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Noted civil rights leader appointed to Charles Drew University board

March 3, 2009 |  1:57 pm

Xernona Clayton, a civil rights leader and the first African American woman in the South to host a daily prime-time TV talk show, has joined the board of trustees at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles, officials announced today.

Clayton, 78, worked closely with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped organize Atlanta's black doctors in the mid-1960s as part of an effort to push for  desegregation of hospitals nationwide.

Clayton also spearheaded the Trumpet Awards in the early 1990s, an annually televised awards show that highlights primarily African American accomplishments.

"I need another commitment like a hole in the head," Clayton said about the appointment, according to a statement from the university. "But what is more important than health?"

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz