Reparations Advocates Pull Up At Famous James Clyburn Fish Fry: ‘Why Y’all Keep F*ckin With Me?’

Reparations Advocates Pull Up At Famous James Clyburn Fish Fry: ‘Why Y’all Keep F*ckin With Me?’


Photo: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., May 4, 2022, in San Antonio.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Veteran Congressman James Clyburn went head-to-head with reparations advocates on May 7 at his “World Famous Fish Fry” in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. 

Activists who seek reparations for slavery demanded that Clyburn, who has represented South Carolina’s 6th District since 1993, do more to pursuade President Joe Biden to push through reparations.

Clyburn hadn’t held his fish fry for two years due to the covid-19 pandemic. He usually holds the events in Columbia, South Carolina but North Charleston was the site of this year’s event, Count on 2 News reported. 

The goal of this year’s fish fry was to encourage people to vote — and vote Democrat — in the state’s upcoming primary elections, scheduled for Tuesday, June 14. 

The fish fry attracted community members and politicians from across the state including reparations advocates who wanted to bend Clyburn’s ear.

In a historic vote, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted on April 14, 2021 to move H.R. 40, the Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act, to the House floor for full consideration.

H.R. 40 has been introduced at every congressional session since 1989, but this was the first time it reached a committee vote, a key step toward passing legislation. Since then, the bill has languished. Supporters say that after years of lobbying, they have the votes in the House to pass a reparations bill.

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When asked about reparations during the fish fry, Clyburn grew indignant and said, “Why y’all keep f*ckin with me? I’m the only one doing the deal.” When questioned about what deal he was referring to, Clyburn said he was referring to H.R. 40, the bill seeking a study on reparations. “I’ve being doing it for the last 20? That bill has been up there for 38 years, and you’re looking at me to pass it,” Clyburn answered.

During the 2020 presidential campaign, politicians touted the possibility of reparations, but for a year, the reparations bill H.R. 40 has been in limbo.


A video posted by Elijah @naptownjr317E on Twitter shows a reparations advocate being escorted away from the fish fry by police.

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The highest-ranking African American Congressman, Clyburn has served as House majority whip since 2019. He has not been very supportive of reparations.      

In 2019, he said that he thought “pure reparations would be impossible to implement,” The Hill reported.

Since then, reparations advocates have trolled Clyburn at events, often confronting him with questions about his lack of support for reparations. In 2019, when confronted by grassroots journalist Jameion Fowler, Clyburn finally admitted he would like reparations for his own family. Clyburn said reparations were important. “It’s always been a national priority,” he said. “I want to pass it for my wife and her descendants.”

However, despite this, Clyburn has failed to promote reparations in Congress or with the president, reparations advocates say.

Photo: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., May 4, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)