James Clyburn grew up in Sumter, South Carolina. As a young man, he knew that someday he would be part of the political process in Washington, D.C. Today, he works in D.C. as a South Carolina congressman. Congressman Clyburn and other members of Congress work together in order to pass new laws.
Congressman Clyburn's interest in politics began while attending South Carolina State College in Orangeburg. During the 1960s, he enlisted other students to work for the Congress of Racial Equality, or CORE, a group that advocated civil rights. After graduating from college, Congressman Clyburn worked as a teacher and an employment counselor. Continuing his role in public service, he directed two youth and community development projects in Charleston, South Carolina. Congressman Clyburn entered State government in 1971, working under Governor John C. West. In 1974, Governor West appointed him the South Carolina Human Affairs Commissioner. As Commissioner, his duty was to eliminate discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. He remained commissioner until he was elected to Congress in 1992, his district's first African-American Congressman since 1897.
Congressman Clyburn works on issues and problems affecting both South Carolina and the United States. He has pushed for laws to preserve historic African-American schools and universities. In 1996, Congressman Clyburn helped create the South Carolina Heritage Corridor, a protected 200-mile route used to educate people about the state's history, culture, and natural landscapes. Congressman Clyburn also takes time to visit students in South Carolina schools. His message is, "it doesn't matter where you started from, you can be what you want to be. I often tell young people to hold fast to their dreams and never let others discourage them."