Congressional Black Caucus

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Template:TOCnestleft The Congressional Black Caucus was established in 1971 during the 92nd Congress (1971-1973).[1] It is an organization representing the black members of the United States Congress. Membership is exclusive to blacks. The current chair of the Caucus for the 112th Congress is Representative Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri.


Founded in 1971, the CBC delivered the preparation of the Black Declaration of Independence and Black Bill of Rights in Congress in 1972. 1976 the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation was established. The CBCF sponsors programs under the leadership of some CBC members and other supporters. These initiatives focus on education, economic development, public health and African globalization programs. The CBC Fellows Program was also launched that year.

In 1978 CBC members meet with President Jimmy Carter to discuss the Humphrey-Hawkins Bill (H.R. 50), which established the federal government’s responsibility to ensure full employment. When it was signed into law in October 1978, Carter credited the CBC for its role in the advocacy for this bill. In 1981, the CBC achieved LSO (Legislative Service Organization) status. The House Committee on Administration prohibited LSO's from receiving outside funding, but they were allowed to establish tax exempt foundations to carry out research and other activities.

In 1985, Congressman William Gray (D-PA), chairman of the Committee on Budget, introduced H.R. 1460, a bill that prohibited loans and new investment in South Africa and enforced sanctions on imports and exports with the nation. The following year in 1986, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (H.R. 4868) became public law 99-440. This legislation called for sanctions against South Africa and stated preconditions for lifting the sanctions, including the release of all political prisoners. (Among these political prisoners was Nelson Mandela.)

In 1993, Congress passed The National Voter Registration Act, also known as the "Motor Voter" bill. "This legislation made registration more uniform and accessible, particularly for minority and low income voters." It required that states allow voter registration by mail. It also required that states give voters the opportunity to register at other state agencies, such as driver’s license bureaus, welfare offices and unemployment agencies.

In 1995, the Republican majority in the House abolished all LSO's (public subsidization of caucuses). The CBC and all other caucuses were forced to move out of congressional office space and become Congressional Member Organizations or private corporations.[1]

Founding Members

The following were founding members of the Caucus:[1]

"Progressive" orientation

Manning Marable, a leader of both Democratic Socialists of America and the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, wrote in 2003[2];

That the Congressional Black Caucus is the most progressive organized formation in national politics is not an accident. The CBC's politics are what they are because of the base they reflect.
To the degree this base socially fragments and deteriorates and becomes splintered from the broad progressive movement is the degree to which the entire progressive movement is weakened.

Influence of the Black Press Institute

Alice Palmer and her husband Buzz Palmer established the Black Press Institute in Chicago circa 1982. In a 1986 interview with the Communist Party USA paper People's Daily World, Alice Palmer explained BPI's role in influencing decision makers such as the Congressional Black Caucus[3].

After the 1960s some of us looked around and observed there was no national Black newspaper...So we started the Black Press Review. We received the Black newspapers from around the country, reprinted articles and editorials that gave a sense of the dynamics and the lives of Black people, and sent them out to the Congressional Black caucus and other opinion leaders, saying "Look, here is what black America is thinking and doing".
Since then we have moved into organizing forums and dialogues...

Contributors to BPI's journal New Deliberations included Richard Hudlin, Jan Carew, Joy Carew, Robert Starks, Dwight Kirk, Earl Durham, Nancy Gaithskill.

The publication carried articles such as "Socialism is the Only Way Forward" and "Is Black Bourgeoise Ideology Enough?"

Soviet delegation

Communist Party's Daily World, March 17, 1983, page 3

In March 1983, a delegation from the Supreme Soviet of the USSR met for over two hours with John Conyers, Ron Dellums, and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The Soviet parliamentarians presented an autographed copy to the CBC, of the nuclear freeze resolution that had been unanimously passed last December 22, by the Supreme Soviet, and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Delegation members were Alexander Subbotin, Chairman of the peace and Disarmament Committee, Yuri Israel, Chairman of the Environmental Control Committee, and Alexander Chakovsky, a Foreign Affairs Committee member, and also editor in Chief, of Literaturnaya Gazeta.

The Soviet nuclear weapons freeze states in part: "We declare that the Soviet Union is prepared, on a basis of reciprocity with the United States of America, to freeze its nuclear arsenal."

Cuban legislators

During another one of the Caucus conventions in the capital, six Cuban legislators were invited. The meeting signaled in a turning point in relations between the U.S. and the Cuban legislative body. That started continuous open dialog that eventually resulted in an offer from President Fidel Castro granting up to 500 scholarships annually to young Americans to study medicine free-of-charge in Cuba. Members of the CBC then visited Cuba and while there they sought ways to normalize U.S. relations with that country.[4]

Cuban medical scholarships

Cuba's Latin American School of Medical Sciences, which has been educating doctors from undeveloped countries and since 2001, from the United States. Tuition, housing, meals and books are free. Students have to be economically disadvantaged and committed to practicing medicine in underserved U.S. communities.

