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Mignon Clyburn (DEM) is the first woman and black woman to head the FCC. Clyburn, who is currently serving as acting Chairwoman, was appointed by President Obama this past May. Prior to her work on the commission, Clyburn was the co-owner, publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a weekly newspaper in Charleston that focused primarily on issues affecting the black community.

Clyburn is a graduate from the University of South Carolina. She holds a Bachelor or Science in Banking, Finance and Economics.

One of the many changes under Clyburn is the prison calling charge rate system. Prior to her changes, the calls could be $17 per 15 minutes, charged against the inmates living allowance. According to Clyburn, there are 2.7 million children with at least one parent in prison. Regulating the rates make communication easier for everyone. Clyburn also works on behalf of the disabled citizens, the media and the hard of hearing.

Commissioner Clyburn is a member of the Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service, Federal-State Joint Board on Separations, and the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Services, all of which she chaired for three years during her first term at the FCC.

Chariwoman Clyburn is currently working on wireless industry issues and an FCC study of Globalstar’s services that uses airwaves licensed for satellite services. She is also looking into problems consumers have completing wireless calls in rural areas. Clyburn is serving as Chair during one of the most heated fee debates in broadcast communication between CBS (CBS)-Time Warner Cable (TWC).

As she continues to make waves in the FCC, the commission awaits the U.S. Senate’s decision on whether or not Tom Wheeler will be head of the agency. Wheeler was initially appointed by the President in May and has yet to be fully confirmed. Clyburn was serving as interim acting Chairwoman.

Little Known Black History Fact: Mignon Clyburn  was originally published on