James Clyburn, Highest Ranking African-American in Congress:
Clyburn is the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, and the most powerful Democrat in his home state. Clyburn's annual Fish Fry is the Democratic political event of the year in South Carolina.
Rep. James Clyburn in Congress:
In 1998, Clyburn was unanimously elected Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and won a coveted seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee. In 2002, he ascended to Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and to Caucus Chair in 2006.
House tradition is that the outgoing Majority Whip passes an actual ceremonial whip to the new Whip. Rep. Clyburn reportedly felt uncomfortable receiving a whip from a white man. He opted, instead, to hold the ceremonial whip jointly with the only other African-American to occupy the position, former Rep. William Gray (D-PA).
Congressional Caucuses and Committees:
- House Appropriations Committee
- Congressional Black Caucus
- Democratic Homeland Security Task Force
- Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus
- Congressional Human Rights Caucus
- Congressional Rural Caucus
- Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus
- Faith Working Group
- Chair, International Museum of African American History Steering Committee
- Rural Health Care Coalition
From college graduation in 1962 to 1974, Clyburn worked as (in chronological order):
- History teacher at C.A. Brown High School in Charleston
- South Carolina Employment Security counselor
- Executive Director, South Carolina Commissioner for Farmworkers
- Director, Neighborhood Youth Corps/New Careers
- Assistant to the Governor for Human Resources Development
He was jailed several times, including at the 1961 march on the South Carolina State Capitol that resulted in the landmark case, Edwards vs. South Carolina. While he was jailed with 387 other students in 1960, he met his wife, Emily England, a fellow student. They married a year later.
- Birth - July 21, 1940 in Sumter, South Carolina to Enos Clyburn, a fundamentalist preacher, and Almeta, a cosmetologist.
- Education - B.A. in history from South Carolina State College, 1962. Attended University of South Carolina Law School, 1972-74.
- Family - Married to Emily England since June 24, 1961. Three daughters, Mignon, Angela and Jennifer Clyburn Reed, a son-in-law, Walter Reed; and two grandchildren, Walter A Clyburn Reed and Sydney Alexis Reed.
- Faith - Christian, African Methodist Episcopal
Emily Clyburn, Married to Rep. Clyburn:
Now retired, she was honored in 2007 by the University of South Carolina College of Social Work for "distinguished courage and ability in effecting social change in the local area, state and nation."
For more, see Emily and James Clyburn Marriage Profile.