Clinton Decatur Hazel was born circa 1863 in New Bern, North Carolina. Hazel was a minister in the A.M.E. Zion Church for more than forty years. He was a graduate of Brown University (1899) and of the divinity school at Yale University. Brown served as the presiding elder of the Wilmington District and as a professor at the Eastern North Carolina Industrial Academy at New Bern. He died in New Bern on June 21, 1926.