Davis unveils highway sign honoring Mon Valley Civil Rights leader

Clifton P. Pitts served community selflessly for over 50 years

DUQUESNE, Sept. 24 – The life and legacy of local civil rights leader Clifton P. Pitts was honored today with a ceremony dedicating The Clifton P. Pitts Memorial Highway along a portion of state Route 837 in Duquesne and West Mifflin.

State Rep. Austin Davis, D-Allegheny, whose legislation enabled the dedication, said the highway will serve as a lasting reminder of Pitts’ dedication to his community and his steadfast leadership.

“Clifton Pitts was an influential trailblazer in the Mon Valley who not only fought to improve the lives of everyone he met, but also inspired many people, like myself, to follow his lead in dedicating their time and talents to serving others,” Davis said. “I introduced the proposal to establish the Clifton P. Pitts Memorial Highway so that those in our community would have a permanent place to remember and reflect on Mr. Pitts’ legacy.”

Today’s ceremony was attended by members of Pitts’ family, state Sen. Jay Costa, state Sen. Jim Brewster, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and city of Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby.

“The hard work, leadership and legacy left by Clifton Pitts in our communities and beyond is extraordinary. He worked every day to create the world that he wanted to see for himself and for future generations, and I am proud to join in the commemoration of this memorial highway in his honor,” Costa said. “It will serve as a continuous reminder to all who pass that we should model our lives in the selfless and ever-caring image of Clifton P. Pitts.”

Pitts was a graduate of Duquesne Senior High school. He worked as a director of job replacement for Allegheny County for 21 years, as well as director of the Mon-Yough Action Program and director of the Help Initiate Pride Program. Pitts also served as president of the Duquesne-West Mifflin National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Concerned Citizens, the Freshman Society Club and the Western Pennsylvania Black Assembly, as well as chairman of the Mon-Valley People Action Committee. He passed away at age 76 on Nov. 23, 2020.

“Clifton Pitts dedicated himself to making the Mon Valley a better place for all as a well-known and respected community leader. He dared to serve even in the face of adversity, and it is an honor to dedicate this memorial highway to recognize Clifton’s legacy,” Brewster said.

The Clifton P. Pitts Memorial Highway is designated along a portion of Pennsylvania Route 837, also known as Duquesne Boulevard, between Center Street in Duquesne and Hoffman Boulevard in West Mifflin.

EDITORS/ASSIGNMENT DESKS: Photos from today’s event can be found by clicking here.