AABE Founder

AABE National Founder - Clarke A. Watson (1942 - 2003)

Clarke Watson, a prominent community activist in Denver for decades, passed away in 2003 of natural causes.

Watson, 61, was remembered as a sharp dresser, a sharp wit and an irreverent thinker. His activism ranged from being a leader of Denver's Black Panther Party in the 1960s to working behind the scenes to groom minority college students for leadership in the energy industry. In 1987, he ran unsuccessfully for mayor.

Watson worked in the energy industry for decades, eventually starting his own consulting firm. He founded the American Association of Blacks in Energy in 1977 after hearing of a meeting of energy policymakers that had been called by then President Jimmy Carter. No minorities were on the original guest list.

"He was furious," said Syl Morgan-Smith, a member of AABE's national board. "He said, 'We blacks can talk about more than baseball and we consume energy, too."'

He rented a suite in the infamous Watergate Hotel and convened AABE's first meeting. "He chose the name because he wanted something that started with the letter 'A,"' Morgan-Smith said. "He wanted us to be on top on any alphabetical list. His thinking was always that methodical and detailed like that."

Please view the attached biography about Clarke's accomplishments and leadership.

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