Ouida Drumming, formerly Ouida La Mural Clayborne, was born July 11, 1947 to Reverend Leo E. Clayborne Jr. and Dorothy Mae Brewster- Clayborne in Houston, Texas and was the oldest of six children. Ouida passed away at Tuscany Village nursing home on March 24, 2013 in Houston, Texas. She was preceded in death by her father, mother, and brother, Larry Clayborne.
Ouida grew up in the 5th ward section of Houston, attending Charles Atherton Elementary school and E.O. Smith Junior High. She went on to attend Phyllis Wheatley High School (class of ’65), where she was quick to chime in anytime a debate was brewing concerning the legendary rivalry between her Wheatley Wildcats and the Yates Tigers. Ouida eventually enrolled at Texas Southern University, where she put those debate skills to use graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English and a law degree from TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1972. Ouida was a standout academically throughout her time in law school, earning a Merit Award from the Phi Alpha Delta law fraternity, an American Jurisprudence Award and a Ford Foundation Scholarship as well as two Outstanding Service Awards from the Student Bar Association. Among her proudest accomplishments was her appointment as the editor of the Law Review, which cemented her love for ideas and their power to affect justice.
Just as she was able to find joy in the classroom, Ouida was able to find it outside of the classroom. On June 24, 1972, Ouida married Floyd Charles Prevost. The couple, both graduates of TSU’s Law School, moved to Washington DC to begin careers with the federal government. And while their marriage ended only a few years later, the friendship they began as teenagers persisted to the very end.
Ouida went on to have a fulfilling career in law working across multiple federal agencies between 1972 and 1987. Her work, like her life, revolved around the core notion of service as she sought to use her legal training to shine a light on inequities in labor law and take the government to task when they did not abide by their own standards of fairness. Ouida spent several years in the Department of Labor’s Fair Standards division working on cases concerning the Fair Labor Standards Act, Equal Pay Act, and Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In 1979, she transitioned to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), where she brought cases fighting sexual harassment, Title VII violations and more. It was during her tenure at EEOC that Ouida found love again beginning a relationship with another bright young attorney, Horace Harris. The pair was blessed with one child, Vincent Harris.
True to form, Ouida ultimately left the law to heed a call to ministry, where she could once again use her talent as a communicator to serve. Ouida was a faithful missionary and evangelist and a fierce soldier for the gospel.
Ouida’s professional accomplishments, while numerous, always came second to the joy of motherhood. Ouida’s second marriage to James Drumming in 1988 produced a daughter, Penelope, and another son, Joshua. Ouida was known to brag incessantly about her children and loved nothing more than occasions when she was moved to uncontrollable laughter by their antics. Left to cherish her memory are, Vincent Harris (Veronica C. Harris), Penelope Drumming, and Joshua Drumming; stepdaughters, Deidra Gray (Fred Gray) and Deneice LaRue (Keith LaRue, Sr.); grandchildren, Nia LaRue, Keisha LaRue, Keith LaRue, Jr., Leia LaRue, Zoe Harris, and Elijah Harris; siblings, Michael Clayborne, Gary Clayborne, Marsha Clayborne Johnson (Roger Johnson), and Leo Clayborne; and a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and colleagues. Ouida left an indelible mark on every life that she touched and will be missed by all.
Ouida Clayborne Drumming