Black History Month – Clementa Pinckney, Pastor and State Senator

By Guest Blogger, Yahtzeebutterfly


Rev. Clementa Pinckney

Rev. Senator Clementa Pinckney was both a strong, inspirational leader and a caring, compassionate servant to his community.  It is my hope that he will be remembered in history books and during future Black History Months and also that his legacy will lead others to follow in his path.

Born July 30, 1973, in Beaufort, SC, Pinckney became a pastor at the age of 18 and a state representative at the age of 23. He was 27 when he became a state senator, a position he held until a white supremacist’s bullet took his life on June 17, 2015.

I watched a video where Rev. Pinckney explained to a group visiting the Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston why he chose to be both a pastor and a state legislator:

There are many people who say, “Why would you as a preacher, why would you as a pastor, be involved in public life?” And, I’ve already said it, but I’ll say it again.  Our calling is not just within the walls of a congregation, but we are part of the life of the community in which the congregation resides.

( I will post that video in the comment section on this page after Xena publishes this post for me.)



Pinckney Family Photo

State Sen. Marlon Kimpson said that Sen. Pinckney “was the moral conscience of the General Assembly,” and state Sen. Katrina Shealy noted, “His words were always well thought out… he always stopped by to ask how you were doing and shake your hand or pat you on the back.  He was a good man.”

Among the bills that Clementa Pinckney authored or co-sponsored  both as a state representative and a state senator were:


H 4297 “A bill…to provide that a person’s privilege to vote is automatically reinstated once he is released on parole.”

H 4298 “A bill…to provide that the federal holiday celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is a required state holiday.”

H 4300 “A bill to amend section 59-40-50, code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, relating to procedures and requirements pertaining to charter schools, so as to provide that in meeting the racial composition requirements, actual enrollment with the required parameters must be achieved and a showing of good faith effort to meet such racial requirements is not sufficient.”

H4301 “A joint resolution proposing an amendment to Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution of South Carolina, 1895, relating to the system of free public schools, so as to provide that the General Assembly by law shall provide for the manner in which funding of all public school districts must be equalized.

H 4212 Summary of bill: Children’s Health Care Act, Medical, Minors, Insurance, Hospitals, Kidcare, Healthy Kids Corporation:

S 1248 “Clean Elections Act”

In a posted YouTube video titled SC Clean Elections, Sen. Pinckney explains

“So the Clean Elections Bill is a way to really give elections back to the voters.  It takes this whole specter of private money, PAC money, lobbyist money out of the equation. It allows for candidates to concentrate their races on the voters and not concentrate on “How can I please those who fund my campaign.” 

S 0401 “A joint resolution…to authorize a procedure by which a candidate for elective office may finance his campaign with public funds as the General Assembly may determine.”

S 1504 A bill…to reapportion the specific election districts from which members of the Jasper County Board of Education shall be elected…

S 0884 “A bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 23-31-30. so as to provide that a firearms dealer shall conduct various background checks, evaluations, and interviews to determine if a person is mentally fit prior to selling or otherwise transferring an assault rifle to the person.”

For any of you who might have missed Clementa Pinkney’s state senate speech in response to the released video of the killing of Walter Scott, here it is:

South Carolina and our country lost a great, caring leader on June 17, 2015.  In the words of Rev. Norvel Goff (on CBS This Morning), Clementa Pinckney was “A very energetic, promising, very active pastor and political leader in our state who had a bright future.”

I would like to conclude here with this tribute video to Clementa Pinckney:



Posted on 02/17/2016, in Black History Month, civil rights, Emmanuel 9, Potpourri and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    Here is the video which I referred to in my article where Rev. Pinckney speaks to a group visiting the Mother Emanuel church:

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “His life and his death was to better mankind”

    Liked by 1 person

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Rev. John Dear wrote of him:

      “Rev. Clementa Pinckney. What a good pastor, what a great community leader, what a rare Christian visionary!

      “He did so much good in his 41 years, such as speaking out prophetically, loudly and clearly in recent months against police brutality and systemic racism.

