CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) — Tributes have poured in for a Lowcountry civil rights leader and a former South Carolina Democratic Party political director.
Abe Jenkins, 66, is believed to have died on Monday afternoon.
Jenkins participated in an expert panel last June on climate challenges for the Gullah Geechee Heritage, which was sponsored by the Newport Restoration Foundation.
His biography on their website indicates that Jenkins, who was born November 1, 1955, worked for Obama for America and Organizing for America during the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, working in Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton and Beaufort.
The site also says he served for two years as political director of the South Carolina Democratic Party.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison said he was “pure in heart and extremely loyal”.
“You can always count on good old Abe,” Harrison wrote on Twitter.
U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn, who delivered the keynote address at Columbia’s MLK Day celebration Monday afternoon, called Jenkins a powerful force in state politics as well as a dear friend.
“His dedication to public service was fueled by his commitment to helping improve the lives of people across the state,” he said.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg called Jenkins’ passing a “tragic loss” to the community.
“In the tradition of his famous grandfather, Esau Jenkins, Abe lived a vital life of service and sacrifice, of joy and love. He was a good man and a deeply committed servant leader whose legacy lives on. will be felt for generations, not just on the streets and shores of his beloved Johns Island, but across the breadth and breadth of our entire state,” Tecklenburg said. “This is a tragic loss for our community, but I think Abe would be happy that the day he left us would be Martin Luther King Jr.’s day.”
State Representative Wendell Gilliard called it a sad day for the citizens of the Sea Islands and the state.
“Mr. Abe Jenkins was a man ahead of his time!” said Gilliard. .”
State Senator Marlon Kimpson remembered Jenkins on Twitter.
“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day,” he wrote. “Abe Jenkins was a living sermon and the epitome of a public servant. Simply put, he got to work. Rest easy Abe and thank you for your service. We are much better off because you lived, sir.
State Rep. JA Moore said he and Jenkins were both sons of the civil rights movement.
“His father’s legacy lived on through his commitment to being an agent of change,” Moore said on Twitter. “The Lowcountry, South Carolina and the whole country is a better place because he lived. Sending love and light to his family.
Jenkins was the grandson of Johns Island civil rights activist and businessman Esau Jenkins, who worked directly with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1945, the eldest Jenkins bought a bus to transport the children and adults in the city of Charleston for school and jobs. and created schools of citizenship with the help of Septima Clark and held courses on the islands of the sea.
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