South Carolina Congressman, Jim Clyburn’s wife, Emily Clyburn passed away on Thursday. She was 80 years old.
Emily Clyburn — known as “Dr. Em” to many — was an esteemed librarian and political activist who played a key role in her husband’s political career.
The couple met when they were students at then-South Carolina State College and had been arrested during a March 1960 civil rights protest.
“We had been in jail all night, and they hadn’t fed us all day. I was standing there and I said to nobody in particular, ‘Boy, am I hungry,'” Clyburn recalled during a 2014 MSNBC interview. “There was this little 95-pound person standing nearby. Next thing, she is back with a hamburger. She offered it to me, then pulled it back. She tore it in half, gave me one half, and kept the other half for herself.”
A celebration of Emily Clyburn’s life and legacy will be held at Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia on Sunday. Clyburn’s office said her homegoing services would be held Monday at Morris Brown AME Church in Charleston.
They were married the following year and remained together for 58 years. The couple had three daughters.
The Clyburn family was honored by the March of Dimes with the 2013 African American Achievement Award. Congressman Clyburn, his wife Emily and daughters Angela Clyburn Hannibal, Jennifer Clyburn Reed and Mignon Clyburn were honored for their outstanding contributions to the African American community and significant impact on the state of South Carolina.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Clyburn family during their time of bereavement.