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John Conyers, Longest Serving African American in Congressional History, Has Joined the Ancestors

John Conyers, Longest Serving African American in Congressional History, Has Joined the Ancestors

Former congressman John Conyers has joined the ancestors. 

Conyers passed away in his sleep on Sunday, according to his son, John Conyers III. He was 90. 

A native of Detroit, Conyers represented Michigan in Congress from 1965 until his resignation in 2017, becoming the longest serving African American in congressional history.

Immediately following his election Conyers hired civil rights leader, Rosa Parks, to work out of his Detroit office as a receptionist. She was a volunteer on his campaign and worked to get Dr. King to endorse his candidacy. Although Parks suffered hardships as a result of her visible role in the Montgomery bus boycott, Conyers made sure she had a job. She worked in his office from 1965 until her retirement in 1988. 

During his tenure he played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement as he worked to introduce and support legislation that protected and advanced the rights of African Americans. 

He co-sponsored the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and in 1968, four days after Dr. King was assassinated, he introduced the bill that would eventually make Martin Luther King Jr. day a federal holiday. 

In 1971, Conyers became a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus along with Shirley Chisholm and 11 other members who saw the need to unify and organize Black political power in congress. 

In 2007 he blazed another trail when he became the first African American to serve as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

Conyers’ successor, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, tweeted the following message following the news of his transition, “We always knew where he stood on issues of equality and civil rights in the fight for the people. Thank you Congressman Conyers for fighting for us for over 50 years."

Rest in Power, Congressman.