WASHINGTON - Black California Congresswoman Barbara Lee, outgoing Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will pass the leadership gavel to her friend and colleague Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) as he assumes the CBC Chairmanship during their ceremonial Swearing-In event. In addition to Congressman Cleaver II, Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-VI) will serve as the First Vice Chair, Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) as Second Vice Chair, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) as Secretary, and Andre Carson (D-IN) as Whip.
Craig Melvin, weekend anchor for NBC News 4 in Washington will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the program which will feature remarks from Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and CBC Foundation Chairman Donald M. Payne (D-NJ). Musical selections will be performed by Evette Jones, 2009 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship Recipient.
“I want to thank my distinguished colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus for the awesome honor of serving as your chair during the 111th Congress,” said Rep. Barbara Lee. “Additionally, I want to thank my leadership team and staff for their extraordinary work over the past two years. They have done a tremendous job, and put in many long days and nights to ensure that the CBC continued its important work.
“I wish my friend and colleague Congressman Cleaver much success as he assumes the chairmanship of this dynamic caucus. I am confidant that under his leadership the Congressional Black Caucus will continue to lead this congress on each and every issue with intelligence, commitment and power, and continue to be the ‘conscience of the Congress’ and the voice of the voiceless.”
In the 112th Congress there will be 43 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including a number of full committee and subcommittee ranking members and one member serving as part of the Democratic Leadership.
In January of 1969, newly-elected African American representatives of the 77th Congress joined six incumbents to form the Democratic Select Committee. The committee was renamed the Congressional Black Caucus, and the CBC was born in 1971. Founding members of the CBC included Reps. Shirley Chisholm, William Clay, George Collins, John Conyers, Ronald Dellums, Charles Diggs, Augustus Hawkins, Ralph Metcalfe, Parren Mitchell, Robert Nix, Charles Rangel, Louis Stokes, and D.C. Delegate Walter Fauntroy.