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MLK Keynote Speaker 2018

Ms. Jennifer Pinckney, MLK Speaker Clemson University, Clemson SCMs. Jennifer Pinckney

Jennifer Benjamin Pinckney, the widow of slain South Carolina State Senator and Pastor, the Honorable Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney, whose life was taken in a Bible Study group at historic Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC on June 17, 2015, is the daughter of Cleo and Frank Benjamin of Aiken, South Carolina. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Jennifer was reared in Aiken, South Carolina after her parents relocated there when she was a toddler. Jennifer is a proud product of Aiken County Public Schools where she graduated with honors from Silver Bluff High School. Jennifer has always valued education. Her passion for education led her to the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Information Systems. She furthered her education at USC where she received a Master of Arts degree in Library Science and a Specialist degree in Media. Jennifer and the late Honorable Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney have two beautiful daughters, Eliana, age 13, and Malana, age 8.  Jennifer’s pride and joy are her two girls. She loves being a mother and actively involves her daughters in activities and pursuits that would continue to make her husband proud.  Both girls are trained dancers, pianists, and vocalists.  Likewise, they both are excellent students are their respective schools. For this, she is most grateful and proud. Since her husband’s untimely death, Jennifer has answered God's call to continue her husband's work with the establishment of a charitable foundation in his honor. The Honorable Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Foundation was established formally by Jennifer Pinckney; S.C. Senator Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington; and the Rev. Kylon Jerome Middleton, a former high school principal and current AME Church pastor, who was Pinckney's best friend. Jennifer is standing on the promises of God and carries with her as a personal banner God’s Word to Moses in Deuteronomy 31:6, where God tells Moses to “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hence, she lives by the motto: Be joyful; Pray continually; and, Give thanks!