IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Fritz Hollings, former S.C. Democratic governor and senator whose views on race relations changed, laid to rest

The 97-year-old, who served for nearly 40 years in Washington, was eulogized by Joe Biden and Rep. Jim Clyburn.

Speaking through tears, U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn has remembered his political mentor Fritz Hollings on Tuesday as a strong leader who was capable of transformative change on the issue of race.

Clyburn said at Hollings' funeral in Charleston, South Carolina, that he was moved when Hollings asked that his own name be taken down from a courthouse, replaced by that of a judge whose dissent led to the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling desegregating public schools.

Hollings initially campaigned against desegregation when running for governor in the 1950s. But he evolved on the issue, later advocating for integration.

Pallbearers for U.S. Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings carry his casket back to the hearse following a funeral service in Charleston, South Carolina.Mic Smith / AP

As a South Carolina State University student, Clyburn said he met with the then-governor and knew that Hollings' attitude on race was changing, although he hadn't ever shared that thought publicly until now.

Former Vice President Joe Biden credits his longtime Senate desk mate Hollings with making sure he made it to the chamber in the first place.

Biden told a crowd of hundreds Tuesday at Hollings' funeral at The Citadel that Hollings both encouraged him to run for the Senate and urged him to take his seat following a car crash that killed Biden's first wife and daughter.

Biden told Hollings' children that he knows their grief seems insurmountable now, but it will pass.

Gov. Henry McMaster also spoke of the late senator, saying, "the magnificent lion of South Carolina roars no more."