Democrats selected Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina as majority whip for their No. 3 post.

Clyburn will be only the second Black American to hold that rank, which is the highest ever attained by a Black member of Congress.  Former Rep. William Gray of Pennsylvania held the same title between1989 and 1991.

Speaker-elect Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s candidate for the No. 2 post Pennsylvania’s Rep. John Murtha was soundly defeated by Maryland’s Rep. Steny Hoyer to become House majority leader.

Clyburn, a native of Sumter, South Carolina, currently resides in Columbia. He was first elected to Congress in 1992 and served on the Veterans Affairs and the Transportation, and Infrastructure; Committees through the 105th Congress, where he was the ranking member on the Veterans Affairs’ Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee.

After the November 1998 elections, Clyburn was elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus for the 106th Congress. His election to head this august body was by a rare unanimous vote. He is currently a member of the Democratic Steering Committee and the House Appropriations Committee, where he is a member of the Subcommittees on Transportation and Energy and Water Development.

Other Blacks up for leadership positions include John Conyers Jr. (Mich.) of Judiciary, Alcee L. Hastings (Fla.) of Intelligence, Juanita Millender-McDonald (Calif.) of House Administration, Reps. Charles B. Rangel (N.Y.) of Ways and Means, and Bennie Thompson (Miss.) of Homeland Security.