Family Tree

Clarence Oliver Morgan Jr. (Clarence, Richard, Samuel)
          Clarence  was briefly married in the early 70's to Elsie Thomas Morgan, daughter of .........................Thomas of Marshall, Texas.
           No children.











MAY 2009

I believe the purpose of life is to matter, to count, to stand for something.  I am an HIV positive, black, same-gender-loving, American senior citizen who is proud to be “Old School.”

Who Am I?   I am Sonny Boy, Junior, Ollie, Tax Man, Oliver.  I have many names, but a name does not tell you much.  I am trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind - all the boy scout tenets I learned in my childhood and took to heartI am God’s child, and he has always answered my prayers.  I am a different spirit to many:  Bushie, country, street, sexy, gentleman and  scholar. 

My journey began in a housing project in Memphis, Tennessee. A neighbor was the  midwife.  There was no MediCare-MediCal then.  My parents were products of good parents who farmed the Delta in Mississippi.  Humble, God fearing, hard working people with little formal education were my ancestors.  The family scattered after my great grandmom and some of the family was run out of the state by the sheriff.  The town doctor filed a complaint that she was practicing medicine without a license, and it was hurting his practice.  She was an herb doctor.

  My dad ended up in Memphis at sixteen and eventually met and married my mom. I am the middle child and the greatest day of my life was when my little brother was born.  My parents dedicated their lives to caring for us.  I got a little peeved while growing up because every time I would look up, my mom had found some excuse to come to my school.  My high school senior class voted her Mother of the Year.

    My dad eventually owned a restaurant and sold real estate.  My mom took us to church every Sunday, made us bring a book home and study, spanked us terribly with switches we had to get from the yard, and insisted always that the teacher was right.  Their greatest wish was that my sister, brother and I finish high school – something they never had a chance to do.  Both my parents died while I was a teenager.

My sister was valedictorian in high school, and became an educator and administrator.  She is most proud of her two daughters and three grandkids.   My brother always excelled in sports.  He has coached teams in soccer and basketball for a number of years.  I think he is the Lakers’ biggest fan.  He is most proud of his five kids, eight grandkids, and one grandson.  And to think, my family was once down to four in number with the threat of extinction of the Morgan name.

So, it was off to see the wild blue yonder at nineteen as I joined the air force after one year of college in Memphis.  I am the airman who witnessed our country at grief as I followed the drama from when President Kennedy’s body arrived at Andrews Air Force Base from Dallas, to the steps of the Capitol as I witnessed Jackie and Caroline and John Jr. make those famous photos walking up the steps, to the long, long procession of black limousines as the mourning continued to Arlington Cemetery as world leaders drove past my footsteps.  

I am the Mandingo Warrior who became obsessed with the idea of attending Howard University.  And I made it happen.  I am the college graduate with childhood memories of  neighbors moving to California and returning to visit in a few years driving Cadillacs and glowing with prosperity. I am the curious voyeur who made his way to Hollywood with the promise of a job I never reported to.  I heard a different beat and it was not a nine to five.  

I found Watts and worked with my first community based organization, now called the Watts Health Center.  I took a peer to lunch and he told me all about his tax practice.  I ordered business cards that same day.  And to this day, accounting has been my greatest source of income.  I had a longing for the music world and tried hard to be a part of Motown.  I landed at Twenieth Century Record Company but that was not enough.  I started the Morgan Talent Agency in the early 1970's and booked acts in twenty states and three countries over sixteen years.I am the creative mind that keeps me busy.  

In January 1981, as my talent agency had graduated from managing garage bands to booking TV shows, a tax client came in.  Just recently released from the hospital with pneumonia, he said, “It’s not over yet.”  Within three months he was dead!  And so, my journey with AIDS began. 

I became sexually active at 6 years old after being molested by an older boy.  I saw it as a pleasant experience and looked for him for years.  Meanwhile, there were various experiences along the way.  I thought I had a PHD in sexology before I ever saw Hollyweird.  How wrong I was, for the streets, the bars, the parks, the private clubs and the canyons around Mullholland Drive became my turf as I further explored my sexuality.  It was neckties by day and levies at night.  I had no idea I would bury most of my friends as this new disease ravaged my world. 

I was no stranger to the clinics and from the moment I heard about “GRID” I felt this would be my fate.   I closed the talent agency and headed home to Memphis to await my destiny.  I stopped in Oklahoma on the way to visit my grand mom.  She was too sick to leave alone at 99 years.  I unpacked and my life began again.  I became the darling of the town as I opened a downtown business, joined and became very active in my great grand parents church, ran for and won a political office, joined the board at the local community center, wrote articles for the daily and black newspapers, and nursed my grand mom for almost five years.

  I felt in excellent health then, but I was sure of my fate.  I prayed every day that God would let me live to care for my grand mom.  He did, and afterwards I returned to LA.   By then, there were tests and it was confirmed that I carried the virus.  I still had not got to Memphis over those five years, so after a few months I packed again. 

I literally sat on the front porch on a concrete block for months until a friend from LA came home to visit his family.  He was disappointed that my spirit had changed so much.  He introduced me to some of his friends in Memphis who were involved in gay activism.  My first question to BWMT was, " can I join?"  I began to live again. 

I have been on the battlefield ever since.  I have been on various boards of community organizations, chaired organizations, founded organizations, and supported many organizations in the ensuing years.  I have counseled the newly infected, sat at many tables and advocated for more peer support, for more funds, for more compassion.  I have  been a buddy to many, nursed a good friend for a couple of years but he died anyway, took friends to the doctor and hospital, told parents their dead son was gay, sheltered the homeless, fed the hungry, bared my soul in support groups, and watched as the attendants zipped up the body bag containing my best friend, while I kept many, many doctor appointments through the years.

I take my health care seriously.  I take my medicine.  I try to eat right and keep the stress away.  Most of all, my focus is directed toward my peers.  I am too busy helping my buddies and helping to change the face of AIDS to die!

I know that I have made a difference in many lives because God let me live back in 2004 after a very critical health battle, for many have thanked me.  I know that God has let me live a little longer because I did honor my ancestors.  I know that he makes no mistakes and, I am who I am supposed to be.   I know that I have defied all odds, having been positive over thirty years and  still breathing.  I knew 200 people who are not.  I am praying that something I said will help you live a longer, healthier productive life, too.

Oliver Morgan is a peer advocate who lives in Inglewood, California.  A USC MBA, he is semi-retired
  and in declining health.  Morgan continues to be active with several organizations including
Unity Fellowship of Christ Church, Minority AIDS Project, the Inglewood Wellness Center,
and MEMLA Commission on AIDS.  He has volunteered and been on the payroll of several other
 AIDS services organizations in
Los Angeles and Memphis like Friends for Life, Spectrum and the
.  He is currently webmaster for,,,, and 
He feels his future in peer advocacy involves mentoring and dispensing information through his
 various websites.