CBCF Statement on the Passing of Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Member Dr. Emily Clyburn

September 20, 2019                                                                                          

CJ Epps

WASHINGTON — The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) issued the following statement on the death of Dr. Emily England Clyburn. The CBCF Board of Directors, Corporate Advisory Council, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Spouses and staff collectively mourn the passing of Dr. Emily England Clyburn, longtime librarian and philanthropist, and wife of U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn, the highest- ranking African American in Congress.

Affectionately known to many as “Ms. Emily,” Dr. Clyburn served as a medical librarian at Charleston Naval Base and Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, S.C. for nearly 30 years; and as a public school librarian in Charleston and Columbia, S.C.

During her life, this civil rights demonstrator and activist, along with Congressman Clyburn — her husband of nearly 60 years — raised thousands of dollars to help young people cover the costs of a college education at their alma mater [South Carolina State University] and in the community.

“We offer our deepest condolences to Rep. Clyburn, his children and his entire family during this time of great loss,” said David A. Hinson, CBCF president and CEO. “Although we mourn Dr. Clyburn’s passing, we also celebrate and honor a great life and her lasting legacy for education. As a long-term supporter of the Mervyn L. and Stephanie Tubbs Jones Annual Scholarship Classic fundraiser which helps to underwrite CBCF’s scholarship program, Dr. Clyburn helped fulfill our collective, enduring commitment to empowering and educating current and future generations of leaders.”

“The Congressional Black Caucus Spouses are grateful for Emily Clyburn’s decades-long work and dedication to the Spouses and our initiatives and activities,” said Mrs. Dianne Cleaver, CBC Spouses chair, and ex officio member, CBCF board of directors. “Emily was one of the Spouses, along with a few others, who helped lead the original Spouses programming as well as the Spouses’ scholarship program. She loved seeing others succeed and loved the institution of education. Emily was also instrumental in creating a scholarship fund in her husband’s district. Her kind-hearted spirit, warmth and can-do attitude will be sorely missed.”


Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and educational institute committed to advancing the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy and educating the public. For more information, visit


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