Congressional Black Caucus Chairmen and Chairwomen, 1971–Present

In 1971, 13 individuals created the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).1 The CBC became a focal point for addressing issues important to blacks nationally by acting as an advocacy group for African Americans within the institution and forming a potent bloc for pushing legislative items.2 “Many of the [early] Black Caucus members came out of the heat of the civil rights struggle,” William (Bill) Gray III of Pennsylvania observed. “We have a group of new members whose strategies were shaped in the post-civil rights movement—who use leverage within the system. We see ourselves not as civil rights leaders, but as legislators…the pioneers had made it possible for us to be technicians.”3

Member NameCongress/SessionYears of Service
Charles Coles Diggs, Jr.92nd–1st Session1971–1972
Louis Stokes92nd–2nd Session1972–1973
Louis Stokes93rd–1st Session1973–1974
Charles B. Rangel93rd–2nd Session1974–1975
Charles B. Rangel94th–1st Session1975–1976
Yvonne Brathwaite Burke94th–2nd Session1976–1977
Parren James Mitchell95th1977–1979
Cardiss Collins9696th1979–1981
Walter Edward Fauntroy9797th1981–1983
Julian Carey Dixon9898th1983–1985
George Thomas (Mickey) Leland9999th1985–1987
Mervyn Malcolm Dymally100100th1987–1989
Ronald V. Dellums101101st1989–1991
Edolphus Towns102102nd1991–1993
Kweisi Mfume103103rd1993–1995
Donald M. Payne104104th1995–1997
Maxine Waters105105th1997–1999
James E. Clyburn106106th1999–2001
Eddie Bernice Johnson107107th2001–2003
Elijah E. Cummings108108th2003–2005
WattMelvin L. Watt109109th2005–2007
KilpatrickCarolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick110110th2007–2009
LeeBarbara Lee111111th2009–2011
CleaverEmanuel Cleaver II112112th2011–2013
FudgeMarcia L. Fudge113113th2013–2015
George Kenneth (G.K.) Butterfield, Jr.114th2015–2017

Footnotes

1According to Robert Singh, “The central function of caucuses is to bring together legislators with shared interests, backgrounds, and policy goals.” Robert Singh, The Congressional Black Caucus: Racial Politics in the U.S. Congress, (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage, 1998): 58. As internal congressional organizations, caucuses like the CBC formed in great part to pursue a collective agenda with a “strength in numbers” strategy.

2Research materials for the Congressional Black Caucus can be found at the following location:
Congressional Black Caucus Collection
Howard University
Moorland-Spingarn Research Center
500 Howard Place, NW
Washington, DC 20059
http://library.howard.edu/MSRC

3Quoted in Singh, The Congressional Black Caucus: 51.