Xernona Clayton On Civil Rights And The Power Of Conversations

Jan 16, 2020

The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is coming up on Monday. The King Center announced this year’s theme is “The Beloved Community: The Fierce Urgency Of Now.”

The Reverend Dr. Bernice King, CEO of The King Center, says her father’s message of the ‘beloved community’ operates out of unconditional love, adding, "it’s not about who deserves anything...it’s about all human beings having this inherent worth and value.”

Xernona Clayton embodies those values. She worked with Dr. King and Coretta Scott King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in the late 60s. In 1967 she became the first African American in the southeast to have her own television program. She served 30 years as an executive at Turner Broadcasting System and founded the Trumpet Awards to recognizes accomplishments of African Americans.


Clayton joined On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott and three other panelists in front of a live audience for a screening of an American Story: Race Amity & The Other Tradition.

The conversation turned to how conversations with people normally considered “other” can plant the seeds of amity. Clayton spoke about her remarkable relationship with Calvin Craig, a grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan who credits her with his decision to denounce the Klan in 1968.

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