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The Congressional Black Caucus
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    According to their bylaws, race is not a prerequisite for membership but they have never had a white member.
    When Congressman Stephen Cohen (D-Tennessee), a white who represents a majority-black district, applied to join, he was rejected.
    Rep. William Lacy Clay said, ‘He’s white and the Caucus is black….It’s an unwritten rule. It’s understood.’
    Rep. J. C. Watts (R-Oklahoma) refused to join, calling the Caucus ‘race-hustling poverty pimps.’
    When indicted Congressman William J. Jefferson was re-elected, he received a standing ovation from the Caucus.
    Rep. Clay said, ‘There has been an unofficial Congressional White Caucus for over 200 years, and now it’s our turn to say who can join the club.’
    Its members played key roles in establishing Martin Luther King Day as a federal holiday (1983) and in imposing sanctions on the apartheid regime of South Africa (1986).
    Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) said, ‘The Congressional Black Caucus is probably the closest group of legislators on the Hill.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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