By Sonya Jenkins
U. S. Presidential Honoree, Civil Rights Leader and Trumpet Awards Creator Xernona Clayton celebrated her 92 nd birthday August 30, 2022. For a pre-celebration, the powerful advocate who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the civil rights movement and the first African American woman to host a television show in the south, celebrated with family, friends and delegates of the Xernona Clayton Foundation, which featured a brunch cruise on the StarShip yacht and a dinner soirée the weekend of August 18-21 in Tampa, Florida.
During the weekend of events, Clayton also led her friends and delegates in a morning of giving back by making a food bank donation to Metropolitan Ministries and giving support and gifts to a single mother with three children in Tampa.
“I am so honored to bless others,” Clayton said. “Just being here and having my family and
friends join me for my 92 nd birthday is a huge blessing.”
Clayton said she’s also blessed to have a good man in her home. She has been married to 95- year-old Judge Paul L. Brady, the first African American to be appointed as a Federal
Administrative Law Judge, for almost 50 years.
While giving back is an integral part of Xernona’s Clayton’s life, honors and accolades for her past and present work and philanthropic contributions continue to pour in. Clayton was
recently a recipient of this year’s “The Joseph Biden Lifetime Achievement Award.” The
Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis will honor Clayton at the Salute to Women in
Leadership Gala, Friday, September 9.
The City Council of Atlanta has approved the erection of a statue of Ms. Xernona Clayton
crafted by world- renowned sculptor, Ed Dwight of Denver, Colorado. The statue will be located in the heart of Atlanta as approved by the City Council and serve as a special reminder of the invaluable contributions Clayton has made to the city, the state, and the nation.
About Xernona Clayton:
About, news / By admin
Xernona Clayton is the Founder, President and CEO of the Trumpet Awards Foundation,
Inc. and Creator and Executive Producer of the Foundation’s Trumpet Awards. The
Trumpet Awards is a prestigious event highlighting African American accomplishments and
contributions. Initiated in 1993 by Turner Broadcasting, the Trumpet Awards has been
televised annually and distributed internationally to over 185 countries around the world.
Ms. Clayton began her television career in 1967 and became the south’s first Black person
to have her own television show. The Xernona Clayton show was a regular feature on
WAGA-TV, CBS affiliate in Atlanta.
Xernona Clayton was employed at Turner Broadcasting for nearly 30 years where she
served as a corporate executive. In 1988, Xernona Clayton was appointed Corporate Vice
President for Urban Affairs with Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. In this capacity, she
directed internal and external projects for the Corporation, and served as liaison between
Turner Broadcasting (TBS SuperStation, CNN, Headline News, TNT, Atlanta Braves and
Atlanta Hawks) and civic groups in Atlanta and across the country. As a corporate
executive, Ms. Clayton was one of the highest-ranking female employees in Turner
Xernona moved to Atlanta in 1965 where she accepted a position with the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference and worked closely with the late Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr. Ms. Clayton also traveled extensively with Mrs. Coretta Scott King on her nationwide
Dedicated to promoting racial understanding, Xernona Clayton has been a leader in civic
projects and civil rights activities for several years. In 1966, she coordinated the activities of
Atlanta’s Black doctors in a project called Doctors’ Committee for Implementation, which
resulted in the desegregation of all hospital facilities in Atlanta. This project served as a
model and a pilot for other states throughout the country and received national honor from
the National Medical Association for its impact.
Her persistent fight against the dragons of prejudice and bigotry was never more apparent
than in 1968, when the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan denounced the Klan and credited
Xernona’s influence with his change.
Ms. Clayton’s dedication to the community is reflected in the many hours she spends
promoting human relations through bi-racial groups devoted to improving racial
A recipient of numerous media awards, Xernona has been widely honored for her
contributions to humanity. She is included in various editions of some very impressive
“The Peaceful Warrior” a biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. authored by her late
husband Ed Clayton and co-authored by Xernona in the revised editions, has been
published in several languages. Xernona Clayton’s autobiography, “I’ve Been Marching
All the Time”, was published in 1991.
In private life, she is married to Judge Paul L. Brady. She is a member of Ebenezer Baptist
Church, formerly co-pastored by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
In recognition of Xernona’s contribution to broadcasting, her community and the nation, the American Intercultural Student Exchange (AISE) has created a scholarship in her honor.
Each year, since 1987, Ms. Clayton chooses an outstanding minority high school student to
spend a year living abroad with a European family, all expenses paid. The Xernona
Clayton Scholarship is dedicated to increasing open relationships, internationally, through
a global high school student exchange program. Additionally, the Atlanta Association of
Black Journalists named its scholarship in her honor and annually presents the Xernona
Clayton Scholarship to a student pursuing a career in communications.
NAMIC (the National Association of Minorities in Cable) presented, to Ms. Clayton, its
highest award, the Mickey Leland Award, which honors the late United States
Congressman. Xernona, along with former Congressman Kweisi Mfume and the late
Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown, was awarded the 1996 Distinguished Leadership
Award by NAFEO (The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education) at
impressive ceremonies in Washington, D.C. She also received NAFEO’s 2003 Corporate
Award. She has received Honorary Doctorate of Letters Degrees from Clark Atlanta
University, Tennessee State University and Alcorn State University. A school was recently
named in her honor in Ghana, West Africa.
She was additionally honored in 2004 with two very impressive awards. Spelman College
presented Ms. Clayton the first Local Community Service Award, for her continued
dedication to leadership in the community. The State of Georgia Commission on Equal
Opportunity presented her with the Leadership and Dedication in Civil Rights Award.
Along with her other honors, she has received the first Coretta Scott King Award from the
SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) the Madam C. J. Walker Award from
EBONY’S Outstanding Women in Marketing and Communications and the Outstanding
Corporate Professional Award from the PowerNetworking Family. The Atlanta City
Council honored her by naming a street and a park in downtown Atlanta.
Upon the announcement of Xernona’s appointment as the first Black female corporate
executive, Ted Turner said, “Xernona has an impressive record of accomplishments and we
are proud to recognize her commitment to bettering human relations with this promotion.”