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Focus on Manatee: Here’s your chance to experience living history in the Bradenton area

It’s rare for us to have the opportunity to visit and engage with someone who has been as powerful in American History as Dr. Xernona Clayton.

Plan to join us as the Bradenton area proudly welcomes back the iconic civil rights leader to the Manatee Performing Arts Center as she debuts her one-woman show, “Xernona Clayton: Living History.”

Dr. Clayton is the creator of The Trumpet Awards, which — for more than 25 years — have highlighted African-American accomplishments and contributions and have been televised annually in more than 185 countries.

She also served as a CNN executive for 31 years and was the first African-American in the south to have her own television show.

But even before Dr. Clayton established these awards and took to the screen, she served many other important roles, shaping her into one of the most notable activists of our time.

Elliott Falcione mug.jpg
Elliott Falcione is the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Dr. Clayton was a close associate and ally of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she aided greatly in the desegregation of Atlanta hospitals and was instrumental in combating the Ku Klux Klan in the south. So much so that in 1968, “Grand Dragon” denounced the Klan, crediting her influence.

She has received countless awards throughout her life for her leadership and fight against racial intolerance. We are honored to be offering her one-woman show in The Bradenton Area to Southwest Florida audiences.

“Xernona Clayton: Living History” is open to the public and premiers at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Manatee Performing Arts Center.

The special two-hour event promises to be an inspirational afternoon, featuring stories from Dr. Clayton’s personal experiences in the world of civil rights activism during a tumultuous time in American history.

Get tickets online at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. Opportunities to meet leaders such as Dr. Clayton are rare, so take advantage and join us for a moving afternoon.

Elliott Falcione is the executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and can be reached at or 941-729-9177, ext. 3940.