Eva Clayton received her B.S. degree in biology from Johnson C. Smith University in 1955. She then obtained her M.S. degree in biology and general science from North Carolina Central University in 1962.
Clayton sought election to Congress in a north –central North Carolina district after receiving the encouragement of civil rights activist and attorney Vernon Jordan. She became the first Black woman elected to U.S. Congress in North Carolina. Clayton served with distinction for ten years as the U.S. Representative of North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.