Castro himself has promoted the six-year medical scholarship program, which began enrolling U.S. students in 2001. The schooling has the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus, which has intervened to protect the U.S. students so that their participation isn't a violation of the 44-year-old U.S. embargo against Cuba.

Rev. Lucius Walker's, Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization, coordinates the Cuba medical scholarships[5].

Fidel Castro on the CBC

Writing in Granma April 7 2009, Fidel Castro in "The seven Congress members who are visiting us" gave a history of the CBC and its relations with Cuba;[6]

An important US political delegation is visiting us right now. Its members belong to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) which, in practice, has functioned as the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
The Congressional Black Caucus was founded in January 1969 by the 12 African-American legislators who were members of the U.S. Congress at that moment. During the first 50 years of the 20th century only four African Americans were elected to Congress.
Presently, as a result of the struggles they have waged, the CBC has 42 members. Several of its representatives have maintained very active and constructive positions on Cuba-related topics.

Early delegations

The first Caucus delegation visited us in February 1999 and was headed by Maxine Waters; the second came in January 2000.

Influential members of that Congressional group publicly expressed their positions and carried out other positive actions during the battle for the return of young Elián to his homeland.
In May 2000, another Caucus delegation visited us. It was presided over by the then Caucus President James Clyburn, from North Carolina, and was made up of Bennie Thompson from Mississippi and Gregory Meeks from New York. These congressmen were the first to learn from me of Cuba’s disposition to grant a number of scholarships to low-income youths, to be selected by the Congressional Black Caucus, so that they could come to Cuba and study medicine. We made a similar offer to the "Pastors for Peace" NGO, which is presided over by Reverend Lucius Walker, who sent the first students to the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).

When the anti-Cuban pressures and activities of the Bush administration were intensified with respect to travel and the presence in Cuba of persons under U.S. jurisdiction, Black Caucus legislators addressed Secretary of State Colin Powell and managed to secure a license that legally allowed American youths to continue their medical studies – which they had already begun – in Cuba.

On Colin Powell

Powell, a military chief of great authority and prestige, could possibly have become the first black president of the United States, but he turned down the nomination out of respect for his family who, on account of the assassination of Martin Luther King, strongly opposed his nomination.

On Barbara Lee

The Black Caucus delegation visiting Cuba this time is headed by Barbara Lee, the representative of the state of California. She first traveled to Cuba accompanying the then black Congressman Ronald Dellums. She was his assistant and afterwards occupied his seat when he retired. On that occasion I had the honor of meeting her and admiring her combative spirit and capacity for struggle.

On the April 2009 CBC delegation

The group she is presiding over right now is made up by seven members of Congress. The other members of the delegation are: Melvin Luther Watt, from North Carolina; Michael Makoto Honda, from California; Laura Richardson, also from California; Bobby Rush, from Illinois; Marcia L. Fudge, from Ohio; and Emanuel Cleaver II, from Missouri.

Patrice Willoughby, executive assistant of the Congressional Black Caucus, plus four military personnel from the Congressional Liaison Office under the orders of Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Wolf, are accompanying the delegation.

I value the gesture of this legislative group. They have been strictly adhering to the program they requested. The aura of Luther King is accompanying them. Our press has given broad coverage of their visit. They are exceptional witnesses to the respect that U.S. citizens visiting our homeland always receive. It is unlikely that they have seen any face displaying a look of hatred, and perhaps they admire the total absence of illiterate people or children shining shoes on the streets. The swarms of children, teenagers and youths attending schools and universities; the day-care centers, senior citizens homes, hospitals and polyclinics run by highly skilled medical staff offering assistance to all citizens will not be lost to a critical eye. In the midst of this international economic crisis there are no citizens queuing in search of jobs. People walking through the streets, active and almost always happy, do not conform to the stereotyped images of Cuba that are often shown abroad.
Our homeland demonstrates that a small Third World country, which has been besieged, attacked and blockaded for decades, can bear its poverty with dignity. Many citizens in the world’s richest nation do not receive the same kind of treatment and a considerable number of them do not even vote. However, that right is exercised by more than 90% of our population, who know how to read and write and who have acquired a significant level of culture and political knowledge.
Within the delegation, there are opinions which are shared by all; others are personal points of view. Generally speaking, its members believe that 68% of the U.S. population favors a change of policy toward Cuba.

On Obama and Cuba

One of them expressed the need to take advantage of this historical moment, when the presence of an African-American president in the White House coincides with a current of opinion that favors the normalization of relations.

When Alarcón commented that removing Cuba from the list of terrorist states –on which it is arbitrarily included – was a moral duty, he was reminded that both Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress were labeled as terrorists by the U.S. Congress.

