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Avery Clayton, Renowned artist passes
By Sentinel News Service
Published December 3, 2009

Avery Clayton, Renowned artist passes

Avery Clayton, the Man and his Art

Though he carried on his mother’s legacy, he left his own legacy as a master artist and educator. 

Avery Clayton, artist, educator, entrepreneur, and historian, who carried on his mother’s vision of the continued development of a permanent home for her collection, has died. He was 62.  

Artist and former guidance counselor with the Pasadena school district, Clayton died suddenly of unknown causes on November 26 at a Thanksgiving gathering in his home in Culver City, according to Evelyn Davis, director of marketing for the Mayme A. Clayton Library and spokesperson for the family.  

In remembering Clayton, Congresswoman issued the following statement: “A transforming figure during his short lifetime, Avery Clayton epitomized the words: A gift to our community. It was shocking to hear of the passing of our beloved Avery Clayton, son of the former librarian Mayme Clayton, who was a collector of African American first edition books, photographs, film and other memorable treasures. Avery was a talented young man with a smile on his face and a warm “teddy bear hug” for his friends. We will miss him for many reasons but especially because of his dedication to preserving his mother’s historic collection of Black History artifacts.”

Born in Los Angeles on March 17, 1947, Clayton earned a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of California at Los Angeles. He is survived by his brothers Renai and Lloyd; nephews Renai Clayton Jr. and Andy Leevan Clayton; grand nephews William, Leland, Brandon, and grand niece Lauren Isabella.  

About the Mayme A. Clayton Library  

Founded in Los Angeles by Mayme Agnew Clayton (1923-2006), the Mayme A Clayton collection contains the largest independently held collection of rate and out-of-print books, documents, films, music, photographs, and memorabilia on the history and culture of Americans of African descent.  

It includes more than 30,000 volumes, with the earliest book published in 1773, and is rich in children’s literature and materials relating to the pre-Civic War period, sports, Blacks in the American West, and Black Hollywood. 

The film archive traces African American contributions to the motion picture industry from 1916 to the present and includes films and movie posters. The sheet music and record library as well as the photograph and memorabilia collections span the mid 19th century to the present. Efforts are currently under way to catalog the collections and make them publicly accessible.


Categories: Celebration of Life

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