2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn

2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn
© Stefani Reynolds

Democratic presidential candidates offered their condolences to House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Thursday after his wife, civil rights activist Emily Clyburn, passed away at the age of 80. 

"Jill and I are heartbroken this morning at the passing of Dr. Emily Clyburn. Throughout our years of friendship with the Clyburn family, she was always a force, pushing not only her husband," former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump says he is 'seriously' considering a capital gains tax cut Why Joe Biden is in trouble Harris favored as Biden edges closer to VP pick MORE said in a statement. 

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenators ask for removal of tariffs on EU food, wine, spirits: report Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Senate Democrats push to include free phone calls for incarcerated people in next relief package MORE (D-N.J.) also praised Clyburn, calling her "a force and a shining example of a servant's heart," while Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris favored as Biden edges closer to VP pick The Hill's Campaign Report: LIVE: Trump from Gettysburg | The many unknowns of 2020 | Omar among those facing primary challenges Sens. Markey, Cruz clash over coronavirus relief: 'It's not a goddamn joke Ted' MORE (D-Calif.) referred to her as a "pillar of her community." 

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South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegCNN's Ana Navarro to host Biden roundtable on making 'Trump a one-term president' Former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan dies How Republicans can embrace environmentalism and win MORE (D) commended Clyburn for her commitment to civil rights and education. 

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Clyburn, who also worked as a librarian, met her husband after they were arrested in a civil rights demonstration. The pair married in 1961. 

The congressman credited his wife for pushing him to run for office, saying that she told him “I just wonder when you are going to stop talking about South Carolina’s problems and start doing something about them” after he delivered a speech at a housing conference in 1971, according to The State.

The South Carolina politician has become a fixture in the state's politics, hosting his famous fish fry in June, which was attended by Democratic presidential candidates.