Black Members of the United States Congress: 1870-2004 [Updated March 4, 2004]   [open pdf - 178KB]

"Thirty-nine black Members serve in the 108th Congress, all in the House of Representatives. A total of 112 blacks have served as Members of Congress: 108 elected to the House and four to the Senate. The majority of the black Members (85) have been Democrats; the rest (27) have been Republicans. The first black Member of Congress was Hiram Rhodes Revels (R-MS), who served in the Senate in the 41st Congress (1870). The first black Member of the House was Joseph H. Rainey (R-SC). He also served in the 41st Congress. Shirley Chisholm (D-NY), elected to the 91st through 97th Congresses (1969-1983), was the first black woman in Congress. Since that time, 22 other black women have been elected, including Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL, 1993-1999), who was the first black woman, as well as the first black Democrat, elected to the Senate. The black Members of Congress have served on all major committees. Sixteen have served as committee chairmen, 15 in the House and one in the Senate. This report will be updated at the commencement of the 109th Congress unless there are significant changes in the 108th Congress."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30378
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