|Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives|
from the 90th district
December 2006 – December 2014
|Preceded by||Thomas Rhoad Jr.|
|Succeeded by||Justin Bamberg|
|Born||September 18, 1984|
|Relatives||Cleveland Sellers (father)|
|Education||Morehouse College (BA)|
University of South Carolina, Columbia (JD)
Sellers represented South Carolina's 90th district in the lower house of the state legislature from 2006 to 2014, becoming the youngest African American elected official in the country at age 22. He vacated his seat in the South Carolina House of Representatives to run for Lieutenant Governor in 2014, but lost to Henry McMaster. He was succeeded in the House by Justin T. Bamberg.
Early life and education
Sellers was born on September 18, 1984, and is the son of Gwendolyn Sellers and civil rights activist and professor Cleveland Sellers. He grew up in Bamberg County, South Carolina, and was educated at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, a public high school in Orangeburg, South Carolina. In 2005, Sellers earned a bachelor's degree in African-American Studies from Morehouse College, a private all-male and historically black, liberal arts college, in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2008, he earned a juris doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Sellers has worked for Congressman James Clyburn and former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin.
Sellers has been an attorney with the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. in Columbia, South Carolina since 2007, He is also currently on the board of directors of Level Brands (a brand management firm) and Let America Vote (a voting rights organization founded by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander).
Sellers first attended the annual AIPAC conference while serving as student body president at Morehouse College. He has since become a prominent African-American Zionist. In 2016, he authored a letter signed by 60 fellow African-American politicians urging the Democratic Platform Committee to keep the same language, refusing to include the statement that Israel is engaging in an "occupation" of Palestine that appeared in previous Democratic platforms. Sellers received criticism from pro-Palestinian activists, and groups such as Black Lives Matter, for his opposition to including the word "occupation".
2019 Lincoln Memorial tweet
In response to the January 2019 Lincoln Memorial confrontation, which featured an incident between a teenager and Native American activist Nathan Phillips, Bakari tweeted about the teen: "He is a deplorable. Some ppl can also be punched in the face." As further video of the confrontation emerged, which undermined initial media reports that the teenager instigated the event, Bakari backtracked and deleted the tweet, claiming his comment was "metaphoric" and "taken out of context" though he still claimed that the students "displayed xenophobic, racist behavior." Bakari was later included in a lawsuit brought by the teen's parents against CNN, where Bakari worked as an analyst.
Honors, awards, and books
Sellers was named HBCU Top 30 Under 30 in July 2014.
In May 2020, Sellers released an autobiography, My Vanishing Country, that centers on the forgotten lives of African-American working class people in the rural U.S. South.
In the summer of 2015, he married Ellen Rucker Carter, chiropractor and co-owner of Rucker Roots haircare products.
- Davis, Kimberlei N. (January 22, 2015). "Ex-Rep. Sellers pops up on girlfriend's reality show". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- "Former SC representative finds niche as CNN commentator". thestate.com. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Roldan, Cynthia (July 14, 2015). "Former House Rep. Bakari Sellers joins CNN as contributor". The Post and Courier. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Harter, Lee. "Bakari Sellers at home as CNN analyst for presidential primaries". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved July 10, 2016. (subscription required)
- Kimberlei N. Davis. "Standing on the promises: Mother of Rep. Sellers continues fight against leukemia and for Bamberg County hospital". thetandd.com. The Times and Democrat. Retrieved July 10, 2016. (subscription required)
- Schuyler Kropf (September 3, 2014). "Bakari Sellers endorsed by S.C. education group". postandcourier.com. The Post and Courier. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Arielle Hayes (March 21, 2014). "Lt. governor candidate Bakari Sellers tells Claflin students he is ready for next step as change agent". Claflin University. Retrieved March 3, 2016.[permanent dead link]
- Hampton, Vickie (March 4, 2016). "BAKARI SELLERS '05: 'THERE IS STILL A CROWN ABOVE ME'". Morehouse College. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
- "Bakari Sellers - Attorney at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C." stromlaw.com. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- "State lawmaker lived at contributor's half-million-dollar property, ducks questions". The Post and Courier. May 7, 2016. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- "About Level Brands". levelbrands.com. Archived from the original on January 25, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
- "Advisors". Let America Vote. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
- Fingerhut, Eric (January 16, 2009). "How AIPAC Makes Friends". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
- Kopan, Tal; Labott, Elise (June 26, 2016). "Hillary Clinton's views on Israel win out in DNC platform, for now". CNN. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
- "Surrogates Palestinian Narrative". Mondoweiss.net. Retrieved July 23, 2016.
- "Covington Catholic students and parents sue Washington Post for 'reckless' coverage of 2019 incident". WCPO. February 19, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- Writer, DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff. "Bakari Sellers says tweet not promoting violence, students symbolize bigotry, division". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved June 18, 2020.
- "Report: CNN Settles with Cov Cath Student Nicholas Sandmann". The River City News. January 7, 2020. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
- "40 Under 40". Time.com. October 14, 2010. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- "Young Democrat Bakari Sellers seeks to make history as lieutenant governor". The Post and Courier. May 17, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Sarata, Phil (July 14, 2012). "Politico lists Bakari Sellers among 50 to watch". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved July 10, 2016. (subscription required)
- "50 politicos to watch: State pols on the verge of national prominence". Politico. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- "Sellers named to Politico's '50 politicos to watch' list". abcnews4.com. WCIV; Sinclair Broadcast Group. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Hoggard, Robert K. "HBCU Top 30 Under 30". HBCUBuzz.com. Washington DC. p. 3. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
- Paschal, Olivia (May 13, 2020). "Bakari Sellers on a life shaped by the rural South's civil rights movement". Facing South. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
- Hawkins, Kayla (January 8, 2015). "Who Is Ellen Rucker's Boyfriend? Bakari Sellers The 'Love Thy Sister' Star Is Well Known Lawyer Down South". bustle.com. Bustle. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- South Carolina Legislature - Representative Bakari T. Sellers, official SC House website
- Project Vote Smart - Representative Bakari Sellers (SC) profile
- Follow the Money - Bakari Sellers
- 2006 campaign contributions
- Appearances on C-SPAN