Congressman & Congressional Black Caucus Founder John Conyers Dies At 90
Former Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving black member of Congress and founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, has died in his sleep, Fox News confirmed.
Detroit police said the 90-year-old former congressman, a Democrat, died at his home on Sunday, apparently of natural causes.
Conyers became one of only six black House members when he was won his first election by just 108 votes in 1964. The race was the beginning of more than 50 years of election dominance: Conyers regularly won elections with more than 80 percent of the vote.
Throughout his career, Conyers used his influence to push civil rights. After a 15-year fight, he won passage of legislation declaring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday, first celebrated in 1986. He regularly introduced a bill starting in 1989 to study the harm caused by slavery and the possibility of reparations for slaves’ descendants. That bill never got past a House subcommittee.
Conyers was born and grew up in Detroit, where his father, John Conyers Sr., was a union organizer in the automotive industry and an international representative with the United Auto Workers union.
A veteran of the Korean War, Conyers later trained as a lawyer and entered the House in 1965. Almost immediately after Luther King’s death in 1968, Conyers introduced a bill calling for the MLK day national holiday. He pursued the bill until it was made law in 1983. Civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks was employed by him in…