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Rep. John Conyers Leaves Legacy of Civil Rights Activism: 1929-2019

Posted November 27th, 2019  |  News

John Conyers was the longest serving black Democrat in Congress and co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus. His political career spanned more than 50 years and included his remarkable legacy of support for the poor and underprivileged and challenging the expanding global footprint of the U.S. military.

After serving in the Korean War, Conyers became active in the civil rights movement and was first elected to represent constituents on the west side of Detroit in 1964.

Conyers was an early critic of the Vietnam War and voted against the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s and the Iraq War in 2002. He was also one of the few0elected officials with the courage to vote against the 2002 Patriot Act, a law which continues to threaten our civil liberties.

He co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969 and established a reputation as one of the most progressive members of Congress.

Conyers began lobbying for a national holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. just days after King’s assassination in 1968. The bill, which made the third Monday in January of each year Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was finally passed in 1983.

He was also the original sponsor of the National Voter Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1993. The landmark legislation allows people to register to vote when they apply for driver’s licenses or government benefits.

The Michigan Coalition for Human Rights celebrates and honors Rep. Conyers for his decades of service to the community and his powerful advocacy for civil and human rights.