Remembering Dr. Emily Clyburn; librarian, activist and philanthropist

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Dr. Emily England Clyburn, wife of Congressman James Clyburn, passed away Thursday morning at 80-years-old.

Dr. Clyburn, known affectionately as Ms. Emily by many, was born in the Whitesville area of Berkeley County. She’s described as kind, dynamic and hardworking.

She graduated from Berkeley Training High School in Moncks Corner and earned a bachelor’s degree in Library Science from South Carolina State College (SCSU) in 1961.

It was in college where she met Dr. Jim Clyburn. They were jailed during campus activism in the 1960s. The pair recently celebrated 58 years of marriage.

She was a public school librarian in both Columbia and Charleston before spending 29 years as a medical librarian at the Charleston Naval Base and Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia. 

She was passionate about reading, and devoted most of her life to promoting literacy and education. The Clyburns raised millions of dollars in need-based scholarships.

They were incredibly loyal to SC State University; their alma mater. With the Emily England Clyburn Honors College Endowment, the SC State Honors College was re-established.

She is survived by her husband, Jim; three daughters: Former FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn, Jennifer Clyburn Reed (Walter) and Angela Clyburn Hannibal; four grandchildren: Walter A Clyburn Reed, Sydney Alexis Reed, Layla Joann Clyburn Hannibal, and Carter James Clyburn Hannibal. 

A celebration of her life and legacy will be held at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 22.

Her Homegoing Services will be at Morris Brown AMEC in Charleston, SC at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September 23. 

Her internment at Crescent Hill Memorial will be followed by a repast at Trinity Baptist Church in Columbia.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Emily England Clyburn Honors College Endowment at South Carolina State University and the Emily E. Clyburn Huddle Room at the Cathy Novinger Girl Scout Leadership Center in Columbia, SC.

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