(New York Times) – The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the South Carolina state senator who was reportedly killed during an attack at a historic black church Wednesday night, was a pioneering pastor who began preaching at 13 and was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives at 23, becoming the youngest African-American to be elected to the State Legislature.
Mr. Pinckney, 41, was born in Beaufort, S.C., and found his calling at an early age. After gaining notice for his charisma and his commitment to the church as a young teenager, he became a pastor at 18.
Mr. Pinckney became the pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2010, at age 26, and also led Bible studies and prayer sessions there.
A member of the Democratic Party, Mr. Pinckney showed an early passion for public service. After his election to the South Carolina House of Representatives, he was elected to the State Senate at 27. He served on numerous committees, including on finance, banking and insurance, transportation, medical affairs, and corrections and penology.