History of National Clay Day
Clay is one of those names with an interesting background to it. In old English society, it was common for men to adopt titles related to their craft and for sons to inherit them. It referred to “clay workers,” such as potters, sculptors, and builders. Clay is also the diminutive of the given name Clayton. The name came to America with the first settlers, who carried on the tradition of their forefathers.
Cassius Marcellus Clay is one such notable example. Born on October 19, 1810, the Lion of Whitehall was one of the Republican party’s founding members, a diplomat, and a fiery abolitionist. Despite growing up as the son of a wealthy Kentucky planter, Clay, a graduate of Yale College, opposed slavery and gradually introduced legal changes to combat the practice. His stance cost him support in the South and earned him many violent enemies, but Clay never wavered from his beliefs until he died in 1903. Clay’s family home White Hall is a Kentucky State Historic Shrine.
American musician Clayton Holmes Grissom, known by his stage name Clay Aiken, was introduced to the world when he appeared as a contestant on “American Idol” in 2003. Aiken, a North Carolina native, finished in second place on the show and released his first album “Measure of a Man” five months later. The album went multi-platinum and cemented his place in pop music. In 2004 he wrote “Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life,” which debuted at number two on the “New York Times” Bestseller list. Aside from a successful music career, Aiken has guest-starred on T.V. shows like “The Celebrity Apprentice.” In recent years he’s gotten into politics, announcing a run for North Carolina’s fourth congressional district on a democratic ticket.