Culture

John Conyers, Longest Serving Black Congressman in U.S. History, Dead at 90

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Conyers was a vocal advocate for progressive values throughout a historic congressional career.

Former Michigan Congressman, John Conyers Jr., the longest-serving African-American congressman in United States history, was discovered dead in his home, according to Detroit police. He was 90-years-old.

Conyers entered Congress in 1965 after a tour in the Korean War. As a member of The House, Conyers devoted his career to civil rights and activism for progressive values.  In 1969, Conyers co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus with 12 other members of The House, and in 1971, led the effort to impeach Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal. In 1983, Conyers sponsored the bill that established Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday, and in the wake of 9/11, spoke out against Bush-era policies that targeted Muslims.

In 2017, the Michigan house rep closed his career in controversy, stepping down from his post at the demand of party leaders following accusations of sexual misconduct against staff members and using tax-payer money to settle claims of harassment.

In his place, his son, John Conyers III, was endorsed for the seat, but chose not to run. The following year, Rashida Talib ran unopposed for his district, becoming the first Palestinian-American woman to serve in Congress and the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan state legislature.

zo

Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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