Another member of the delegation thankedd the Cuban authorities and the presidency of the Black Caucus for organizing the trip and maintaining this kind of exchange.

Another representative explained Obama’s tremendous significance for the United States and the need for him to be reelected. He said that the president sees himself as a political leader who should govern all social sectors of the country. Nevertheless, he said he was sure that Obama would change Cuba policy, but that Cuba should also help him.
A fourth member of the Caucus said that despite Obama’s electoral victory, U.S. society is still racist. He added that Obama represents the only opportunity that nation has to move forward and leave behind all the wrongdoings accumulated by former governments. He said that the president cannot go beyond lifting travel restrictions and allowing remittances by Cuban-Americans, because announcing an end to the blockade or the full normalization of bilateral relations would mean that he would never be reelected. He also confirmed that the anti-Cuban right wing still has enough power to attack him and prevent his reelection.
Finally, speaking frankly during a visit to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, another legislator stated that the United States should not waste the opportunity of acknowledging that its Cuba policy has been a total failure. He added that his government should apologize to Cuba for all these years of hostility and for the blockade, because only then will we be in a position to move on together towards resolving the bilateral dispute. He affirmed that he would do whatever is possible to eliminate the blockade.

Impressions of Cuba/activities

During a visit to the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center, one CBC member, expressing the sentiments of the others, described Cuba’s results in the field of biotechnology as "excellent," and said that, at this moment in time, the political atmosphere was favorable for building bridges of understanding and communication between the scientific communities of our respective countries. He recommended that we should be careful to patent everything, in line with international copyright standards, to prevent us being robbed of the efforts that led to such wonderful work.
All of them expressed how greatly impressed they were during the visit to the center, where the minister of science, technology and the environment, together with the directors of several scientific institutions, explained to them the work being undertaken by our country in that field.

The main activity on April 4, the day that marked the 41st anniversary of the death of the human rights martyr, was a visit to the park in the Cuban capital named after Martin Luther King, where there is a black-veined dark green marble monolith bearing the bronze embossed image of the great black combatant who was assassinated by racists. Barbara Lee, Laura Richardson, Emanuel Cleaver II and Bobby Rush spoke at the event. The four of them publicly emphasized the positive impact of the meetings they had had.
Yesterday Sunday, at 13:20, Congresswoman Barbara Lee arrived at the Ebenezer Church of the Martin Luther King Center’s Ebenezer Church, where she was welcomed by Raúl Suárez and other leaders of the Cuban National Council of Churches. Also present were Alarcón and other officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Prior to that, Barbara visited two other churches in Vedado. She addressed the congregations, reiterating certain previous public statements and stating her intention to take certain steps with the administration in order to promote a change in Cuba policy and the reactivation of exchanges between the churches of both countries.


I have summarized the exchanges that have taken place. I have been careful not to disclose the names of those who have made certain statements, because I do not know whether they are interested in making them public.
I simply wished to offer the necessary details so that our population may have as much information as possible on the sensitive subject of relations between Cuba and the United States under Obama’s presidency and the visit of the Black Caucus delegation to Cuba.

Cuban spy targets CBC

Ramon Sanchez Parodi Montoto became the first Chief of the Cuban Interest Section in Washington, D.C. on September 1, 1977 when the U.S. and Cuba re-established diplomatic missions. This career spy served in Washington until 1989 -- 12 consecutive years. Experts remain undecided as to whether he is DGI or from the infamous America Department (DA). In testimony before the U.S. Senate, Dr. Daniel James charged Sanchez-Parodi with targeting the Congressional Black Caucus to foment opposition to existing U.S. policies toward Cuba. According to the New York Times, Sanchez-Parodi was extremely well connected to the U.S. academic, civic, cultural, and business communities. He was promoted to Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs immediately following his U.S. tour. In the U.S., his position would have been called “Deputy Foreign Minister”. The May 14, 2007 issue of The Nation featured an article on Cuba titled “The Changing of the Guard.” Among the six co-authors were Ramon Sanchez-Parodi and Cuban agent Dr. Alberto Coll. In this article, Sanchez-Parodi used the opportunity to favorably portray Raul Castro’s institutional support and his efforts to enhance the performance of these institutions.[7]

CBC/NOI Alliance

At a rare public gathering, September 16, 1993, a diverse group of African-American leaders pledged greater unity within their sometimes fractured ranks, including the announcement of a more formalized working relationship between the Congressional Black Caucus and the Nation of Islam.

In a declaration of unity that brought a standing ovation from the crowd that included factions that have been at odds in the past, caucus chairman Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.) said, "No longer will we allow people to divide us."

