I currently serve as Assistant Democratic Leader, the number-three Democrat in the United States House of Representatives. In 1992, I was elected to represent the 6th Congressional District of South Carolina, where I became the first African American to represent South Carolina in the U.S. Congress since 1897.
I am the eldest son of an activist, fundamentalist minister and an independent, civic-minded beautician.
Before coming to Congress, I served as a public school teacher, employment counselor and Director of two youth and community programs. In 1971, I became the first African American advisor to a South Carolina Governor since post Reconstruction. Four years later Governor John Carl West appointed me South Carolina Human Affairs Commissioner, a position I held for almost 18 years serving four Governors—two Democrats and two Republicans.
In addition to serving as Assistant Democratic Leader, I serve as Chair of the House Democrats' Faith Working Group and the Democratic Outreach and Engagement Task Force. I am a Life Member of the NAACP, a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and am a 33rd Degree Mason and Shriner. I’m also a proud graduate of South Carolina State College, and the recipient of 30 Honorary Degrees from various colleges and universities.
My wife, Emily and I have been married since June 1961, and we have three daughters, Mignon Clyburn, Angela (Cecil) Hannibal and Jennifer (Walter) Reed, and four grandchildren, Walter A Clyburn Reed, Sydney Alexis Reed, Layla Joann Clyburn Hannibal and Carter James Clyburn Hannibal.