LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — New Mexico State University honors late history professor Clarence Fielder by naming a wing of Breland Hall after him.
Fielder taught African American history at NMSU for 40 years, but was also known for helping restore a historic church in New Mexico.
Phillips Chapel CM, the oldest African-American church in the city, and the grandfather of the Fielder Church founded in the 1900s.
During segregation in the 1920s, the church was used as a school, community center and even used for graduations, according to Pastor Rickey Taylor, a former Phillips Chapel pastor and close friend of Fielders.
Taylor said Fielder had been a member of the church for more than 80 years, from his birth until his death.
Around this time he helped restore the church, which has kept it standing to this day.
“When I look at the church I think oh my God, someone should pull the weeds, or we need to readjust this sign or whatever the little issues are, but he’s there, and he’s there for me, in tribute to Mr. Fielder,” said Beth O’Leary, Fielder’s former colleague.
Fielder passed away in 2015 but left his mark, not only on Phillips Chapel but also at NMSU.
“[he]..influenced many generations who I think are very touched by his kindness, his knowledge and his willingness to reach out,” O’Leary said.
The naming of the NMSU hall, in honor of the Fielders, will take place in April.