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150 years after his swearing in, SC Congressman honored on Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – “This is another indication of how historic South Carolina is,” Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) said Wednesday.

Born enslaved, South Carolina Congressman Joseph Rainey became the first African American to serve in the U.S House of Representatives.

For Clyburn, Rainey paved the way.

“I’ve always worshiped Joseph Rainey,” Clyburn said.

Now, Clyburn and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are unveiling an exhibit in Rainey’s honor on Capitol Hill.

Since Rainey, 160 Black lawmakers have served in Congress.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said he literally followed in Rainey’s his footsteps.

“140 years later, I was elected,” Scott said Wednesday.

Scott served in the same district as Rainey and said he continues to look at, “the example that he set for the nation and the party to follow.”

Clyburn said more needs to be done to continue the work Rainey started, “he would recognize how much we needed to do because he was there at the beginning.”

But both Clyburn and Scott believe following Rainey’s lead, that they can make it happen.

“If we’re gonna bring the country together, which should be our number one objective as we head into 2021, we’re gonna do so by looking at examples of people who did it under the worst of circumstances,” Scott added.

More tributes are expected for this weekend, on the 150th anniversary of Rainey’s swearing in.

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