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North Jersey History Center Online Exhibits

Clara Watson Pinkman

Clara Watson and Cartel Pinkman

Clara Watson Pinkman and Cartel Pinkman (date unknown)

NJH&GC Photograph and Image Collection

Clara Watson Pinkman was born in Morristown in 1906. During the Great Depression she worked at Cauldwell Playground and then as a caseworker for the Emergency Relief Administration. After holding various jobs, she decided to pursue her life-long dream to become a nurse. In 1942, Clara entered a nurses’ training program at Provident Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, graduating as an R. N. and class president who was named “best all-round nurse, and most compatible.” She first began working at Community Hospital in Newark, New Jersey and then at Lyons V.A. Hospital between 1946 and 1960. Pinkman practiced private nursing locally for many years and was involved with the Head Start Program of the Morris County Office of Economic Opportunity.

    Clara served on the executive board and new directions committee of the Neighborhood House, and volunteered with the Red Cross. She was a member of the Morris County NAACP, the Morris County Urban League, president of the Collinsville Civic Improvement League, and the Morris Township Recreation Commission. Pinkman was also installed as the first African American to head the Morris County American Legion Auxiliary in 1975. In 1976, she received the award for outstanding community service from the Morris County Human Resources Agency, and in 1972 she was honored as “Mother of the Year” by Gold Star Court No. 43, Courts of Calanthe.