Congressional Black Caucus Celebrates 50 YearsJan 12, 2021 08:00AM ● By Kassidy Garland
On this day, 50 years ago, the Congressional Black Caucus was formed with 13 congress members. Since it’s beginning, the CBC has committed themselves to furthering the protection and advancement of the Black community in the US. They make sure to use the full power of the federal government to allow minority groups to have equal opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
The CBC aims to address the following:
Reforming the criminal justice system and eliminating barriers to reentry;
Combatting voter suppression;
Expanding access to world-class education from pre-k through post-secondary level;
Expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare and eliminating racial disparities;
Expanding access to 21st century technologies, including broadband;
Strengthening protections for workers and expanding access to full, fairly-compensated employment;
Expanding access to capital, contracts, and counseling for minority-owned businesses and
Promoting US foregin policy in Africa and other countries that are consistent with the fundamental right of human dignity.
In its first year of operation, President Nixon refused to meet with the newly formed group, but due to the press surrounding the committee’s choice to boycott the State of the Union address, he agreed to meet with them. At this meeting with President Nixon, the CBC presented 61 recommendations in reference to the African American community including eradication of racism, providing quality housing, and promoting engagement with the community.
During the 1960s, the number of Black congress members grew exponentially. Beginning with just 13 members including Shirley Chisom and Louis Stokes, the CBC now has a total of 55 members including Maxine Waters, Cory Booker, and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris. Although the committee was originally formed as a nonpartisan organization, it has been composed of mostly democrats since its inception.
With its highest recorded membership in CBC history, the group has members in all congressional levels. Currently, of the 55 members, 2 are non-voting members and 28 CBC members serve as chairs on House subcommittees. Representative James E. Clyburn (D-SC) is the Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, Representative Barabara Lee (D-CA) is the co-chair of the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and Representative Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) is the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
With its aim to create equal opportunity for all Americans using the full force of the Congressional power of the federal government, the CBC creates legislation and recommendations for those in power to address inequality.