Much of this article is the recollections of Rev. Chris Minor whose father contributed to the history of the black community in San Antonio. According to Chris Minor, the son of Rev. Dr. Claudius M. Minor, his father was quite a leader as a participant in public service for more than 30 years. He worked within several governmental entities at the federal level, county level, and the city level. One of his first jobs was with the federal government under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He worked for the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) from 1936-1949 at a time when segregation ruled the San Antonio area.
He was the first property manager of the Alazan-Apache Courts, for a three year period before moving on to manage the Lincoln Heights Courts on the Westside from 1940-1949. This would have been a particularly difficult task as city and county authorities would have wanted to keep control of the segregated housing projects in which many blacks and Mexican Americans found themselves as a result of poverty. Mr. Minor would have had to navigate his way through the maze of a confusing racial bureaucracy that was common in a segregated society.
According to Chris Minor, Mr. Minor enrolled in St. Mary’s Law School in the fall of 1949 and graduated in1953. While he attended St. Mary’s Law School he was a classmate with the late Hattie Briscoe, the first black woman to graduate from St. Mary’s Law School in 1956, and the late County Commissioner Albert Pena who eventually graduated from the South Texas School of Law in Houston, Texas. Both Briscoe and Pena were strong civil rights leaders in San Antonio that fought against racial injustice. This would have been a prideful event in later years as all three leaders would break ground in the fight against racism and segregation in San Antonio.
After completing Law School, Mr. Minor was hired by the Corporation Court as it was known then (Municipal). He was a Warrant Officer before being promoted to a fully commissioned Deputy Sheriff for Bexar County on June 6, 1954 until his retirement on September 16, 1966. According to Chris Minor, “Claudius M. Minor was the first fully Commissioned African American Deputy Sheriff in Bexar County.” Everyone has moments in their life of which they are very proud. According to his son, his father said that he recalled the three proudest achievements that he had while at the Sheriff’s department was in 1957. One of these proud moments was “When he was made sheriff for the day,” by Sheriff Owen W. Kilday in remembrance of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on June 19, 1957, or Juneteenth Day.
Chris Minor went on to say that his second proud moment came when he provided a security escort for former President John F. Kennedy to the airport just hours before he was shot to death in Dallas, Texas on November 22,1963. His last achievement that he was most proud of was when he was promoted to “Lead Detective” on January 5, 1964 for Bexar County. In this capacity, Mr. Minor’s department was able to solve over thirty cold cases that the sheriff’s department had virtually given up on. He retired on September 16th 1966 from the sheriff’s office in order to pursue his passion; of preaching and helping people.
Reverend Claudius M. Minor was very influential in his political campaigning for others. He was a champion of civil and equal rights for all people. Also, he was speech writer for some of the future leaders of his day. He campaigned for G.J. Sutton while Sutton was running for State Representative in District 120. Sutton became the first black state representative of District 57-E, which is now State Representative District 120. He was also instrumental in helping to get Reverend Claude W. Black elected to city council and who eventually became a civil rights City Council Representative for District 2. During his time, Reverend Claudius Minor was considered by local newspapers and community leaders, “As a political heavyweight on the Eastside.”
Minor’s success in campaign speech writing was heralded all the way to the state capitol in Austin, Texas. Mr. Minor was commissioned to compose and write many speeches for Governor Preston Smith who was the 40th Governor of Texas from 1969 to 1973. Former State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon would pay tribute to Mr. Minor by citing his accomplishments in a state resolution on the occasion of his passing. Rev. Claudius M. Minor was a Minister of the Gospel for more than 58 years. He died on December 3, 1997 at the age of 81.