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The Congressional Black Caucus Essay

884 words - 4 pages

Through the history of African Americans in America, few political moments were more important than the formation of the Congressional Black Caucus. The thirteen black members of the House of Representatives founded the CBC in 1969. Their goal was to establish a voice for African Americans who felt forgotten and downtrodden. One early goals of the Black Caucus was to end the Apartheid in South Africa. During the early years of the organization, there was strife internally and externally. After the Reconstruction of America, African Americans were without organization amongst their representation in Congress until the establishment of the Congressional Black Caucus.
In 1969 Representative Charles C Diggs Jr. of Michigan, proposed the formation of a committee featuring the nine elected black members of congress. The goal of the committee, which was named the Democratic Select Committee, was to “seize the moment, to fight injustice, to raise issues too long ignored and too little debated.” Diggs proposal to congress stated that the legislators would fill a significant void by fostering the exchange of information between the black Representatives and House leadership. The Committee set out to alter the input and impact that African American interest would have on the floor of Congress. The original group consisted of Diggs, William Clay, Sr., of Missouri, Louis Stokes of Ohio, and Shirley Chisholm of New York among other of African American members of Congress. These members were the foundation of change in the voice African American’s in Congress. Although the DSC was an informal organization that originally lacked structure, it would serve as the roots of the Congressional Black Caucus.
During the 92nd Congress on February 2, 1971, Representative William Clay, Sr., proposed a reorganizing of the DSC. As the newly elected African American members of Congress grew so did their dissatisfaction with the DSC. The new members along with the urging of Clay put into effect a new focus and outlook for the Committee. What started as an informal delegation of friends was turning into a political machine. The Democratic Select Committee was no more; it would be renamed the Congressional Black Caucus. The new name showed a clear-cut definitive refocusing of the group not along any party lines. Charles Diggs would be named the CBC’s first Chairman, however, it was Clay who came up with the motto of the group, “Black people have no permanent friends, no permanent enemies… just permanent interest.” In the infant stages of the CBC, the African American community placed heavy expectations on the group. Each member of the CBC collected the perspective of their constituents on a wide range of...

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