UNION COUNTY — One of the most senior members of the US House of Representatives will be the featured speaker at the Union County Branch of the NAACP’s Freedom Fund Banquet.
Rep. Jim Clyburn has represented South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District since 1993. He is now the third-ranking Democrat in the US House of Representatives where he serves as Assistant Democratic Leader.
And on Saturday, May 13, Clyburn will address the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet at 6 p.m. at the Pacolet River Baptist Association in Union.
In a March 6 letter to Union County Branch of the NAACP President James Rice, Clyburn thanked the NAACP for its invitation to address the banquet.
“I am honored to accept and, barring any unforseen Congressional business, look forward to being with you for this important event,” Clyburn stated.
When he first arrived in Cogress in 1993, Clyburn was elected co-president of the freshman class, beginning what became a quick rise through the leadership ranks of House Democrats and of the House itself. In 1998, Clyburn was elected Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and, in 2002, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. Three years later he was unanimously elected Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and, when the Democratic regained the majority in the House, we chosen by his colleagues to serve as House Majority Whip.
Clyburn’s biography states that as a national leader he has championed rural and economic development with many of his initiatives becoming law. This includes his 10-20-30 federal funding formula which was inserted into four sections of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which requires that 10 percent of appropriated funds be directed to communities where 20 percent or more of the population have lived at or below the poverty level for the past 30 years. Clyburn’s article on the program was published in the Harvard Journal on Legislation and this year the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, a Republican, supported the formula’s inclusion in several accounts of House Appropriations bills.
In 2011, Clyburn received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association for his legislation that established the Rural Energy Savings Program. That program allows electric cooperatives to make low-interest loans to their members to retrofit and weatherize their homes. These loans are then repaid through their monthly utility bills.
The biography also describes Clyburn as a passionate supporter of historic preservation and restoration programs. It states that his initiatives have restored scores of historic buildings and sites on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities. His legislation has created the South Carolina National Heritage Corridor and the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. He authored legislation that elevated the Congaree National Monument to a National Park, and he proposed model legislation for President Obama’s proclamation which established the Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina’s Low Country.
Clyburn began his professional career as a public school teacher in Charleston. Before being elected to the House, he directed two community development programs, served on the staff of a governor, and ran a state agency for four governors — two Democrats and two Republicans.
The biography states Clyburn’s memoir, “Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black,” was published by the University of South Carolina Press in 2015. It states that the memoir has been described as a primer that should be read by every student interested in pursuing a career in public service.
It further states that Clyburn’s humble beginnings in Sumter as the eldest son of an activist, fundamentalist minister, and an independent, civic-minded beautician grounded him securely in family, faith, and public service. He was elected president of the NAACP youth chapter at 12 years old; helped organize many civil rights marches and demonstrations as a student leader at South Carolina State College; and even me his wife, Emily, in jail following a student demonstration.
The Clyburns have been married since June 1961 and are the parents of three daughters: Minon, Jennifer Reed, and Angela Hannibal; two sons-in-law, Walter Reed and Cecil Hannibal; and four grandchildren, Walter A. Clyburn Reed, Sydney Alexis Reed, Layla Joann Clyburn, and Carter James Clyburn Hannibal.
Ticket to the Freedom Fund Banquet are now on sale. Individual tickets cost $30.
There are also Platinum Tables which can be purchased for $400. They seat eight and those that purchase a Platinum Table also get an ad in the banquet’s souvenir program bulletin.
There also are Gold and Silver tables for $250 and $240, respectively. They also each seat eight.
For more information on contact Union County Branch of the NAACP President James Rice at 864-429-5630; Assistant Secretary Carolyn Glenn at 864-429-9392; and Treaurer Willie Browning at 864-429-3301.