Skip to main content

Bailey, Clyde 1946–

Clyde Bailey 1946


Encouraged to Succeed by Parents

Forged Legal Career


In August of 2003, Clyde Bailey became the 61st president of the National Bar Association (NBA), the countrys oldest and largest bar association of attorneys and judges of color. Founded in part to provide a professional association for African-American lawyers, the NBA has long had a commitment to protecting the civil and political rights of all citizens of the United States, particularly those of underserved minority communities. Having grown up in a household where civic commitment was the norm, Bailey found in the NBA a perfect venue for his dual valuesa commitment to both legal excellence and community service.

Encouraged to Succeed by Parents

The third of four siblings, Clyde E. Bailey, Sr., was born on August 24, 1946, in Petersburg, Virginia. His father John Bailey worked as a porter at the local Trailways Bus depot. His mother Eunice was a teacher and later an administrator at a mental hospital. My parents were the biggest influence [on my success]. Especially my mother. Being a teacher, she had definite education goals for all of us, Bailey told Contemporary Black Biography (CBB). In Petersburg, VA, racial segregation was the rule rather than the exception. Plessy v. Ferguson there meant separate but unequal. My parents helped all of us overcome that. Bailey continued, We were all born in the forties and raised in the sixties and all four of us finished college. That was rare to find all four siblings in an African-American family graduating from college during that era.

Bailey attended college at Virginia State University where he graduated with a degree in math. He continued on at Virginia to earn a masters in physics. Following graduation he moved to Rochester, New York where he landed a job as a physicist with the Xerox Corporation. During that time he attended the University of Rochester, earning a second masters, this time in materials science. Though he excelled as a scientist and enjoyed the work, he began to want to do something more. I met a good friend who was a patent lawyer, Bailey told CBB. He knew my interests and encouraged me to consider patent law. I really listened to what he had to say and decided to do it. I went to law school with the intention of becoming a patent lawyer. I had a one-track mind. I wanted to use my technical background in a unique way and combine my interests in both law and science.

Bailey left Xerox and Rochester and moved to Ohio and law school at Cleveland State University. My first year of law school, I didnt work, Bailey told CBB. Then I got a job as an engineer at GE in Cleveland, so during my second and third years of law school, I worked as an engineer full-time, and went to law school full time. Soon Bailey became committed to not only succeeding as a patent attorney but also helping the African-American community. My loosely held belief that it was not sufficient for African Americans to merely succeed in their chosen professionwhether law, business, engineering, medicine, etc.while others in the community did the heavy lifting, had finally been crystallized, he wrote in The Daily Record. Bailey became involved in various African-American

At a Glance

Born on August 24, 1946, in Petersburg, VA; married Dr, Ura lean Bailey (second marriage); two children. Education: Virginia State University, mathematics, BS 1960s; MS, physics, 1960s; University of Rochester, MS, materials science, 1970s; Cleveland State University, JD, 1979; George Washington University, LLM, patent law, 1989.

Career: Xerox, physicist, 1973-76; General Electric, engineer, 1977-79; NASA, staff attorney, 1980-91; Eastman Kodak Company, patent attorney, 1991-,

Selected memberships: National Bar Association, president, 2003-; National Inventors Hall of Fame, board of directors; NAACP, Education Equity Commission, member.

Selected awards: National Bar Association, Presidential Award (three times); National Bar Association, Best Section of the Year Award; Congressional Black Caucus, Minority Advancement Award, 2004; Cities of Shreveport and Bossier City, LA, Key to the City, 2004.

Addresses: Office Eastman Kodak Company, Patent Legal Staff, 343 State Street, Rochester, NY, 14460.

legal groups such as the Black American Law Students Association (now National Black Law Student Association) and the Cleveland-based Norman S. Minor Bar Association, an affiliate of the NBA. He later credited his mother for instilling in him this desire to volunteer, writing in The Dally Record that she seemed to serve as chairperson or president of practically every civic and church organizationfrom school PTA to her senior citizens clubwith which she was affiliated right up to the time of her death at age 86.

