The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) was organized on January 4th, 1971 and represents the black members of the U.S. Congress. The caucus was originally created in January 1969 by a group of black House of Representatives as a Democratic Select Committee. In the 1960s an increasing number of blacks were becoming Representatives and the desired to create their own formal organization.
The aim of the caucus is “positively influencing the course of events pertinent to African-Americans and others of similar experience and situation”, and “achieving greater equity for persons of African descent in the design and content of domestic and international programs and services.”
The Congressional Black Caucus seeks to achieve these goals by making legislative advancements in education, healthcare, employment, justice, retirement, welfare, and foreign policy.
As more black members of Congress have been elected the caucus has grown. from the original nine members in 1969 to 43 members as of 2013. There have only been seven senators in the CBC as of 2014. The rest have been members of the House of Representatives.
In 1977 the CBC played an active role in founding the TransAfrica advocacy and education affiliate. This Entity was created to be a resource of information on Africa and its Diaspora. the CBC and TransAfrica worked together to begin the U.S. anti-apartheid movement, or Free South Africa Movement. They also strategized to legislate the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act Of 1986 which was signed by president Ronald Reagan.
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- In 1976 The CBC founded the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) as a research institute to encourage involvement in the nation’s political process.
- In 1983 the CBC was a driving force behind making Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday.
- In 1986 the CBCF created it intern program to give young individuals a chance to work in public service.
- In 1988 the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation created a scholarship program to assist gifted students in the Caucus’ districts.
- In 2006 the CBCF established the Katrina Relief Fund and donated over $250,000 to aid in the rebuilding of communities in Mississippi and Louisiana.
- In 2009 the Act Against Aids Leadership Initiative (AAALI) was created to educate the american public on justice issues surrounding HIV.
- In 2014 the CBC created the China Study Abroad Program to allow students in CBC districts to explore internationally.