Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
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Howard University > CBC 40th Anniversary Celebration
Welcome to the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Congressional Black Caucus

ou are invited to participate in the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Congressional Black Caucus. Howard University and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation will host a symposium on April 5th at the Ira Aldridge Theater. During this day of reflection and exploration, the CBCF and Howard University will publicly revisit the Caucus' struggles and triumphs. In four separate panels, former and current caucus members and political scholars will retrace the CBC's journey from 1971 to present.

Seating is limited. For detailed information, see below.

Ira Aldridge Theatre
8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Ira Aldridge Theatre



Continental Breakfast






9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Ira Aldridge Theater




Donald Payne Rep. Donald Payne, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, has represented New Jersey's 10th congressional district since 1989.
Sidney A. Ribeau Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D., has served as the 16th president of Howard University since 2008.


9:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Ira Aldridge Theater

Panel 1: The CBC from the Beginning (1970-1979)

In 1870, Joseph Rainey of South Carolina became the first African American directly elected to Congress. Others soon followed from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia, but it would be 100 years until their numbers in Congress would become politically significant. In 1971, the 13 U.S. representatives established the Congressional Black Caucus. During the 1970s, they established the organization's goals and principles. They stressed key priorities that held the American government accountable to all Americans, including the creation of an alternative budget, full employment and civil rights enforcement.

Walter E. Fauntroy Del. Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, a founding member of the CBC, served as the delegate from the District of Columbia in Congress from 1971 to 1991.
Mr. Ofield Dukes helped organize the first Congressional Black Caucus dinner in 1971 and worked closely with the CBC from its founding through his public relations firm, Ofield Dukes & Associates.

Rep. John Conyers, Jr., a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has represented the 14th congressional district of Michigan since 1965.


Rep. Charles B. Rangel, a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and former CBC chair, has represented New York's 15th congressional district since 1971. 
Mae King Mae King, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Howard University and a longtime observer of the Congressional Black Caucus.


Dr. Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the Department of History at Howard University


11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Ira Aldridge Theater

Panel 2: The Reagan Years (1980 to 1989)

The 1980s were a tumultuous period. The country was in a recession. Inflation and interest rates stood at double digits. Poverty rates rose from 13 percent to 15 percent in the first three years, and the CBC faced, if not a hostile White House, certainly not a friendly one. Economic opportunity and parity were the group's major priorities. CBC members played key roles in protecting African-American interests at home as well as passing anti-apartheid legislation that ultimately led to a free South Africa. There was also a trend of coalition building among the caucuses in Congress to further legislative efforts.


William Gray

Rep. William Gray, represented Pennsylvania's 2nd congressional district from 1978 until his resignation in 1991.


Dorothy Jackson is a former director of the Congressional Black Caucus and has held a variety of senior government positions including serving as legislative council and chief of staff to several members of Congress.

Kurt Schmoke

Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, is dean of the Howard University School of Law.

Oneshia S. Herring Oneshia S. Herring, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Fellow.



2:15 p.m. - 3: 30 p.m.
Ira Aldridge Theater

Panel 3: Representing the Conscience of the Congress (1990 to 1999)

The 1990s were dominated by rapid, dramatic change -- the rise of the Internet, the release and eventual presidency of Nelson Mandela, increased globalization and expanding international terrorism. Partly due to redistricting from the 1990 Census, the CBC membership grew, but more importantly it became more diverse. Members represented not only the northern and urban United States, but also southern, rural and suburban areas. Additionally, a greater number of women were elected to Congress, including the nation's first African-American woman senator.


Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick represented the 13th congressional district of Michigan from 1997 until she retired in 2011. Invited*
Sheila Jackson Lee

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has represented Texas; 18th congressional district since 1995.

Rep. Barbara Lee Rep. Barbara Lee has represented California's 9th congressional district since 1998. Invited*
Alvin Thornton

Alvin Thornton, Ph.D., former chair and a faculty member of the Howard University Department of Political Science for 26 years, is currently senior advisor to President Sidney A. Ribeau.

William Roberts, third year Howard University Law student 


3:45 pm. - 5:00 p.m.
Ira Aldridge Theater

Panel 4: The CBC and the New Millennium (2000 to Present)

With the tragedy of 9/11, two major wars, deepening economic disparities and the heightened pace of international terrorism, CBC members faced challenges on all fronts at the turn of the century. The 2008 election placed the first African American in the White House and swept a number of CBC members into congressional leadership positions as the Democratic Party regained control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Their ascension, however, was short-lived as Republicans won back the House in 2010 and narrowed the Democrats' margins in the Senate. Members explore the recent past with an eye toward the future.


James Clyburn

Rep. James Clyburn has represented South California's 6th congressional district since 1993.

Yvette Clarke

Rep. Yvette Clarke has represented New York's 11th congressional district since 2006.

Daryl Harris

Daryl Harris, Ph.D., is a professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at Howard University.


Joe Leonard

Moderator: Joe Leonard, Ph.D., assistant secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.




5:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Ira Aldridge Theater



Closing Remarks

Emanuel Cleaver

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, has represented Missouri's 5th congressional district since 2005. Invited*

Barbara L. J. Griffin

Barbara L. J. Griffin, Ph.D., is vice president for Student Affairs at Howard University.

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Founders Library



Paula Whetsel-Ribeau

Paula Whetsel-Ribeau, Ph.D., is the First Lady of Howard University and volunteer director of Alternative Spring Break.

*Due to possible schedule conflicts, panelist may change. Please recheck this site in the future for updates.

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