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Clementa Carlos Pinckney (July 30, 1973 – June 17, 2015) was an American politician and pastor who served as a Democratic member of the South Carolina Senate, representing the 45th District from 2000 until his death in 2015. He was previously a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1997 through 2000.
Clementa C. Pinckney
|Member of the South Carolina Senate
from the 45th district
January 2001 – June 17, 2015
|Margie Bright Matthews
|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives
from the 122nd district
January 1997 – January 2001
|Juanita Mitchell White
Clementa Carlos Pinckney
(1973-07-30)July 30, 1973
Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S.
|June 17, 2015(2015-06-17) (aged 41)
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
|Manner of death
|Saint James Cemetery
Marion, South Carolina, U.S.
|Allen University (BA)
University of South Carolina (MPA)
Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (M.Div.)
Wesley Theological Seminary
|Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
|Senior pastor (2010–2015)
Pinckney was born to a large family with six siblings in Beaufort, South Carolina. He began preaching at church at age thirteen and was appointed pastor at age eighteen. He graduated from several universities, including Allen University, and the University of South Carolina. He was also educated at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, and the Wesley Theological Seminary.
In 1996, Pinckney became the youngest African-American man elected to the South Carolina General Assembly at the age of twenty-three. While serving in the Senate, Pinckney was an advocate for civil rights. He prominently supported body cameras after the death of Walter Scott, and gained controversy after holding a rally about his death. He also unsuccessfully proposed a bill that would display the Pan-African flag at the South Carolina State House.
Pinckney was also a senior pastor at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. in Charleston. In 2015, Pinckney was assassinated by white supremacist Dylann Roof in a racially motivated terrorist mass shooting at an evening Bible study at his church. President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy and sang "Amazing Grace" at Pinckney's funeral nine days later.
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