February is Black History Month, and in an effort to commemorate the many men and women who have been an influential part of African American history, The Sampson Independent is featuring someone from the community each Tuesday in February. Today’s article is about Clinton native Marcus Bass.
Marcus Bass has dreams — dreams that the young generation of African American students will understand their value in the world and work towards great achievements.
Born and raised in Sampson County, Bass is the product of Clinton City Schools. Growing up, he says he was very active in the community and after college decided to return to his home to share his knowledge and experience with the students in Clinton.
Today, not only does Bass work hard to help the educators in North Carolina, but he works to help young African Americans recognize their importance and potential in life.
“I dream young generations of African Americans truly understand their value to our society and the necessity in their success for the betterment of our country,” Bass shared. “I hope that young African Americans do not have to fight with the cobwebs of racism and oppression like so many before them. I also hope they can work with other races to identify where and how to correct the race, gender and class issues plaguing our county.”
Even in high school, Bass was very involved, having played tennis, served as senior class president, written for the school paper, led different campus organizations, coordinated academic success and black history events and served as state vice president for the Future Business Leaders of America.
After graduating from Clinton, Bass went on to North Carolina A&T University as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. While at NC A&T, the Clinton native found himself serving as the student body president and lead vocalist in the gospel choir, following in the footsteps of State Representative Larry Bell and the late William Whitaker.
Returning to Clinton, Bass taught business education at Clinton High School and Sampson Middle School before being called to serve the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) training and supporting new teachers. Bass said he also served as a professional advocate for educators during hearings with human resources and organizes community members and legislative leaders to support pro-public education policies.
“My efforts with the team at NCAE resulted in the largest demonstration of public educators in the south with the ‘We Love Public Schools Campaign’,” Bass said. “In 2015, I was tapped by Democracy North Carolina to lead their Non-Partisan Voter Outreach Campaigns and statewide projects, a position I still hold today.”
On a local and state level, Bass is actively involved with the North Carolina Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
According to Bass, his parents are the driving force behind his success.
“Having two good parents is the foundation for the success of any young person, but particularly in an era where many factors are stacked against people on the basis of race and class,” Bass said. “I was also fortunate to grow up during a time when preschool education was a real priority. Not just government operated Pre-K, but many day cares served as prep-academies. There was a woman by the name of Vileter Underwood who ran a preschool on Lisbon Street.”
Like many other 3 to 5 year-olds in the area, Underwood taught Bass the basics of education, having prepared him for school before he even began.
Bass says there are two people he looks up to and considers to be a role model.
“I really look up to Rep. Larry Bell and Bishop Varnie Fullwood,” Bass commented. “They are two great examples of men in our community who live and lead by word and action. I have a lot of other people I admire, but they both provide strong examples of investment in the community through faith, education and politics.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588.