The agreement between the caucus and the often controversial Nation of Islam means that the two groups will consult on legislative issues and develop common strategies, much like the caucus and the NAACP have done on major issues such as the Lani Guinier nomination and President Clinton's budget package, he said.

The occasion was a caucus-sponsored town hall meeting entitled "Race in America," in which Mfume, Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan, NAACP executive director Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Jesse Jackson, a former presidential candidate, were brought together to discuss what all agreed was the sorry state of race relations and solutions to the problems facing African Americans.

In the process, some tensions in their ranks surfaced unexpectedly and further underscored what all had agreed was the need for greater unity.

But Mfume, in the spirit of unity, announced at the close of the program that, "We want the word to go forward today to friend and foe alike that the Congressional Black Caucus, after having entered into a sacred covenant with the NAACP to work for real and meaningful change, will enter into that same covenant with the Nation of Islam" and other organizations, such as fraternities, sororities and professional groups.

The leaders agreed that the problems of African Americans require concerted effort to overcome. Among the troubles cited by the leaders were generalized societal prejudice and black feelings of inferiority; housing and job discrimination; the lack of economic resources in black communities; and inner city violence and family dysfunction.

In a sign of increasing sensitivity to women's issues in their ranks, Waters was added to the program after the fact to prevent the event from being headed only by men. She provided some of the most applauded moments, such as when she said, "This panel represents the most progressive leadership in America today. . . . There is a concentrated, well-organized effort to keep our voices down on the subject of race."

The announcement of the formal Congressional Black Caucus-Nation of Islam alliance capped the event. The caucus and individual members have had informal relations with the Farrakhan group for years. But the Nation of Islam has not been deeply involved in national legislative issues; thus what positions it would take on various public policy issues is unknown.[8]

33rd Legislative Conference, 2003

Anger at the Bush administration for waging war abroad and attacking rights at home bubbled up at the Congressional Black Caucus 33rd Legislative Conference in Washington DC, Sept. 24-27, 2003.

“Collective Leadership: Challenging A Bold New World” was the title of the conference, which attracted thousands of participants in 53 plenary and workshop sessions.

A standing-room crowd at a session titled “The Iraq War: America Speaks Out” convened by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), cheered Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), who recently accused Bush of “fraud” in tricking the U.S. into war. The White House reacted with rage to that blast.

But Kennedy did not apologize. “If your son or daughter is in the National Guard or Reserves, you know they are going to be called up and sent over to serve in Iraq,” Kennedy thundered. “They are asking $87 billion for the war in Iraq and they cannot find enough to fund ‘No Child Left Behind.’”

Kennedy read from the Pentagon’s 28-page draft plan sent to Capitol Hill after weeks of protests from lawmakers that the occupation is floundering. “Locate and secure weapons of mass destruction,” was the goal one week. A week later, again, “Continue to locate and secure weapons of mass destruction.” The crowd groaned and Kennedy flung the draft in the air, calling it “an insult to our troops serving over there.”

Democratic presidential contender Al Sharpton told the crowd that Kennedy “has nothing to apologize for” in his blistering attacks on Bush. Recalling Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN last Feb. 14 with spy photos allegedly showing Iraqi weapons sites, Sharpton demanded, “Where are they?” He said, “Our children were put in harm’s way. It is immoral to give this president $87 billion for this war.”

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) asked, “What do you do if a president has committed acts that should lead to his removal? Citing mounting calls to investigate lies and misuse of intelligence by the “unelected president and the people around him,” Conyers said, “How do we withstand the mood of people who are saying to us: ‘What are you waiting for?’”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said, “Every day people are dying. I am appalled and outraged that Republicans are blocking a full and fair examination of the facts.”

Civil rights leader Rev. Willie Barrow said, “Mr. Bush, you didn’t find Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, or weapons of mass destruction. We know a lie when we hear it.” She challenged the crowd to start now to register millions of voters. “It’s not enough to register people. We have to get them out to the polls on Election Day,” she said. “Let’s come together and show Bush the door.”

Conyers, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, and other Black Caucus members convened a briefing on “Law and the Courts.”

One panelist was Judge Nathanial Jones, recently retired from the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals based in Cincinnati. He assailed a memo to U.S. attorneys from Attorney General John Ashcroft, “instructing them to monitor the sentencing policies of federal judges” Jones called it “a back-door way of interfering in the courts … clearly intended to have a chilling effect.”

The "right-wing" Judicial Watch was reportedly spearheading a drive to impeach Judge Boyce Martin, Jr., chief judge of the Sixth Circuit. Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) had set up a Select Committee on Judicial Accountability with powers to subpoena judges’ records. Jones said it is “highly inappropriate for anyone in the legislative branch to be poking around in the files of the Sixth Circuit,” and called it “a directed attack” to undercut the decision that court handed down upholding affirmative action.

Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way, warned that the GOP drive to pack the courts with right-wing extremists is “the single most important issue facing the nation domestically” in the 2004 elections. If Bush wins a second term “he will almost certainly appoint two, three, or four Supreme Court justices,” Neas said.

“This administration, this attorney general, and the leadership of the Republican Party want to undo legal precedents going back to 1937,” Neas said.

At least one-third of President Clinton’s nominees to fill vacancies on the federal bench were blocked by then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.). “Now they want to fill all those vacancies with extreme, right-wing ideologues. We cannot rest. Everything we have fought for is at risk.”[9]

South Africa

Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge and Members of the CBC joined an official Congressional Delegation to Johannesburg, South Africa to attend memorial services for former President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

Since its establishment in 1971, Members of the Congressional Black Caucus helped lead the anti-apartheid movement in America, organizing rallies, participating in protests and sponsoring more than 15 anti-apartheid bills over 14 years. The CBC was also instrumental in the creation of TransAfrica Forum, a foreign policy organization that brought attention to issues concerning Africa and the Caribbean, and that organized opposition to U.S. support of apartheid in South Africa.

In 1985, CBC Member Representative William H. Gray (D-PA), chairman of the Committee on Budget, introduced H.R. 1460, a bill that prohibited loans and new investment in South Africa and enforced sanctions on imports and exports with the nation. Congress approved this legislation one year later, and it became known as the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. This legislation called for a trade embargo against South Africa and the immediate divestment of American corporations. The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 and the work of the CBC were critical to ending the racist and inhumane treatment of South Africa’s people by its government.[10]

Socialist staffer

In 2010, one time Young Democratic Socialists affiliate Irene Schwoeffermann, was Coalitions Director of the Congressional Black Caucus.[11]

2009 hires

In 2009, the Congressional Black Caucus, hired former Stephanie Tubbs Jones chief of staff Patrice Willoughby as its new executive director.

J. Jioni Palmer, the national press secretary of Media Matters, was named CBC communications director. Palmer is a former Newsday reporter and recently served as press secretary for the House Ways and Means Committee.[12]

CPUSA on Obama, Democrat Caucuses, Int'l Communist Meet

A report praising Barack Obama, and the changes wrought by him, as well as communist connection to the Democratic Party, was delivered at the 14th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties, held in Beirut, Lebanon, November 22-25, by Erwin Marquit, member of the International Department, CPUSA.[13]

We express our gratitude to the Lebanese Communist Party for hosting this important meeting under the present difficult conditions.
The Communist Party USA not only welcomes the reelection of President Barack Obama, but actively engaged in the electoral campaign for his reelection and for the election of many Democratic Party congressional candidates. We regarded the 2012 election as the most important in the United States since 1932, an election held in the midst of the Great Depression...
Because of this danger, we viewed our participation in mainstream electoral activity as obligatory, even though both major parties in the United States are dominated by capital, with no effective competition from a mass-scale social-democratic party, We are aware that some on the Left in the United States thought that the correct approach to the elections was either to boycott them, or as a protest, to run or support small-scale left-wing candidacies with no possible chance of winning. We Communists rejected this strategy because too much was at stake.
Faced with a choice between the victory of either the Democratic Party or Republican Party, the Communist Party viewed a victory of the far-right Republican Party as an extreme disaster. In this situation, we saw the necessity of a policy of center-left alliances in order not to separate ourselves from the people’s struggles for dealing with the far right onslaught, The basis of such an alliance now includes the labor movement, organizations of African Americans and Latinos, the women’s movement, gay and lesbian civil rights groups, and organizations of the elderly and retirees. On some issues, these groups are joined by a few far-sighted elements of capital...
In our electoral policy, we seek to cooperate and strengthen our relationship with the more progressive elements in Democratic Party, such as the Progressive Caucus in the U.S. Congress, a group of seventy-six members of the Congress co-chaired by Raúl Grijalva, a Latino from Arizona, and Keith Ellison, an African American Muslim from Minnesota. We also will strengthen our relationship to the Congressional Black Caucus (formed by African Americans in the Congress), which has been the point of origin of innovative policies including an end to the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, and with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. In its domestic policy, for example, the Progressive Caucus has put forth a program for using the public sector to deal with unemployment. It has opposed the use of the so called “war on terror” to incarcerate U.S. citizens indefinitely without criminal charges. In its foreign policy, the Progressive Caucus and the Black Caucus are outspoken in their opposition to U.S. imperialist policies abroad. The Progressive Caucus, now that Obama has been reelected, will be playing an important role in contributing to the mobilization of mass activity on critical issues to bring pressure on the Congress and administration to act on them...
While the victory of Obama is a welcome aid for us in our domestic struggles, we still face the challenge of mobilizing mass pressure on his administration to reverse the imperialist character of U.S. foreign policy. The CPUSA will pursue this formidable task vigorously in alliance with domestic progressive forces and with our comrades in the Communist and Workers’ Parties and their allies throughout the world.