      His death is such a loss, but I give thanks for his beautiful life and example. People like this great man inspire me to work for justice and peace as a church person. “

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Gone much too soon…RIP

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    President Obama observed in his eulogy that Clementa Pinckney:

    “As a senator, he represented a sprawling swathe of low country, a place that has long been one of the most neglected in America, a place still racked by poverty and inadequate schools, a place where children can still go hungry and the sick can go without treatment — a place that needed somebody like Clem.

    “His position in the minority party meant the odds of winning more resources for his constituents were often long. His calls for greater equity were too-often unheeded. The votes he cast were sometimes lonely.

    “But he never gave up. He stayed true to his convictions. He would not grow discouraged. After a full day at the Capitol, he’d climb into his car and head to the church to draw sustenance from his family, from his ministry, from the community that loved and needed him. There, he would fortify his faith and imagine what might be.

    “Reverend Pinckney embodied a politics that was neither mean nor small. He conducted himself quietly and kindly and diligently. He encouraged progress not by pushing his ideas alone but by seeking out your ideas, partnering with you to make things happen.

    He was full of empathy and fellow feeling, able to walk in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Rev. Clementa Pinckney talks about black political participation”

    Published on Jun 18, 2015
    Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a senior pastor and South Carolina state senator, was one of the nine people to die in Wednesday night’s shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.

    In the 2012 documentary, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,” Pinckney was asked why black political participation mattered. Here’s what he said:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent video Yahtzee- thanks for posting!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        YW, Suprabutterfly. I, too, think Rev. Pinckney gave an excellent answer to Henry Louis Gates’ question about why Black political participation mattered.

        Rev. William Barber in his sermon after the shooting observed:

        “Rev. Pinckney, in the tradition of one of Emanuel AME’s founders, Denmark Vesey — Denmark Vesey challenged slavery — and like him, Rev. Pinckney challenged the overt and covert voices and acts of racism that are still too much a part of our Southern society, I would even say our national society.

        “Rev. Pinckney challenged as a pastor. He was doing what pastors are supposed to do, being priestly and pastoral and prophetic.

        “And his church was priestly, pastoral and prophetic. They challenged the polices and practices that have a racially disparate impact on African Americans and other minorities. They were challenging in South Carolina the denial of Medicaid expansion that’s causing God’s children to literally die when they could live.

        “They were challenging the suppression of black and minority votes. They were challenging the slashing of funds for public schools. They were challenging the refusal of labor rights, the refusal of that state and other states to pay a living wage. They were challenging the continual flying of the Confederate flag — not the flag of an army but the flag of a terrorist group, a flag like ISIS’, a flag like the other terrorists that we would not let fly over any capitol in this state. They were challenging the policies that uphold institutional racism and classism.

        “That’s what Rev. Pinckney and his members were doing. And here is where America, too much of America, has missed the message — especially now when you see some politicians crying and saying how sad it is but refusing to own their own part in helping to create the climate that will kill.”

        Liked by 1 person

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Thanks, Suprabutterfly.

      I want to share this 2010 video with you of State Sen. Pinckney at work in the SC State Legislature:

      “Sen Pinckney For the Economic Incentives”


  6. Rest in Peace Clementa Pinckney

    Liked by 1 person

  7. yahtzeebutterfly

    “State Sen. Sheheen (Dem.) was desk-mates with Clementa Pinckney. Here he remembers Clementa Pinckney” :

    “When I was elected to the State Senate, I was thirty three years old. I was young. I was a man. I was going to be the youngest person in the Senate until I walked in the door and saw Clementa Pinckney who was thirty years old.

    “He would say that I was his brother. It’s been an honor sitting next to him.

    He said that what we need in the United States, and I think it’s true here in South Carolina, what we need in the United States is not division. What we need in the United States is not hatred. What we need in the United States is not biased and lawlessness, but love and wisdom and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country whether they beWhite or Black.

    “Make no mistake about what happened to our friend happened because he spoke words like that.

