Dr. Emily Clyburn- Librarian, Activist, Wife of Congressman Clyburn Dies at 80

Sep 19, 2019

Dr. Emily England Clyburn, wife of Congressman James Clyburn, Thursday morning. Dr. Clyburn was 80 year old.

Known as a driving force behind her husband’s political rise, the Berkeley County native was also a community activist in her own rite. Dr. Clyburn was a former librarian, often establishing programs at the schools she was employed. She also raised money for students to attend college. When Congressman Clyburn hosted his annual charity golf weekend in Santee, Dr. Clyburn also hosted her annual luncheon.

Dr. Clyburn graduated from Berkeley Training High School in Moncks Corner, the first public school for African Americans in the area and one of almost 500 Rosewald Schools.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Library Science from South Carolina State College (SCSU) in 1961, furthered her studies at Atlanta University and the University of South Carolina,  she received a Master in Librarianship in 1977.

According to a statement on Congressman Clyburn's website, Dr. Clyburn was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, from SCSU at its 2010 Spring Commencement.

South Carolina State University's president James E. Clark issued a statement, calling Dr. Clyburn a supportive wife who "left an indelible mark on everyone who came in contact with her." Other messages of condolences published to various social media sites included those of several members of Congressman and local government.

She and her husband Congressman Jim Clyburn, also a member of SCSU Class of 1961, were married for 58 years, after meeting in jail during one of his incarcerations for campus activism. In 2007, the two were featured on an episode of SCETV's The Big Picture and talked about how they met.

A celebration of her life and legacy will be held at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia at 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 22. Her Homegoing Services will be at Morris Brown AMEC in Charleston, SC at 11:00 am on Monday, September 23.  Her internment at Crescent Hill Memorial will be followed by a repast at Trinity Baptist Church in Columbia.