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Eva M. Clayton, center, is pictured with Gov. and Mrs. Roy Cooper.

On the evening of Nov. 15, Eva M. Clayton and five other distinguished North Carolinians were awarded the 2022 North Carolina Award by Roy Cooper, governor of the state of North Carolina, and D. Reid Watson, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.  Nominees for this award are recognized in the categories of fine arts, literature, public service, and science.

Clayton was the recipient of this award for her many years of public service.  This includes her service at the local, state, national and international levels.  An early stint at public service in her community led citizens of Warren County to register and vote.  Later, she was elected and served as chairman of the Warren County Board of Commissioners.

Gov. Jim Hunt appointed her as assistant secretary to the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources during his administration. giving her the opportunity to serve the people of this state.  

Clayton was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where she served the citizens of North Carolina’s First Congressional District for 10 years.  She was this state’s first African American female to do so, and was only the second African American to serve in this capacity.  While serving in the US Congress, Clayton was a member of the Agriculture Committee and defended the needs of farmers and other agricultural interests in her district.

Upon Clayton’s retirement from the United States Congress, she accepted the assistant director-general position with the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy.  She and her team assisted in the establishment of 24 national alliances in countries around the world that were designed to reduce hunger and malnutrition.

Accompanying Clayton to the North Carolina Museum of Art for a reception, dinner, and the awards ceremony were family members and friends from Durham, Henderson, Littleton, Knightdale, Raleigh and Warrenton.