Forged Legal Career

After graduating law school in 1979, Bailey went to work at the Washington, DC, headquarters of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1980. At first I was manager of their Equal Opportunity programs. I did that for four years and then moved into the law department, he told CBB. In the legal section of NASA, Bailey worked in intellectual property law and space commercialization law. It was a very exciting time, he told CBB. Bailey took a brief sabbatical during his time at NASA to serve as a congressional aide for Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes. On Capital Hill Bailey assisted Stokes with budget hearings. Meanwhile he stayed active in the NBA. He was asked to chair the Government Lawyers Division of the NBA, a position that would also secure him a seat on the NBAs board of governors. I committed myself to hard work and an unrelenting resolve to affect a turnaround strategy and path forward for the [Government Lawyers Division] which would set the stage for its long term success, Bailey wrote in The Daily Record. While in Washington, Bailey also earned a masters degree in patent law from George Washington University.

In 1991 Bailey joined the patent legal staff of Eastman Kodak and moved to Rochester, New York for the second time in his career. As a patent attorney for the photo giant, Bailey has prepared and prosecuted over 500 patent applications across the globe. Those patents hailed from diverse technologies including space and terrestrial analytical equipment, photosensitive film and paper processing equipment, advanced ceramic composite materials, packaging, and photosensitive materials. He has also provided Kodak with litigation support during major patent infringement cases. Bailey was also involved in Kodaks massive 1994/95 sale of business assets worldwide.

Despite his heavy workload at Kodak, Bailey stayed actively involved in NBA activities on the local, national, and international level. Locally, Bailey worked with an NBA affiliate, the Rochester Black Bar Association (RBBA), and directed its Computers in the Community program. With the generosity of Kodak and Xerox, who each assigned used computers to the RBBA, the RBBA was able to donate over 100 computers to select Rochester City public schools, Bailey wrote in The Daily Record. Baileys role on the board of governors allowed him ample opportunity to work in many national areas of the NBA including stints as the vice president of Sections and Divisions and the vice president of Regions and Affiliates. He also served as chair of the Intellectual Property Law Section. On the international level, he organized and directed several international legal forums for the 2001 International Affiliate Meeting in South Africa. Topics included the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Corporate Responsibility, and Human Rights. Also in 2001 he attended the World Conference Against Racism, Xenophobia and other Intolerances on behalf of the NBA. In 2002 he chaired the International Affiliate Meeting in Italy. That year he also represented the NBA at the World Conference on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Baileys dedication to the NBA was recognized in 2003 when he was elected president of the organization. It is the height of achievement when your peersand the bar represents 20,000 memberschoose you to represent them, Bailey told CBB. With the full support of the Kodak legal department, Bailey has been able to immerse himself in the duties of the NBA, primarily taking steps to meet his main objectives. One goal is to increase equal opportunities for minority female lawyers, he told CBB. Weve created a diversity pledge and sent it out to major corporations urging them to hire minority female lawyers. Another goal is to increase the number of African Americans in the judiciary. Despite that, Bailey and the NBA have not been afraid to oppose the appointment of African-American judges that [do not] comport with the needs of our communities, those being the underserved communities, Bailey told CBB. Helping to improve the lives of minorities is both the NBAs professional goal as well as Baileys personal goal. Bailey wrote in The Daily Record that back in law school in Cleveland he resolved to both serve my community and excel in my chosen field of endeavor. He has accomplished both goals and with the presidency of the NBA stretched before him, he is poised to do much more both for the legal community and the minority community at-large.



The Daily Record (Rochester, NY), February 28, 2003, p. 3.

Jet, August 25, 2003, p. 12.


Bailey Heads National Bar Association, Rochester Review, (April 08, 2004).

Kodak Attorney Named President of National Bar Association, Eastman Kodak Company, (April 08, 2004).

Sworn in as NBAs 61st President, Clyde Bailey, National Bar Association, (April 08, 2004).


Additional information for this profile was obtained through an interview with Clyde Bailey on May 7, 2004.

Candace LaBalle

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Bailey, Clyde 1946–." Contemporary Black Biography. . 14 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Bailey, Clyde 1946–." Contemporary Black Biography. . (February 14, 2019).

"Bailey, Clyde 1946–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved February 14, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.