On this day in history, January 4, 1969,the Congressional Black Caucus was formed. In the beginning of 1969, there were 10 Black members of the United States House of Representatives and one Black member of the Senate. The group, which called itself the “Democratic Select Committee,” had the ambition of creating a formal organization to look at legislative issues affecting African-Americans. Rep. Charles Diggs, a Democrat from Michigan, served as the first chairman of what would eventually be known as the Congressional Black Caucus.
When it was formed on Jan. 4, 1969, the CBC included members of the House of Representatives who were among the most notable names in the African-American political landscape, including Shirley Chisholm of New York, William Clay of Missouri and Louis Stokes of Ohio. It would take on the new name in 1971 at the suggestion of Charles B. Rangel of New York.
By the beginning of 2013, there were 43 Black members of Congress, including one in the Senate. That number expanded when Cory Booker was elected to the Senate in a special election later in the year.