After an emotional meeting between a dozen members of the Congressional Black Caucus and activists in Ferguson, Mo., the CBC pledges action to keep the movement going.

After a dinner meeting with 10 young activists in Ferguson, Mo., members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking for ways to empower the Ferguson activist community. Eleven members of the caucus met with the activists Jan. 17, 2015 including leaders from the Organization for Black Struggle and activists Deray McKesson and Johnetta Elzie.

Several members in attendance described the dinner meeting as blunt and emotional. At one point, an activist broke into tears while describing treatment received by police in Ferguson. The discussion went on past midnight.

“That dinner meeting was powerful. They [the members] heard it. They got an earful from those young people about how bad it is. They spoke on how they felt that the civil rights movement had failed them and talked on the abuse they are still taking from the criminal-justice system,” Rep. William Lacy Clay, Jr. (D-Mo.) told The Root days after the CBC visit to his district.

“The next step is for the Congressional Black Caucus Institute to get behind a massive effort to educate the voters of Ferguson. It’s a community of 21,000 people, 67 percent African American; we have the numbers, and the map works for them having a voice in local government,” Clay added.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), who attended the Ferguson dinner, stressed during an interview with The Root, “We can’t tell them what to do” but “we can help them with what they want to do.”

Members of the CBC pledged to sponsor several young activists from Ferguson for the next CBC Political and Education Leadership Institute Boot Camp. The CBC Institute, started in 2002, has an annual political-leadership boot camp that focuses on leadership development, political campaigns and issue advocacy. In July, 55 young people graduated from the boot camp. Members can sponsor boot camp students with their campaign funds.

“Rep. Joyce Beatty [D-Ohio] agreed to sponsor one of the activists who attended the dinner at the CBC Institute boot camp. We’re gonna have about 15 of these young people in our boot camp from Ferguson,” Clay said.

There is also talk of having the next CBC Institute boot camp in Ferguson rather than in Maryland near Washington, D.C., but that has yet to be decided.

Clay said the dinner meeting “was very positive, and it wasn’t really slamming the police, but it’s letting them know: OK, we’re watching you. We’re gonna take direct action legislatively to correct some of these gross inequities in the administration of justice.”

Members of the CBC also met with Dorian Johnson, a friend of Michael Brown who was with Brown Aug. 9 when now-former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot him to death. Inexplicably, Johnson did not testify before the grand jury that would later fail to indict Wilson.

Several Ferguson City Council candidates also attended the dinner meeting with the CBC. On April 7, three seats on the council are up for election. Currently, the six-person council has only one African American: Ward 2 Councilman Dwayne James. There is an African-American candidate running for each of the three seats on the ballot. In Ward 3, both candidates are African American.

CBC member Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), currently the top fundraiser of the 46-member caucus, brought a check to the dinner meeting for each City Council candidate at the gathering. A more detailed fundraising plan is being thought out.

“We have filled the candidates in those seats, and we will be going out in each of the three wards in Ferguson, educating the voters on the importance of them having a voice in their local government,” said Clay.

CBC Chairman G.K. Butterfield told The Root on the night of the State of the Union that the caucus will soon unveil a detailed criminal-justice legislative plan.

Last week, two House members, Clay and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), introduced the Grand Jury Reform Act. The bill would require an independent prosecutor in police-involved killings. The chances of passage in a Republican-controlled House and Senate are slim. In December, President Barack Obama created the Task Force on 21st Century Policing to make policy recommendations on Ferguson-related issues. It will announce its recommendations in March.[14]

The delegation also included reps Karen Bass, D-Calif.; Andre Carson, D-Ind.; Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City; Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio; Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas; Donald Payne, Jr., D-N.J.[15]


115th Congress

The following are members of the Caucus for the 115th Congress:[16]



114th Congress

The following are members of the Caucus for the 114th Congress:[17]

113th Congress

The following are members of the Caucus for the 113th Congress:[18]

Members 111th Congress

The following are members of the Caucus for the 111th Congress:[19]

Corporate Advisory Council

As at 2009, the following served on the Corporate Advisory Council for the Caucus:[20]

Board of Directors

As at Feb. 24, 2011, the following served on the Board of Directors:[21]

Ex-Officio Members:

CBC Spouses Chairperson: Atty. Mereda Davis Johnson, Burroughs, Johnson, Hopewell, Coleman, LLC

Academic Advisory Council

As at Feb. 24, 2011, the following were members of the Academic Advisory Council:[22]


As at 2009, the following worked on the staff the Caucus:[20]

Executive Office:



Finance and Resource Development:

Human Resources & Admin. Services:

Information Technology:

Meetings & Events:

Research & Programs:


The following were congressional fellows in the 2008-2009 period:[20]


In 2009 the following organizations made financial contributions to the Congressional Progressive Caucus Foundation:[20]

$500,000 and Above:

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

$250,000 - $499,999:

  • Altria Client Services, Inc.
  • AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP
  • AT&T
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Dell, Inc.
  • General Mills, Inc.
  • State Farm Insurance Companies

$100,000 - $249,999:

  • Amgen, Inc
  • Anheuser-Busch Companies
  • Citigroup Inc.
  • Comcast
  • DaVita, Inc.
  • Duke Energy Corporation
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Exxon Mobil Corporation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Ford Motor Company
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Merck and Company, Inc.
  • National Marrow Donor Program
  • Novartis Corporation
  • Pfizer, Inc.
  • Pharmaceutical Research and
  • Manufacturers of America
  • Prudential Financial
  • SEIU
  • SRA International, Inc.
  • Toyota Motor North America, Inc.
  • United Health Foundation
  • University of Phoenix, Apollo Group
  • UPS
  • Verizon Wireless

$50,000 - $99,999:

  • Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care
  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Bank of America Corporation
  • Black Entertainment Television (BET)
  • Holding, Inc.
  • The Boeing Company
  • California Teachers Association
  • Chesapeake Energy Corporation
  • Darden Restaurants, Inc.
  • Edison International
  • FedEx
  • General Dynamics
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kraft Foods
  • McDonald's Corporation
  • MillerCoors
  • National Association of Realtors
  • New York Life Foundation
  • Office of the Premier of Bermuda
  • Open Society Institute
  • PepsiCo
  • Pitney Bowes Inc.
  • The ServiceMaster Company
  • Shell Oil Company
  • Society For Human Resource Management
  • Southern Company
  • Union Pacific Corporation
  • The Walt Disney Company

$30,000 - $49,999:

  • Abbott Laboratories
  • AFLAC, Inc.
  • American Express, Inc.
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • American Hospital Association
  • Arbitron, Inc.
  • ChevronTexaco Corporation
  • CSX
  • Energy Future Holdings
  • Entergy Corporation
  • Federal Home Loan Bank of
  • San Francisco
  • Food Lion LLC
  • Forest City Enterprises, Inc.
  • Heineken USA, Inc.
  • Hyundai Motor America
  • LeClairRyan
  • Liberty Media
  • Major League Baseball
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Mortgage Insurance Companies of
  • America (MICA)
  • National Cable & Telecommunications
  • Association
  • National Installment Lenders Association
  • Nationwide
  • Neany, Inc.
  • News Corporation
  • Nissan North America
  • Novo Nordisk
  • PEPCO Holdings, Inc.
  • SodexhoUSA
  • United HealthCare Group

$15,000 - $29,999:

  • AARP
  • Allstate insurance Company
  • American Assocation for Justice
  • American Petroleum Institute
  • The American Society of Composers,
  • Authors & Publishers
  • APRO (Association of Progressive Rental
  • Organizations)
  • Association of Bermuda Insurers &
  • Reinsurers
  • BAE Systems
  • Baxter Healthcare
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
  • BNSF Railway
  • Capital One
  • CH2M Hill
  • Children's National Medical Center
  • Columbia University
  • CompuCredit
  • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store
  • Democratic National Committee
  • Dish Network
  • Edison Electric Institute
  • EDS
  • Eisai
  • Entertainment Software Association
  • Exelon Corporation
  • Florida Delivers Leadership
  • Genentech, Inc.
  • General Electric Company
  • Genworth Financial
  • Georgetown University
  • Google, Inc
  • Intuit
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Representative Barbara Lee
  • Marathon Oil Corporation
  • Mazda Motor of America, Inc.
  • Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
  • Monsanto
  • Monster
  • Mpimalanga Tourism & Parks Agency
  • National Association of Broadcasters
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Representative Charles B. Rangel
  • Raytheon Company
  • Sepracor
  • Sprint Nextel
  • Talecris Biotherapeutics
  • The Clorox Company
  • Time Warner Cable
  • Time Warner, Inc.
  • Travelers Group
  • Tyson Foods, Inc.
  • Western Union Financial Services, Inc./
  • First Data Financial
  • Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceuticals
  • Yum! Brands

$5,000 - $14,999:

