About the Project

The Avoice Web site is designed to capture and preserve the rich history of political and legislative contributions of blacks for future generations. This virtual online library is a central source of information about historical and contemporary African American policy issues important to researchers, academics, educators and students.

This project was developed by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Capturing the history of the participation and contribution of African Americans in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate is central to the policy development and educational mission of the CBCF. The devastation that accompanied Hurricane Katrina in 2005 brought to light the fragility of historical artifacts. For this reason, the CBC has taken the initiative to collect, store, and disseminate this particular history by using technology to preserve it against all known odds.

The project is made possible by the generous financial support provided by Dell Inc. The digitization and Web architecture for this project is provided by the University of Texas at Austin. Its content partner is the Moorland Spingarn Research Center-Manuscripts Division at Howard University, which is the official repository of the CBC Archives.

Our objectives for this site include enabling African Americans to become more familiar with the political issues of the past as a basis for understanding the political and legislative reality they face today. We also want to encourage young people to pursue careers in government based on the shining examples of previous leaders.

This site is organic. History is being made every day by African American legislators. We will preserve those events and add to the site continuously. We will provide interactive learning tools that highlight the history of African-American political involvement in Congress and promote civic engagement among the youth.

The Avoice Web site is a comprehensive and qualitative resource for teachers, scholars, students and people interested in American legislative history. We welcome feedback and submissions. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions. This site is for you. Please enjoy and share with your friends and colleagues.

About the CBCF

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) was established in 1976 as a non-partisan, non-profit, public policy, research and educational institute. Our mission is to serve as the non-partisan, policy-oriented catalyst that educates future leaders and promotes collaboration among legislators, business leaders, minority-focused organizational leaders, and organized labor to effect positive and sustainable change in the African American community. To that end, CBCF works to broaden and elevate the influence of African Americans in the political, legislative, and public policy arenas.

With a focus on education, public health, economic development and African globalism, CBCF is the premier organization that creates, identifies, analyzes and disseminates policy-oriented information critical to advancing African Americans and people of African descent towards equity in economics, health and education.

All CBCF and CBC Spouses programs are supported by fundraising events and corporate underwriting. Each year, CBCF sponsors the Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), which provides a national forum to develop strategies and viable solutions to public policy issues facing Black America. In addition, CBCF produces regional symposiums throughout the country to explore public policy concerns and to solicit opinions and recommendations of citizens at the local community level.

1720 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202-263-2800
Fax: 202-775-0773
CBCF Website

Related Links

CBC Spouses
Annual Legislative Conference

About the CBC

The Birth of the CBC
In January of 1969, newly-elected African American representatives of the 77th Congress joined six incumbents to form the Democratic Select Committee. The committee was renamed the Congressional Black Caucus, and the CBC was born in 1971. Founding members were Representatives Shirley A. Chisholm, William L. Clay, Sr., George W. Collins, John Conyers, Jr., Ronald V. Dellums, Charles C. Diggs, Jr., Augustus F. Hawkins, Ralph H. Metcalfe, Parren J. Mitchell, Robert N.C. Nix, Sr., Charles B. Rangel, Louis Stokes, and D.C. Delegate Walter E. Fauntroy.

The founders’ goals were to positively influence the course of events pertinent to African Americans and others of similar experience and situation, and to achieve greater equity for persons of African descent in the design and content of domestic and international programs and services. While the CBC has been primarily focused on the concerns of African Americans, the Caucus has also been at the forefront of legislative campaigns for human and civil rights for all citizens.

View biographies of the CBC Founding Members

The CBC Today
Currently, there are 46 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. CBC members are advocates for the human family nationally and internationally and have played a significant role as local and regional activists, as well. African American members have worked diligently to be the conscience of the Congress, but because all politics are ultimately local, they also provide dedicated and focused service to the citizens and Congressional districts that have elected them.

The vision of the founding members of the CBC to “promote the public welfare through legislation designed to meet the needs of millions of neglected citizens” continues to be a beacon and focal point for the legislative work and political activities of the Congressional Black Caucus today.


CBC Website

Congressional Black Caucus Members by Seniority – 113th Congress (2013 – 2015)


House of Representatives
Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA)
Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC)
Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL)
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL)
Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA)
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS)
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD)
Del. Donna M. Christensen (D-VI)
Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY)
Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO)
Rep. David Scott (D-GA)
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO)
Rep. Al Green (D-TX)
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA)
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Rep. André Carson (D-IN)
Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-MD)
Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH)
Rep. Karen Bass  (D-CA)
Rep. Hansen Clark (D-MI)
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA)
Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL)
Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ)
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH)
Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV)
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX)
Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL)
Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC)
Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI)
Rep. Mia Love (R-UT)
Rep. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI)
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman D-(NJ)



Rep. Cory Booker (D-NJ)


Visit the official website of the Congressional Black Caucus

About the Collection

The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center-Manuscripts Division (MSRC) is recognized as one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world. As one of Howard University’s major research facilities, the MSRC-Manuscripts Division collects, preserves, and makes available for research a wide range of resources chronicling the Black experience.

Its collections include the records of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as the personal papers of several notable political figures. The collections comprise more than 175,000 bound volumes and tens of thousands of journals, periodicals, and newspapers; more than 17,000 feet of manuscript and archival collections; nearly 1,000 audio tapes; 3,000 pieces of sheet music; 15,000 sound recordings, and hundreds of artifacts—in addition to 100,000 prints, photographs, maps, and other graphic images. The collections are used by scholars, museums, students, and other researchers from Howard University and throughout the world. Information provided by the MSRC-Manuscripts Division is regularly used in exhibitions, video productions, news programming, and a wide range of publications.

Howard University, Washington, DC 20059
Phone: (202) 806-7240  Fax: (202) 806-6405
Joellen El Bashir, Curator of Manuscript

Related Links

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center-Manuscripts Division

About our Partners

Moorland-Spingarn Research Center-Manuscripts Division
The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center-Manuscripts Division (MSRC) is recognized as one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive repositories for the documentation of the history and culture of people of African descent in Africa, the Americas, and other parts of the world. As one of Howard University’s major research facilities, the MSRC-Manuscripts Division collects, preserves, and makes available for research a wide range of resources chronicling the black experience.
Visit Moorland-Spingarn Research Center’s Website

Dell Inc. listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services they trust and value. Uniquely enabled by its direct business model, Dell sells more systems globally than any other computer company.

Dell’s support for this milestone project highlights the company’s commitment to diversity and to educating the public about the contributions of African Americans to our nation’s history.
Visit Dell’s Website

University of Texas Libraries
The University of Texas Libraries advances the academic mission of the University and enriches the intellectual life of the people of Texas by offering unparalleled access to a universe of information. By collaborating with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation as a technical partner in the AVOICE project, the Libraries provides a robust platform for sharing a rich bounty of knowledge with audiences around the globe.
Visit The University of Texas Libraries’ Website

Thank you for visiting the Avoice online project. This website is being continuously updated with new exhibits, multimedia, and much more.