Hundreds of people lined up in front of the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia Wednesday morning to pay their respects at the viewing of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney.
Senator Pinckney was one of the nine people killed in the Charleston church shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last week.
Sen. Pinckney's body was brought to the front of the Statehouse in a horse-drawn wagon after making a procession through the town.
His casket was followed by a troop of uniformed officers, who carried it from the carriage into the Statehouse for a public, open casket viewing.
He is reportedly the first black person whose wake was held under the capitol dome since the Reconstruction era.
Sen. Pinckney's family stood on the State House steps as his casket was carried into the building.
During the hours-long viewing, Pinckney's wife stood at the entrance, reportedly greeting each of the hundreds there to pay their respects.
The line for the viewing stretched throughout the Statehouse, through the nearby park, and down the blocks of Columbia.
The viewing, which is expected to last for hours, was attended by a wide range of people of varying ages and races
President Obama is expected to give the eulogy at the senator's funeral in Charleston on Friday.
Some of those waiting in line suffered from heatstroke and Red Cross volunteers reportedly came to their aid.
After Sen. Pinckney's procession passed directly under the flagpole in front of the Statehouse flying the Confederate flag, many took to Twitter and Facebook to call this a sign of disrespect.
In the wake of the Charleston shooting, many politicians and public figures have recently requested to have removed due to its symbolic history involving slavery, and the murder and mistreatment of African Americans.
A black drape was reportedly placed over the window inside the State House, blocking mourner's view of the flag outside.
Sen. Pinckney, who was 41, was a reverend and pastor at the AME church where the shootings took place.
He was appointed pastor at the age of 18, and was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives at the age of 23. By the time he was 27 he became South Carolina's youngest state senator.
"I see my public life as a extension of my ministry," Pinckney told the Post and Courier in an interview in 2001. "I believe in a progressive, holistic ministry where you are mentally, politically and socio-economically involved. Faith is not just getting you to heaven."
You can read more about Sen. Pinckney's life here.
Ema O'Connor is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Ema O'Connor at email@example.com.
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