5 Congressional Black Caucus Members from HBCUs

by Kelly C. Lewis

The Congressional Black Caucus has played a pivotal role in “ensur[ing] that African Americans and other marginalized communities in the United States have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream” (cbc.house.gov). Interestingly, many Congressional Black Caucus members received training for this pivotal role at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). As such, today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights 5 Congressional Black Congress members from HBCUs.

1) Congresswoman Joyce Beatty; Central State University (HBCU)—Wilberforce, OH

Joyce Beatty

Central State University

Congresswoman Joyce Beatty is serving her second term representing the 3rd Congressional District of Ohio and has served on the Congressional Black Caucus since 2012. Some of her most celebrated work includes her role on the Financial Services Committee, where she has lead initiative to “increas[e] home mortgage financial literacy, ensur[e] financial oversight, and [expand] affordable housing opportunities” (beatty.house.gov) . Congresswoman Beatty’s is a leading advocate in Congress for “eradicating human trafficking”. In fact, she introduced legislation “to combat child sex trafficking, [which was] unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 and 2015” (beatty.house.gov). Congresswoman Beatty graduated with a Congresswoman Beatty graduated with a B.A. from Central State University (HBCU). She also received her M.S. degree from Wright State University.

2) Congressman Al Lawson; Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (HBCU)—Tallahassee, FL

Al Lawson


Congressman Al Lawson represents Florida’s 5th Congressional District and has served on the Congressional Black Caucus since January 2017. Lawson is specifically interested in working to “[create] jobs, [improve] access to a quality education from the preschool through the post-secondary level and [protect] working families” (lawson.house.gov). Lawson has also served 28 years in the state legislature as a member of the Florida House of Representative and the Florida Senate. Congressmen Lawson earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). He also earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida State University and completed his coursework for a Ph.D. in Public Administration. Learn more about Congressman Lawson’s work with the Congressional Black Caucus here.

3) Senator Kamala D. Harris; Howard University (HBCU)—Washington, D.C.

Kamala HarrisHoward U

Senator Harris made history as the second African-American woman and first South Asian-American senator in history. Prior to this position, Senator Harris served as District Attorney of San Francisco for two terms. During those two terms, she made significant impacts including: “won a $25-billion settlement for California homeowners hit by the foreclosure crisis, defended California’s landmark climate change law, protected the Affordable Care Act, helped win marriage equality for all Californians, and prosecuted transnational gangs that trafficked in guns, drugs, and human beings” (harris.senate.gov). Harris now serves on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on the Budget (harris.senate.gov).  Senator Harris earned her Bachelors degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and her law degree from the University of California, Hastings. Learn more about Senator Kamala Harris here.

4) Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II; Prairie View A&M University (HBCU)—Prairie View, TX

Emanuel Cleaver

Prarie View

Congressman Cleaver is currently serving his seventh term representing Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District. In his current role, he is a member of the “House Financial Services Committee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, and also a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus” (cleaver.house.gov). Congressman Cleaver made history in the state, as Kansas City’s first African-American mayor in 1991. One of Cleaver’s most outstanding projects in his entire political career has been the Green Impact Zone Project. The Green Impact Zone “is aimed at making this high crime area the environmentally greenest piece of urban geography in the world. This project includes rebuilding Troost Avenue, rehabbing bridges, curbs and sidewalks, home weatherization, smart grid technology in hundreds of homes, and most importantly, hundreds of badly needed jobs for Green Zone residents” (cleaver.house.gov). Congressman Cleaver leaver received a bachelor’s degree from Prairie View A&M (HBCU), a Master’s from St. Paul’s School of Theology of Kansas City, and five honorary Doctoral Degrees. Learn more about Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II here.

5) Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson; Fisk University (HBCU)—Nashville, TN

Frederica Wilson

Fisk University

Congresswoman Wilson represents Florida’s 24th Congressional District and has served since 2011. Some of her most impactful work includes: helping to “secure a $1 million grant in 2014 to help reduce crime in Miami-Dade County’s highest crime area, the Northside District” (wilson.house.gov); being “appointed to the advisory council of President Barack Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” Alliance, a public acknowledgement of the life-changing results for boys and young men of color that she has achieved through the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project” (wilson.house.gov); and leading efforts ( i.e. participating in two fact-finding missions to Nigeria and passing two resolutions) as a global leader in human and civil rights to fight for the safe return of the 219 Nigerian schoolgirls still missing since their June 2014 abduction by Boko Haram (wilson.house.gov). Interestingly, Wilson’s dedication to the community began far before Congress. She has years of experience in education as a teacher, principal, school board member. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education from Fisk University (HBCU) and a Master of Science degree in elementary education from the University of Miami. In addition, her active leadership role in the community and state legislature has coined her the endeared name “The Voice of the Voiceless”. Learn more about Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson here.

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