Timeline and photos courtesy of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Avoice Virtual Library project.
Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1960. This legislation required election officials to have all records relating to voter registration. It also permitted the Department of Justice to inspect these records. Under this legislation, black Americans previously denied the opportunity to vote in their local jurisdictions were afforded the opportunity to apply to a federal court or voting referee for the right to vote.
On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. The act declares that throughout the nation no person shall be denied the right to vote on account of race or color. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawed the requirement that voters take literacy tests to qualify for the right to vote. Other special provisions included the enforcement of this legislation in areas where there had been a history of racial discrimination.
The number of black Americans in Congress had doubled from five during the 90th Congress (1967-1969) to ten during the 91st Congress (1969-1971).
Congressman Charles Diggs, Jr. (D-MI) proposed forming the Democratic Select Committee (DSC).
The DSC requests a conference with President Richard Nixon, but is denied.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is founded during the 92nd Congress (1971-1973). Founding members include Shirley Chisholm, William L. Clay, George W. Collins, John Conyers, Ronald Dellums, Charles Diggs, Augustus F. Hawkins, Ralph Metcalfe, Parren Mitchell, Robert Nix, Charles B. Rangel, Louis Stokes, and Washington D.C. delegate Walter Fauntroy
The CBC boycotted President Nixon’s State of the Union Address.
President Nixon agreed to a meeting with the CBC. The CBC delivers this list of recommendations >>>
The CBC began sponsoring national conferences on areas such as health, education, business, media and politics.
The CBC delivered the preparation of the Black Declaration of Independence and Black Bill of Rights in Congress.
Congress extended Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for five years.
Congress extended Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for seven more years.
CBC members began advocating for a Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday by increasing public knowledge of the bill and building support for this initiative.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation was established. The CBCF sponsors programs under the leadership of some CBC members and other supporters. These initiatives focus on education, economic development, public health and African globalization programs.
The CBC Fellows Program began. This program provides fellowships to black graduate students to equip them with the necessary training to pursue a career in public policy. The Summer Internship Program helps black college students gain job experience on Capitol Hill.
CBC members meet with President Jimmy Carter to discuss the Humphrey-Hawkins Bill (H.R. 50), which established the federal government’s responsibility to ensure full employment. When it was signed into law in October 1978, Carter credited the CBC for its role in the advocacy for this bill.
The CBC achieved LSO (Legislative Service Organization) status. The House Committee on Administration prohibited LSO's from receiving outside funding, but they were allowed to establish tax exempt foundations to carry out research and other activities.
The CBC unveils the "Constructive Alternative Budget Proposal Initiative" in response to Reagan's budget for FY1982 at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. The CBC's alternative budget distinguishes it from all other caucuses.
Congress extended Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for twenty-five years.
The Congressional Black Caucus and Howard University Moorland-Spingarn Research Center (MSRC) and the Congressional Black Caucus entered into an agreement establishing the CBC Archives at MSRC.
President Ronald Reagan signed the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday into law.
Congressman William Gray (D-PA), chairman of the Committee on Budget, introduced H.R. 1460, a bill that prohibited loans and new investment in South Africa and enforced sanctions on imports and exports with the nation.
Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (H.R. 4868) became public law 99-440. This legislation called for sanctions against South Africa and stated preconditions for lifting the sanctions, including the release of all political prisoners. (Among these political prisoners was Nelson Mandela.) President Ronald Reagan attempted to veto the bill but was overridden. The override marked the first time in the 20th century that a president had a foreign policy veto overridden.
The Voting Rights Language Assistance Act was passed.
Congress passes The National Voter Registration Act, also known as the "Motor Voter" bill. This legislation made registration more uniform and accessible, particularly for minority and low income voters. It required that states allow voter registration by mail. It also required that states give voters the opportunity to register at other state agencies, such as driver’s license bureaus, welfare offices and unemployment agencies.
The Republican majority in the House abolished all LSO's. Congressman Pat Roberts (R-KS) was among several GOP members that campaigned against the public subsidization of caucuses. All caucuses were forced to move out of congressional office space and become Congressional Member Organizations or private corporations.
Congress passed the Help America to Vote Act. This legislation sought to improve the administration of federal elections by providing assistance with the administration of certain federal election laws and programs. September 2003-The CBC and the Fox News Channel sponsored its first Democratic presidential campaign debate in Baltimore, MD.
Congressional Black Caucus and Fox News sponsored a Democratic Presidential Primary Debate in Detroit, MI.
CBC members met with President George W. Bush to discuss the renewal of the Voting Rights Act and its Amendments, which were set to expire in 2007.
All 42 House members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) introduced HR 4197, the Hurricane Katrina Recovery, Reclamation, Restoration, Reconstruction and Reunion Act of 2005. The bill was designed to provide for the recovery of the Gulf Coast region and for the reunion of families devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
CBC members co-sponsored the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006.
The House voted overwhelmingly (390-33) to renew expiring provisions of the Voting Rights Act.
CBCF launches the CBCF Virtual Library Project, the first and most comprehensive virtual library dedicated to recognizing the political and legislative contributions African-Americans have made in Congress.
During the month of August 2011, the Congressional Black Caucus launched the “For the People” Jobs Initiative in Cleveland, Ohio. The initiative consisted of the introduction of over 50 pieces of jobs legislation and a partnership with private and public organizations to provide immediate, meaningful opportunities for the underserved with a nation-wide jobs tour. Nearly 30,000 people gathered for town hall meetings, job fairs, job readiness workshops, and seminars as a part of the CBC’s Jobs Initiative in Cleveland, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami and Los Angeles. In addition to the over fifty job creation bills since the beginning of the 112th Congress, CBC Members put forth nine job creation proposals targeting our nation’s most vulnerable communities, all which were included in President Barack Obama's American Jobs Act.