She attended Immaculata College where she received an Bachelor of Arts in 1963 and the a Master of Arts
She served in Baltimore, Maryland politics as both council president and council member for 24 out of the last 35 years as of 2010. From the University of Pennsylvania in 1966. Clarke, by profession, is a teacher.
She has instructed students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Professional Studies, the Maryland Institute College of Art and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
In the council
While running for office, Clarke pushed for integrated slates. She and her New Democratic Club forged alliances with Baltimore"s black democratic clubs in the 1970s resulting in the election of several African Americans to the City Council, as well as her own.
In the council, she forged alliances with her black colleagues, such as the one with Kweisi Mfume resulting in a Baltimore City mandate for smaller class sizes in the 1980s. 2007 election
Clarke faced two low-profile challengers in her 2007 re-election bid: one democrat, Tom Conradt, a University of Baltimore Law School graduate and burgeoning Baltimore political figure, in the primary election and one Republican in the general election.
Clarke was a founding board member of the Greater Homewood Community Corporation and later president and executive director Currently, as a member of the Baltimore City Council, Clarke is the Chair of the Education Committee, vice-Chair of the Judiciary and Legislative Investigation Committee, a member of the Budget and Appropriations Committee and the Land Use and Transportation Committee (highways & franchises subcommittee).