The BBC profiles pastor and state senator Clementa Pinckney.
A church pastor and a state senator, Clementa Pinckney spoke of his politics as an extension of his religious mission, as another way of serving the people around him.
“Our calling is not just within the walls of the congregation,” he said. “We are part of the life and community in which our congregation resides.”
On Wednesday evening, Mr Pinckney was shot dead among those he had pledged to serve – one of nine victims of a gun attack on the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
The 41-year-old pastor had begun preaching at the age of 13. He was also a rising star of Democrat[ic] politics in a state long dominated by Republicans.
He was the youngest African-American in South Carolina’s history to be elected to the legislature. He had been a student at the state university, a Lutheran seminary, as well as at Princeton University.
Now all that’s gone, thanks to a young racist whose daddy gave him a gun for Christmas.
We’re right up there with Bangladesh for hateful murderous targeted violence.
Mr Pinckney came from a family of civil rights activists and leaders. Among them were campaigners for the desegregation of school buses and for electoral reforms that would pave the way for the emergence of black politicians.
In 1998, the veteran Washington Post political reporter, David Broder, met Mr Pinckney and described him as a “spirit-lifter”.
“Our people expect the best of us,” the young politician told the reporter. “They send us to take care of the people’s business, and those of us who take hold of that responsibility understand that’s what it’s really about.”
Earlier this year, Mr Pinckney appeared at rallies to protest at the death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man shot dead by a police officer in Charleston.
So the young racist with the gun executed him, just as the theocrats with machetes executed Avijit Roy and almost executed Asif Mohiuddin.
Mr Pinckney left a wife and two children.