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Biographical Details of Leadership
Contemporary Lens on Black Leadership
Historical Focus on Race
John Conyers Jr.
John Conyers served in the United States House of Representatives since 1965, making him the longest-serving African American in the history of that body at the time of his resignation. Conyers was the first African American elected to serve as Democratic Leader of the House Committee on the Judiciary for the 104th Congress and was the ranking member of that pivotal committee. Prior to his election to Congress, he served in the Korean War, was active in the civil rights movement, and became a senior partner in the law form of Conyers, Bell, Carl Edward, and Townsend.
Conyers has also served on Judiciary Committee, where he worked to introduce and endorse legislation advancing civil liberties, ensuring equal protection and access to the voting booth, and combating violence against women. He was the leading sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act and the original sponsor of the National Voter Registration Act. Additionally, Conyers is one of thirteen founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Conyers fought for transparency in federal government practices by introducing a bill to create a truth commission panel to investigate the Bush administration. Conyers also advocated for the full reading of bills before voting as a further effort to increase transparency. Conyers served as the US Representative for Michigan’s 13th district from 1965-2017. He resigned his seat on December 5, 2017 after 53 years in Congress at age 88.