On that day, in 1945, Royal was born in Marlin, Texas; no stranger to struggles. He grew up fast, caring for his mother who was ill, getting odd jobs to support the family.
In the early 1960s, Claudie C. Royal had not yet emerged as the fighting civil rights activist he would be most known for. He was too busy falling in love.
"It kind of started around the 8th grade," his wife, Lula, recalled. "He kind of pointed at me and said, 'I want you to be my girlfriend.'" The throught scared her; she knew her father would kill her if he heard her talking about a boyfriend.
Lula ended up remaining by Royal's side for the next 45 years.
"I always said it was his beautiful dazzling smile (with) beautiful teeth," she said. "I guess it was destiny we should be together."
Soon, a civil rights movement stirred a spirit in him to fight for equal rights. Royal's passion was relentless. He wanted nothing more than justice.
"He wanted to do so much for people," Lula said. "He wanted things to be right for people, and people knew this."
Royal served as the Abilene NAACP president and started an organization called Formation of HOPE, which stands for Help Opportunity People Education.
Royal carried the same passion he had for the community at home with his four children. Those children remember hard times, but are grateful for them.
"We thought he was crazy," his daughter, Michelle, said of the many hats her father wore in the community. "We didn't know where it was coming from as children. He was by all accounts a man with a mission."
In December 2008, after suffering two strokes in his lifetime, Claudie's heart gave way. He was 63. His last and final thought: Who will continue the fight?
"I couldn't have had a better dad. I'm thankful that I had unconditional love and that's what I miss most. I love him and I thank God for him."