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by Isabella from Loveland

Clayton 'Peg Leg Bates' (https://myupstatenewyork.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/famous-upstaters-peg-leg-bates-vaudevilles-greatest-star/)

Although I have many heroes one that is truly inspiring is Clayton Bates, otherwise known as "Peg Leg Bates," the famous one-legged tap dancer. Clayton lost his leg at age 12 in a cotton gin accident and he wanted to be in the army like his uncle but his disability stopped him..but it didn't stop his faith.

Being an African American born in 1907 he faced a lot of racism, but he kept his head in the stars and his "foot" on the ground and through this act he showed great faith and self confidence.

Sculpture of Peg Leg Bates by Joe Thompson (Photo by Mike Nice (www.greenvilledailyphoto.com))

By teaching HIMSELF to tap dance Clayton showed undeniable perseverance. I know - I am learning to tap dance myself and I know that it is hard, and I could never imagine how hard it would be to teach myself, let alone with one leg!

Tap Talk (www.melbasdance.com)
Now he not only was a tap dancer but he also was a very busy man. He owned Peg Leg Bates Country Club, performed for the Ed Sullivan show 58 times, and he even performed for the King and Queen of England 2 times!

U.S. Route 209, New York (roadsideamerica.com)
U.S. Route 209 in New York has been named the "Clayton Peg Leg Bates Memorial Highway" after him. This shows that I'm not the only one who thinks he is a hero, and that he is a man worth remembering.

Written by Isabella from Loveland
Last changed on: 3/12/2015

Clayton Bates American Tap Dance Foundation

Clayton Bates MY HERO story by Maya from Midlothian

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