The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), which bills itself as the “conscience of the Congress,” is one of the most powerful caucuses in Congress. While many will differ on precisely what parameters translate into “powerful,” none can deny a clear element of clout and visibility the CBC has on Capitol Hill. Members of the caucus have histories of activism unparalleled by other legislators and, for nearly 50 years, they have taken unpopular stances, not only for interests of African Americans, but for the good of the entire country.
Within the 115th Congress, the CBC has a historic membership of 49 U.S. representatives and two U.S. senators. Collectively, they represent 78 million Americans comprising 24 percent of the total U.S. population. About 17 million of those constituents are African Americans who makes up 41 percent of the total U.S. African American population. In addition, the CBC represents almost a fourth of the House Democratic Caucus.
The CBC was founded in 1971, and since that time it has pushed into the mainstream by earning seniority and serving as chairpersons or ranking members of key congressional committees, with subsequent re-elections ensured by majority-minority districts. Yet, while their voices and antics have been seemingly effective throughout the years, their efficacy in furthering the substantive and enduring legislative goals of their largely African American constituency has been questioned. (The Hill)