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Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black [Kindle Edition]

James E. Clyburn , Alfre Woodard

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Book Description

From his humble beginnings in Sumter, South Carolina, to his prominence on the Washington, D.C., political scene as the third highest-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives, U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn has led an extraordinary life. In Blessed Experiences, Clyburn tells in his own inspirational words how an African American boy from the Jim Crow–era South was able to beat the odds to achieve great success and become, as President Barack Obama describes him, "one of a handful of people who, when they speak, the entire Congress listens."

Born in 1940 to a civic-minded beautician and a fundamentalist minister, Clyburn began his ascent to leadership at the age of twelve, when he was elected president of his National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) youth chapter. He broke barriers through peaceful protests and steadfast beliefs in equality and justice. Of his success Clyburn says he was "blessed with nurturing parents, a supportive family, and loyal friends." But, he added, "my life was not just about knocking down doors and lowering barriers. I spent some time marching in the streets and occupying the inside of South Carolina jails." As a civil rights leader at South Carolina State College, as human affairs commissioner under John C. West and three subsequent governors, and as South Carolina's first African American congressman since 1897, Clyburn has established a long and impressive record of public leadership and advocacy for human rights, education, historic preservation, and economic development.

Clyburn was elected to Congress in 1992. Serving as copresident of his freshman class, he rose quickly through the ranks and was elected chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1999 and House Democratic Caucus vice chair in 2002. Three years later he was unanimously elected chair of the Democratic Caucus. When Democrats regained the House majority in 2006, Clyburn was elected House majority whip. Now as assistant Democratic leader in the 112th Congress, Clyburn, a self-described independent, prides himself on working to overcome barriers and destroy myths without becoming too predictable. "I have worked across party lines to further legislative causes, and on occasion publicly differed with some of my allies in the civil rights community," says Clyburn. "My experiences have not always been pleasant, but I have considered all of them blessings."

Product Description


"A most welcome memoir by a remarkable role model of unquestioned character."-- Kam Williams

About the Author

James E. Clyburn has represented South Carolina's sixth district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1993, and he currently serves as Assistant Democratic Leader of the House. He has been married to the former Emily England since June 1961, and they have three daughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren. The Congressman and his wife live in Columbia, South Carolina, USA.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6198 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (22 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00II70RT6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,410,221 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and must read for the betterment of our future! 13 May 2014
By Laura - Published on
Started this reading last night after hearing Congressman Clyburn speak. Couldn't put it down. An important book to share with generations to come. Lessons in every chapter. He tells a story of his life and teaches us how we must find common ground. Treat each other with kindness and find tolerance. Proud to have met him and thrilled to be reading this important work.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellenct !!! 20 May 2014
By Michael A. Alston - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this book to inspirational, motivational and uplifting from a man who has been one of my role models in our community. Being an African-American who grew up South Carolina, it was a unforgettable struggle. As a young adult, I have always wondered why he made some decisions. This book provided me a better understanding of some of the oral history my father shared with me.

The Honorable James E. Clyburn has always been a steadfast advocate for those without a voice and a committed leader. His tenacity, endurance, fortitude, patience and faith provides a living example of what it means to be “Genuinely Southern and Proudly Black.”

Overall, I have added this book to my sons required reading list.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book. Should Be Mandatory Reading For High School Students. 25 May 2014
By Daniel L. Lowry - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Being an African American, who is seventy-five years old and from the small town of York, South Carolina, I grew up with experiences similar to those that Congressman Clyburn faced. As I read the book, I could feel the pain that those of us African Americans who grew up in and lived through during the Jim Crow era of the South. His revelations are inspirational and motivational. It shows how the races can come together ONCE we get to know and understand each others culture.

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing story on South Carolina history... 2 May 2014
By Charles Rittenberg - Published on
An amazing story on South Carolina history, politics and how to get things done in Washington. I highly recommend it.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Living History 8 Jun. 2014
By ida washington - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is living history to me. It is well written and is an inspiration to read. I am definitely recommending that my sons read this book.
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