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Meet Emma Clarissa Williams, the First African American “Mother of the Year” Award Recipient

Emma Clarissa Williams was an African American theological educator who was named American Mother-of-the-Year on May 1, 1946. She was the first black woman to hold such an honor. An award, Clement accepted “in the name of millions of Negroes in the United States and in the name of all mothers.”

Emma Clarissa Williams
Williams was born in Providence, RI., and was the granddaughter of an escaped slave. After completing high school, she attended Livingston College where she graduated.


She married George C. Clement, Bishop, and AME Zion Church. After his death, Clement went on to raise her four sons and three daughters, four who became college professors.

At the age of 71, Clement received recognition for being an outstanding mother, religious educator, and civic leader. The honor was given by the Golden Rule Foundation. Clement’s son Rufus E. Clement, served at one time as President of Atlanta University. All of her children graduated from Livingston College. Emma C. Clement Elementary School in Atlanta is named after Clement. Emma Clement died in 1952.


Written by PH

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