A known leader in the battle to end the spread of HIV/AIDS, she helped declare a state of emergency in her Alameda County to secure more funds to fight the disease.
He was born in Waxahachie, Texas, and grew up in public housing and graduated high school in Wichita Falls, Texas.
She is the first physician in the history of the U.S. Congress and the first woman to represent an off-shore territory.
Butterfield’s father was a dentist and civic leader. He was also the first African-American-elected official in eastern North Carolina in the 20th century.
Clarke currently resides in the neighborhood where she grew up in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn.
Bishop is the son of the late Dr. Sanford D. Bishop, Sr., the first president of Bishop State Community College in Mobile, Alabama.
Brown helped secure the American Heritage River designation for the St. Johns River, which spans the length of her district.
Currently the only Black senator, Burris replaced Obama whose seat was left vacant after he became President.
Before becoming an elected official, he worked in law enforcement.
After graduation from Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1974, he worked as an Assistant Doorkeeper in the U. S. House of Representatives. Meanwhile, he attended the University of Maryland where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in government and politics.
A well-known civil right’s warrior, he was elected president of his NAACP youth chapter when he was 12 years old.
Becoming a member of the House of Representatives in 1965, he is the second senior most member.
He has worked to increase diversity within the Service and the Coast Guard Academy.
Esquire magazine named him one of the ten best Congressmen in America.
Formerly a Chicago Alderman and County Commissioner, Davis was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996. A member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, he has introduced legislation to provide transitional assistance to ex-offenders, such as help with job training and housing.
The first Black woman to represent Maryland in the U.S. Congress, Edwards previously served as the executive director for the National Network to End Domestic Violence. A strong advocate for ending violence in Darfur, she was arrested this spring while protesting at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington.
The first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, Ellison is an attorney who formerly litigated in civil rights, employment and criminal defense law. A member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, he has traveled as part of several Congressional delegations to the Middle East.
Fattah has served in the House since 1994, where he has co-sponsored bills to raise the federal minimum wage, allow funding for stem-cell research, and lower the interest rate on student loans. This year he introduced legislation to certify that states allocate equal educational resources for all students.
Formerly the mayor of a Cleveland suburb, and an attorney who was chief of staff for the late Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Fudge was selected as Jones’s replacement after her death in August of 2008. She also previously served as the National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
A former trial lawyer and President of the Houston NAACP for nearly 10 years, Green has been a member of the House since 2004. He serves on the Committee on Homeland Security and the Committee on Financial Services, focused on eliminating predatory lending practices.
A House member since 1992, he has introduced legislation supporting temporary protected status for Haitian immigrants and to establish a program to improve hurricane preparedness. He previously served as the first African-American Federal judge in the state of Florida.
With a background in civil rights activism, Jackson worked on his father’s presidential campaigns and formerly worked with the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition. A member of the House since 1995, he has been active in funding AIDS service organizations and has written three books.
Jackson Lee is a former municipal judge who serves on the Judiciary Committee, Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Committee on Homeland Security. A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., she is a champion of liberal causes including abortion rights and affirmative action.
A former administrator for the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare who worked as a nurse and psychotherapist before entering politics, Johnson was a leading voice against the war in Iraq. As a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, she has advocated action to reduce climate change.
Johnson previously served as a State Court Judge, presiding over civil and criminal jury trials, and now sits on the House Committee of Armed Services and the Judiciary Committee. He was a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq and the Bush Administration’s Wall Street bailout.
A member of the House since 1997, Cheeks Kilpatrick serves on the Appropriations Committee and is the former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She has sponsored legislation to make affordable housing more accessible and to increase funding for global HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria programs.
Lewis was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. A member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, he has supported legislation to expand the definition and prosecution of hate crimes and to provide support for victims of teen dating violence.
A former trooper and captain of the Florida Highway Patrol, as well as a former member of the Florida State Senate, Meek serves on the House Committee of Ways and Means. He has sponsored legislation to support Haitian refugees and to establish an FBI unit on mortgage fraud.
