Rep. James Clyburn To Release Book On Black Congressional History
Rep. James Clyburn has secured a new book deal that will center on a piece of American congressional history. The novel, titled “The First Eight,” will detail the lives and work of eight Black congressmen in South Carolina during the post-Civil War period.
The announcement was made by the book’s publisher, Little, Brown and Company, on Sept. 20, with a release date yet to be revealed. Clyburn’s “passion project” is especially connected to his own background, as he is the first Black congressman to represent South Carolina since the elected officials of the late 19th century, as confirmed by The Associated Press. Before the Democrat made history with his appointment to Congress in 1992, the sole Black representative for the state before him was George Washington Murray, who held the position in the 1890s.
Clyburn issued a statement on the news, sharing that he wishes to recognize the elected officials’ impact on the southern state despite the racism that threatened their efforts,
“The lives and legacies of these ‘unique eight’ have been known to me for some time, but it is clear to me from my conversations in my home state and around the country that their contributions and significances are not well known and appreciated nor are the devious and dubious circumstances and conditions that were made legal by state and federal actions that ended Black representation in the South.”
- The first eight congressmen of South Carolina entered the national political sphere during a turbulent time in the United States when Jim Crow infiltrated the South and became a new code of law. His work will seek to solidify their legacies in American society while also shedding light on how the pervasiveness of Jim Crow laws led to the centuries-long gap in Black representation.
This will be Clyburn’s third novel, as he has written on South Carolina’s place in the fight for racial equity and civil rights, in addition to his autobiography.