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"We were shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Fred Sheheen

today. Fred was a South Carolina institution who devoted his life to lifting up all of
us. As a young journalist, his reports on the Civil Rights Movement told stories of
injustice that helped spur a nation to act. He played his own part in the long march
toward justice as an aide to Governor Donald Russell, during whose tenure our state
took fitful yet peaceful steps toward desegregation. Fred continued his fight for justice
for decades more, working to integrate our colleges and universities as commissioner
for higher education from 1987 to 1997 and fighting to bring the Confederate battle flag
down from the State House as a member of the executive board of UNITED 2000.
"Fred continued to work for a better future for the rest of his life, teaching a course in
state government at the University of South Carolina Honors College and serving
as Director of the Institute for Non-Profit Leadership and the Director of the Rural
Leadership Institute at Francis Marion University. A true Renaissance man, Fred was
also an avid piano player.
"President Obama has said, 'The arc of the universe may bend toward justice, but it
doesn't bend on its own.' The arc has been bent by people like Fred Sheheen.
"Fred's entire family has devoted itself to our state and our party. His brother Bob is a
former speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and his son Vincent
serves in the South Carolina Senate and was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in
2010 and 2014.
"In terms of his own politics, there was no better grassroots activist than Fred
Sheheen. Fred was a stalwart of the SCDP Executive Committee, and if he supported a
cause, you wanted to be on his side. He had no greater cause than working on the
gubernatorial campaign of his son, Vincent. Fred did so many campaign events as a
Vincent surrogate that I often wondered whether he attended more events than all of
us! He was a human dynamo.
"I adored Fred because he loved his family, his party, and this state,
unconditionally. The world is a bit darker without his powerful light. We extend our
deepest condolences to the entire Sheheen family and their many friends during this
difficult time. We will miss Fred dearly."