially segregated, Bill's grandparents sold goods on credit to people of all races. In 1950, Bill's mother returned from nursing school and married Roger Clinton, who owned an automobile dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas with his brother. The family moved to Hot Springs in 1950.
Although he assumed use of his stepfather's surname, it was not until Billy (as he was known then) turned fourteen that he formally adopted the surname Clinton as a gesture toward his stepfather. Clinton says he remembers his stepfather as a gambler and an alcoholic who regularly abused his mother and half brother, Roger Clinton, Jr., to the point where he intervened multiple times with the threat of violence to protect them.
In Hot Springs, Clinton attended St. John's Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School, and Hot Springs High School – where he was an active student leader, avid reader, and musician. Fellow students included the late watercolorist and sculptor, Tonya Bailey. He was in the chorus and played the tenor saxophone, winning first chair in the state band's saxophone section. He briefly considered dedicating his life to music, but as he noted in his autobiography My Life:
"Sometime in my sixteenth year, I decided I wanted to be in public life as an elected official. I loved music and thought I could be very good, but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz. I was interested in medicine and thought I could be a fine doctor, but I knew I would never be Michael DeBakey. But I knew I could be great in public service."
In 1963, two influential moments in Clinton's life contributed to his decision to become a public figure. One was his visit as a Boys Nation senator to the White House to meet President John F. Kennedy. The other was listening to Martin Luther King's 1963 I Have a Dream speech. He also memorized Dr. King's speech.
- Category American politician