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The History of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)


The Congressional Black Caucus was formally established on March 30, 1971. On this day, Congressman Charles C. Diggs, Jr. (D-MI) presented “The Statement to the President of the United States” by the Congressional Black Caucus. The CBC delivered the statement to President Richard Nixon during a formal meeting with the president. The statement included more than sixty recommendations for executive action on issues facing black America.


During his presentation, Representative Diggs recognized the thirteen founding members of the CBC and declared their issues and concerns to be non-partisan.  With this statement, the Congressional Black Caucus hoped to draw the attention of both Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress and bring awareness to the public of the concerns of black Americans. It was through this statement that the CBC began its history of advocacy on behalf of the African-American community.


The founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus:


  • Representative Shirley A. Chisholm


  • Representative William L. Clay, Sr.


  • Representative George W. Collins


  • Representative John Conyers, Jr.


  • Representative Ronald V. Dellums


  • Representative Charles C. Diggs, Jr.


  • Representative Augustus F. Hawkins


  • Representative Ralph H. Metcalfe


  • Representative Parren J. Mitchell


  • Representative Robert N.C. Nix, Sr.


  • Representative Charles B. Rangel


  • Representative Louis Stokes


  • D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy 


As the legislative voice for African Americans, the CBC can trace its history back to the civil rights efforts of the 1960 including such victories was the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which its members continue to champion today.


CBC members have predominantly been members of the Democratic Party, however, the founding members envisioned a non-partisan organization that would serve to “promote the public welfare through legislation designed to meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens." With this, the CBC boasts a long history of bipartisan collaboration and members who are both Democrat and Republican.


Serving as the voice for people of color and vulnerable communities in Congress, the CBC remains committed to utilizing the full Constitutional power, statutory authority, and financial resources of the government of the United States of America to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to achieve the American Dream.