Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates was an African American entertainer from Fountain Inn, South Carolina. When he was 12 he lost his leg in a cotton gin accident. He subsequently taught himself to tap dance with a wooden peg leg.
Bates was a well-known dancer in his day. He performed on The Ed Sullivan Show 22 times, and performed before the King & Queen of England twice; once in 1936 and then again in 1938. He retired from the dancing business in 1996.
He owned and operated the Peg Leg Bates Country Club in Kerhonkson, New York, from 1951 to 1987, along with his wife Alice E. Bates. This made Bates the first black resort owner in the Catskill Mountains.
During the last ten years of his life he traveled regularly to schools, senior citizen centers, and nursing homes showing a video about his life and talking about his life experiences.
He loved to tell youngsters that they could do anything they wanted. He would say “look at me.”