B.A.W.N (WASHINGTON D.C.) — John Conyers Jr., a Korean War veteran who was the longest serving African American member of Congress in U.S. history, died Sunday at age 90, Detroit police have confirmed.
During his 53 years in the U.S. House, Mr. Conyers built a reputation as a champion for civil and human rights.
The Detroit Democrat was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969, which promotes the legislative concerns of black and minority communities.
For the Record many people did not know that Civil Rights icon Rosa Parks worked as a seamstress until 1965 when African-American U.S. Representative John Conyers hired her as a secretary and receptionist for his congressional office in Detroit. She held this position until she retired in 1988.
The Democrat spent decades pushing progressive causes, leading the fight for a national holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and working to expand rights for minorities, create a national health care system, rein in the federal government’s use of surveillance and reform the criminal justice system.
“He wasn’t just the congressman from our hometown, he was enormously loved around the world,” said Jonathan Kinloch, Democratic Party chairman of the 13th Congressional District, who has known Conyers since he was a teenager.
“He built a legacy of fighting for justice and equality for everyone. Before it became a popular phrase and political slogan, John Conyers fought for reparations for blacks, fair wages, civil rights and same-sex marriage. He was always on the forefront of what was right and had a moral responsibility to protect the weakest among us.” (B.A.W.N)