    “We talk a lot about freedom and justice and equality in this chamber, but he paid the price. And, think of the irony that the most gentle of all forty six of us in this chamber, the best of all forty six of us in this chamber is the one who lost his life.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Clementa was a peaceful person,” said Jennifer Pinckney, the widow of the late preacher and South Carolina state senator Clementa Pinckney, during a visit to Duke University to talk about gun control, race and faith. “He was all about peace.”

    Jennifer Pinckney survived the Charleston massacre that took her husband’s life and the lives of eight others. “I want him to smile down on us. I want him to be proud. I want to carry on his work.”

    Pinckney started a foundation in her husband’s name to continue his support of public education and health care access. She also serves on the Women’s Coalition for Common Sense, a gun control reform group convened by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, herself a victim of a mass shooting.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. WOW I so enjoyed this blog, the videos were very awaking……… RIP..

    Liked by 2 people

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      I think the Rev. Pinckney inspired so many people on such a deep level that they will carry on his work and also pass on the great loving spirit that moved and strengthened their pastor to do great things.


      • yahtzeebutterfly

        I truly believe that Rev. Pinckney was inspired and guided by the spirit of these Bible verses:

        May you rest in peace and the power of His love, Rev. Pinckney.


  10. My uncle knew Rev. Pinckney. He was his barber many years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Thanks for sharing that, Lionel. Your uncle must have had interesting discussions with Rev. Pinckney.

      By the way, I enjoyed listening awhile back to one of your Bible sharings.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. yahtzeebutterfly

    For those of you who might be interested, I am posting here the link to Rev. William Barber’s sermon he preached following the shooting of the Emanuel Nine:

    “Messages America must hear from Charleston: Rev. Barber’s sermon on the Emanuel AME massacre”

    In his sermon Rev. Barber helps us understand that, while it was Dylan Roof who physically killed the Emanuel Nine, it was the system in our country that allows hate, racial violence, and discrimination by not addressing and rooting it out that also has to be recognized as being responsible for the killing of the Emanuel Nine. Rev. Barber pointed out:

    We must understand what happened when the family members said they forgive him. Don’t, don’t misinterpret that, particularly white America. Don’t misinterpret that, black America. Don’t misinterpret that. You know, Dr. King said don’t misinterpret our nonviolence for non-action. No, don’t do that. The Scripture says, and this is one that black people know if you’ve been to Bible study, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against powers, principalities, rulers of the darkness in high places.” Paul was talking about government. He wasn’t talking about no little guy with a pitchfork. He was talking about the government. He was talking about the systems of Rome and injustice. He recognized that the system — we used to call it The Man — can do a job on you. And that’s what was going on when they were in the courtroom saying, “We forgive you.” …

    So when they forgive, it’s what I call “prophetic forgiveness.” See, what they’re saying to America, “We’re not going to let you blame all of this on this boy.” Y’all better hear what they’re doing. Those old South Carolina folk, they got something down there. That’s some spiritual folk. They’re saying, “Unh-unh, get away, governor, talking about you’re going to give him the death penalty. We don’t even want the death penalty, ’cause that’s just killing the perpetrator, that ain’t killing the killer.” What they’re saying is if America is serious about this moment we cannot just cry ceremonial tears while at the same time refusing to support the martyred reverend and his parishioners’ fight against racism…

    These brave family members are telling America you cannot just focus on one man. And they are asking us to forgive the sinner but to hate the sin. And by doing that they are issuing a clarion call out of their pain — ’cause what you do when you’re in pain tells you who your God is — they are saying out of their pain and loss to this society, “If you really want to deal with this you got to embrace justice, equality and love.” … Remember Dr. King once said it’s either nonviolence or non-existence. These brave folk operating in their faith are saying, “We’ve got to forgive him. We have no choice. Because until we deal with the issue of race and poverty and violence we just put all of our hate on this one boy and we don’t deal with the issues our nation will be torn asunder. Not just the soul of the nation, but the nation itself.”


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