Meeks previously served as an Assistant District Attorney for the City of New York and on the New York State Assembly. A member of the Committee on Financial Services, he has supported bills to eliminate predatory mortgage lending and to address disparities in lending rates between Whites and minorities.
Born in Racine, Wisconsin in 1951, Congresswoman Moore was raised in Milwaukee as the eighth of nine children. She fought to curb predatory lending in minority neighborhoods, supported small businesses and advance the creation of new jobs, especially in minority neighborhoods.
State: District of Columbia
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is a third generation Washingtonian and in her tenth term as Congresswoman. She taught full time before being elected, earned her law degree as well as a masters degree in American Studies from Yale Law School. She is the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees.
State: New Jersey
Donald M. Payne is a native of Newark, New Jersey and was elected in 1988 as New Jersey’s first African American Congressman. He also helped secure passage of a bill authorizing $50 billion for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria for his home state.
Congressman Watt practiced law from 1970-1992, specializing in minority business and economic development law and been an owner of several small businesses.
In 1992, he became one of only two African American members elected to Congress from North Carolina in the 20th century and since 1995 he has been the starting pitcher for the Democratic baseball team in the annual Congressional Baseball Game.
Congresswoman Diane E. Watson was born and raised in Los Angeles and has had a lifetime commitment to education starting with her involvement in the Los Angeles public schools where she worked as an elementary school teacher and school psychologist. In 1975, Congresswoman Watson became the first African-American woman to be elected to the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education. Her legacy there includes efforts to expand school integration, and toughen academic standards.
Considered one of the most powerful women in politics today, Congresswoman Waters has played a huge role in five presidential campaigns: Sen. Edward Kennedy (1980), Rev. Jesse Jackson (1984 & 1988), and President Bill Clinton (1992 & 1996). She has also used her skill and influence to deliver $10 billion in Section 108 loan guarantees to cities for economic and infrastructure development, housing and small business expansion.
As a senior member in Congress, Rep. Towns has fought for improving the public healthcare system, enhancing consumer protections, strengthening public education, and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in government. Rep. Towns is also an ordained Baptist minister and has the distinction of having both he and his son, Darryl, a New York State Assemblyman, as the first African-American father-son team to serve simultaneously in New York public office.
With more than 39 years of continuous public service, he is the longest-serving African-American elected official in the state of Mississippi. He served as alderman and mayor in his hometown for years, served as a volunteer firefighter for 26 years, and is considered a leading voice on civil rights, equal education and healthcare reform. In 1975, he filed a lawsuit to increase funding at Mississippi’s historically black universities and the case was settled in 2004 for an unprecedented $503 million.
In 1992, Rep. Scott made history by becoming the first African American elected to Congress from Virginia since Reconstruction and only the second African American elected to Congress in Virginia’s history. Rep. Scott is leading the efforts to pass comprehensive juvenile justice reform, crime prevention legislation and is a strong supporter of universal health care.
After being thrown into the news recently for having a Swastika painted on his office door and sign, Rep. David Scott continues to be a stalwart proponent in fighting for the people of his state by asking to direct more stimulus funding to foreclosure relief, authoring the law providing student loan repayment assistance for public attorneys and authoring the law to allow Georgians to request two free credit reports annually. Congressman Scott is also a PK (preacher’s kid).
Rep. Bobby Rush was the co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party in 1968 and as a member of Congress, he sat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee last year. He also traveled to Cuba as part of an historic Congressional delegation that met with Cuban President Raul Castro. He is the pastor of Beloved Community Christian Church
Congresswoman Laura Richardson lived through the civil rights movement as a child of a Black father and White mother and credits the racism she faced as the reason for her need to enter public service. In 2007, she succeeded 16 candidates in a special election and was elected to her first term after having served all three levels of government; local, state and federal all in the span of less than one year.
There isn’t enough room here to state all of Congressman Charles Rangel’s significant contributions to this country. Not only did he unseat Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.in 1970 but he has gone on to serve as a member of the Judiciary Committee during Watergate, become chairman of the Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control, but he is also chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. He got his first job at a local drug store in Harlem when he was just eight-years old.