  • Aetna Inc.
  • American Airlines
  • American Dental Education Association
  • American Red Cross
  • Amplify Public Affairs LLC
  • APCO
  • Ascension Health
  • Association of American Railroads
  • Baker & Associates
  • Barnes & Thornburg
  • Baylor Health Care System
  • Black Rose Foundation for Children
  • Blank Rome Government Relations, LLC
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida
  • Boost Mobile
  • BP Corporation North America, Inc.
  • Kevin Brown
  • Senator Roland Burris
  • California Legislative Black Caucus
  • Career Education Corporation
  • Ray Carlisle
  • Representative Andre’ Carson
  • CBS Corporation
  • Representative Yvette Clarke
  • Credit Union National Association, Inc.
  • CTIA
  • Representative Elijah E. Cummings
  • Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Deutsch Post Post Worlk Net USA, Inc.
  • Diageo North America, Inc.
  • Dickerson Employee Benefit
  • Dominion Resources Services, Inc.
  • Dow Chemical Company
  • DRIVE Committee
  • Eastman Kodak Company
  • ECMC, Group Inc.
  • Representative Donna F. Edwards
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Environmental Protection Agency/NCER
  • Federal Signal
  • Florida Crystals Corporation
  • GCLR
  • George Washington University
  • GGNSC Administrative Services LLC
  • GMAC Financial Services
  • Amy Goldson
  • Greater New York Hospital Association
  • Holland America Line Paymaster
  • Corporation
  • Homeownership Preservation Foundation
  • Honda North America Inc.
  • Honeywell International Inc.
  • Housing Authority of the City of
  • Los Angeles
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Hyatt Regency - Washington
  • IBM
  • Independence Federal Savings Bank
  • Intel Corporation
  • International Council of Shopping Centers
  • Bob Isard
  • John Deere International
  • Mervyn Jones
  • Khabo-Mabe on Time
  • Laborers International Union
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance Group/Boston
  • Mass Mutual Financial Group
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Consultants, LLC
  • Representative Gregory Meeks
  • Metropolitan Water District
  • Mobile Future
  • Mortgage Bankers Association of America
  • Motorola, Inc.
  • National Association of Community Health
  • Centers, Inc.
  • National Association of Real Estate
  • Brokers
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • The National Black Justice Coalition
  • National UAW Community
  • NCAA
  • New York Presbyterian Hospital
  • Nike, Inc.
  • Norfolk Southern Corporation
  • Norfolk Southern Railway Company
  • Nygard International
  • Osun State in Nigeria
  • Patton Boggs LLP
  • Peabody Energy
  • Perennial Strategy Group
  • Polsinelli Shalton Flanigan Suelthaus
  • Princess Cruises And Tours, Inc.
  • Private Equity Council
  • Proctor & Gamble Company/National
  • Progress Energy, Inc.
  • Public Service Enterprise Group
  • Incorporated
  • Qwest Communications International Inc.
  • Recording Industry Association of America
  • Renaissance Reinsurance Ltd.
  • Rent-A-Center
  • Royal Celebrity Tours
  • Safeway Inc.
  • SAIC
  • Saint Luke's Foundation
  • Sanofi-Aventis Pharmaceuticals
  • Sempra Energy
  • Sheet Metal Workers
  • Siebert, Bradford, Shank & Company, L.L.C.
  • Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine Health
  • Systems, Inc.
  • Sunoco, Inc.
  • Taipei Economic & Cultural
  • Represenative Office
  • Thompson, Cobb, Bazilio & Association PC
  • T-Mobile USA, Inc.
  • United Nations
  • United States Sugar Corporation
  • Van Scoyoc Associates, Inc.
  • Wachovia Corporation

External Links



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Congressional Black Caucus website: Our History (accessed on July 28, 2011)
  3. People's Daily World Dec 24 1986 p 10
  4. [,The Los Angeles sentinel, The Congressional Black Caucus (Update) Published on Friday, 06 August 2010 17:29 Written by Yussuf J. Simmonds (Managing Editor]
  6. Reflections of Fidel, The seven Congress members who are visiting us, Havana. April 7, 2009
  9. PWW Black Caucus hears call: Defeat Bush, GOP, by: Tim Wheeler October 3 2003
  10. [, CBC FB page, Congressional Black Caucus December 9, 2013]
  11. CBC Press Kit, accessed Dec. 8 2011
  12. Liberal Rantings Of A Queer New Yorker, January 20, 2009, Gotta Love 'Em
  13., Contribution of the Communist Party USA, 14th International Meeting of CWP, Presented by Erwin Marquit,, member of International Department, CPUSA, 25 November 2012
  14. [ The Root, CBC Offers Training and Support to Ferguson ActivistsBY: LAUREN VICTORIA BURKE Posted: Jan. 28 2015]
  15. ST Louis Posst Dispatch, Congressional Black Caucus members to attend church services Sunday in Ferguson January 16, 2015 10:30 am • By Chuck Raasch
  16. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Jan. 16, 2015)
  17. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Jan. 16, 2015)
  18. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)
  19. Congressional Black Caucus: Members (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Congressional Black Caucus: 2009 Annual Report
  21. Congressional Black Caucus: Board of Directors (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)
  22. Congressional Black Caucus: Advisory Councils (accessed on Feb. 24, 2011)