ATLANTA, GA — Civil rights icon Xernona Clayton became the first woman to be enshrined with a statue in downtown Atlanta on March 8. The eight-foot statue with its arms open, propped high on a pedestal, looks down on Xernona Clayton Plaza, making the petite icon a giant in the cradle city of the modern Civil Rights Movement.
World renowned sculptor Ed Dwight created the bronze statue despite challenges with his vision. With her husband, Judge Paul Lawrence Brady by her side, Clayton announced that it would be his final commissioned project. “As he was making this statue he lost vision in his good eye,” Clayton said at a private dinner before the unveiling. “But if he could do this without seeing, imagine what he could do if he had vision.”
More than 20 speakers, including representatives from the Bahamas and Ghana, praised Clayton at the unveiling ceremony, which was followed by “High Heels in High Places,” an event honoring distinguished women in business and journalism. Among the “sheroes” honored at the dinner were Nashville’s icon Rosetta Miller-Perry, President/CEO Tennessee Tribune Newspaper and BNA News Stores, and Dr. LaDonna Boyd, President/CEO of R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation, and CEO OF California Black Media (CBM) Executive Director Regina Brown Wilson and L.A. Focus Publisher Lisa Collins.