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Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black Hardcover – May 1, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161117337X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611173376
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

One of the ten best black books of 2014--The Skanner Newspaper, http://www.theskanner.com/entertainment/books/22244-the-ten-best-black-books-of-2014

"The remarkable life, career, and growing legacy of James Clyburn is a story that had to be told and is best told by he who lived it. The upward climb from obscurity to leadership positions in South Carolina and the United States Congress is inspiring and motivation to dream both long and large. The achievements are the more inspiring because Jim Clyburn achieved success as a State Official and National Leader coming from a State which still embraces and endorses the Confederacy, therefore racism. Mr. Clyburn, please keep up the good work and we pray much your strength!"--John H. Adams, 87th Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church

"Blessed Experience: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black" by Congressman James Clyburn is a revelation. This candid autobiography not only charts Clyburn's improbable rise to senior leadership positions in the House of Representatives but also powerfully illuminates America's struggle to free itself from the despair and discrimination that accompanied Jim Crow segregation. Clyburn's words make clear how central the role of local and grass roots activism was in the struggle to find racial justice in places like South Carolina, and helps us better understand the origins of Clyburn's lifelong commitment to help America became a country where fairness and equality trump bigotry and hopelessness. "--Lonnie G. Bunch, Founding Director, Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

"Teddy Roosevelt famously praised 'the man in the arena.' Jim Clyburn's inspirational memoir clearly shows the achievements of a man who has lived his life battling in the arena--a master

politician and leading figure in the civil rights movement in South Carolina, reflecting on his life and motivations."

-- Former U.S. senator Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings

"A remarkable chronicle of a remarkable life, Blessed Experiences provides a vivid and unforgettable portrait of the Jim Crow South on the eve of its extinction and of a man dedicated to bringing its oppression and injustice to an end. James Clyburn helps us remember our all-too-recent past and the struggles and sacrifices he and so many others endured to build a better world for us all."--Drew Gilpin Faust, President and Lincoln Professor of History, Harvard University

"Jim Clyburn's book Blessed Experiences has captured not just the history of this tireless leader's more-than-four decades in public service, but also a sense of the times. His professional life, which stretches from the Civil Rights Act to his current leadership position in the U.S. Congress, reflects the progress of the nation. While Jim has broken many barriers as the most significant African American member of Congress, his true success comes from his approach to collaboration on the national issues, as well as his ability to understand the needs of the constituency that he represents."--Warren Buffett

"There are few people with more character and integrity, or who have lived a more interesting and dynamic life, than Jim Clyburn. He has great insight, and it's been my honor to serve with him."-- Joe Biden

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.

Alfre Woodard is an Emmy Award-winning actress.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I am definitely recommending that my sons read this book.
ida washington
Mr. Clyburn's story is one of strength, courage, perseverance and empathy!
Catherine A. Corgill
It combines a compelling personal story with important history.
Diane T. Feldman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Laura on May 13, 2014
Format: Hardcover
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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Alston on May 20, 2014
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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L. Lowry on May 25, 2014
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.

THE BOOK SHOULD BE MADE MANDATORY READING FOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, ESPECIALLY THOSE IN SOUTHERN STATES!!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Charles Rittenberg on May 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
An amazing story on South Carolina history, politics and how to get things done in Washington. I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By ida washington on June 7, 2014
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beverly Klyce on July 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Since I was 12years old, I have worked around politicians, judges and lawyers, I have raised money, helped
Politicians dress correctly, listened, watched and learned a lot. I have been around presidential candidates,senator,s
Congressman,etc. I think after you read this book, you will not only admire the author for the things he has tolerated but the way he solved the problems. It is probably the best book I have ever read by a politician. He tells it just like it is. The USA is lucky to have this man. I live in SC and I am as. white as a snow man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By October on June 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It is interesting, well presented, and honest with humor to mediate the painful accounts. I have tremendous respect for this statesman. He is an exemplar of commitment to public service during a period in history when it would be less demanding, stressful, and frustrating to simply withdraw... but that behavior would not be true to the values he internalized in his youth. Thank you for sharing this great account of your life and service to America.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leon Czikowsky on August 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover
The author organized civil rights sit-ins during the 1960s. In 1971, he became the first Black person to be an Executive Staff member to a South Carolina Governor. He worked for four Governors, two Democrats and two Republicans.

Clyburn ran for a local office and ran for two statewide offices, losing each time. In 1992, he was elected to Congress. He was elected President of his Freshman Congressional Class. He later became Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and served in the House Leadership including four years as Majority Whip. He is now the Assistant Democratic Leader.

Clyburn believes the Democratic Party reforms that diminished the influence of party regulars went too far. Super Delegate to the National Convention status was provide to Democratic Party state chairs, vice chairs, Governors, and members of Congress. Clyburn supported Obama for President.

Clyburn denies he has a political machine but notes he has a personal following. He appreciates loyalty yet realizes it can not be given consistently or blindly. People should think freely, he notes.

From 1965 to 1958, the NAACP became less aggressive as it sought to win legal victories. 246 branches closed including 30 in South Carolina as regional membership fell from 128,716 to 79,677. The Core of Racial Equality was more aggressive and grew in membership.

In 1960, Clyburn was one of the Orangeburg Seven who planned a march. A sit in at a restaurant was planned. He and 387 of about 1,000 marchers were jailed. The U.S. Supreme Court would overturn their convictions.

Clyburn could "feel the fire burning in my belly" as he entered politics. Clyburn advocated creating a housing finance commission even though courts had ruled two previous efforts as unconstitutional.
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