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The Honorable James Clyburn

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Information about The Honorable James Clyburn

Profile image of The Honorable James Clyburn

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Fish (Fried)
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Favorite Quote:
While I Breathe, I Hope.

Birthplace

Born:
7/21/1940
Birth Location:
Sumter, South Carolina

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Fish (Fried)
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Favorite Quote:
While I Breathe, I Hope.

Birthplace

Born:
7/21/1940
Birth Location:
Sumter
See how The Honorable James Clyburn is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

United States Congressman James Enos "Jim" Clyburn was born on July 21, 1940 in Sumter, South Carolina to Enos Lloyd Clyburn, a fundamentalist minister, and Almeta Clyburn, a beautician. Clyburn was elected president of his NAACP youth chapter when he was twelve years old, and went on to help organize many civil rights marches and demonstrations as a student leader at South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University), where he graduated in 1962 with his B.S. degree in history. He later attended the University of South Carolina Law School.

Upon graduation from South Carolina State College, Clyburn was hired as a social studies teacher at C.A. Brown High School in Charleston, South Carolina. From 1965 to 1971, he worked as an employment counselor, a director of youth programs and led the South Carolina Farm Workers Commission. After an unsuccessful run for the South Carolina General Assembly, Clyburn joined the staff of Governor John C. West in 1971 and was appointed as the first minority advisor to a South Carolina governor. In 1974, he was named the South Carolina Human Affairs Commissioner. He served in that position until 1992 when he stepped down to run for U.S. Congress. In November of 1992, Clyburn was elected the U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 6th Congressional District, becoming the state’s first African American to serve in Congress since 1897.

As a Congressman, Clyburn was elected co-president of his freshman class in 1993, and was unanimously elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1998. In 2002, he won an election among three House members to serve as vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Clyburn rose to the position of caucus chair in January 2006, and in 2007, he became the first South Carolinian to serve as house majority whip. In 2011, he became the assistant house democratic leader and the third-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.

Clyburn has served as Steering Committee Chairman for the International Museum of African American History in Charleston, South Carolina, and as a member of the governing boards of Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina; Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina; and The Palmetto Conservation Foundation. In addition, he has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees by numerous colleges and universities, and has authored two books: Uncommon Courage: The Story of Briggs V. Elliott, South Carolina's Unsung Civil Rights Battle (2004); and Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black (2014).

Clyburn and his wife, Emily, live in Columbia, South Carolina. They have three daughters: Mignon, Jennifer Reed, and Angela Hannibal.

U.S. Congressman Jim Clyburn was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 20, 2014.

See how The Honorable James Clyburn is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable James Clyburn's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Clyburn lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about his family's affiliation with the Church of God
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about his mother's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his father's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his father's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about George Washington Murray
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about his research on George Washington Murray
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes the end of George Washington Murray's political career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about Francis L. Cardozo
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about the decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about the importance of historical fact checking
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his father's experiences at Morris College, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his father's experiences at Morris College, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about his father's honorary degree from Morris College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Clyburn talks about his father's career
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his father's first wife
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable James Clyburn lists his siblings
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his relationship with his brothers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable James Clyburn recalls a lesson from his father about diplomacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable James Clyburn remembers his neighborhood in Sumter, South Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable James Clyburn describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable James Clyburn remembers Lincoln High School in Sumter, South Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable James Clyburn recalls his early influences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable James Clyburn remembers enrolling at the Mather Academy in Camden, South Carolina