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Thu, 05.16.1929

One of Michigans own, John Conyers

John Conyers Jr.

On this date in 1929, John Conyers, Jr., was born. He is an African American politician and lawyer.

From Detroit, MI, after graduating from the Detroit public schools, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (1957) and a Doctor of Law degree (1958) from Wayne State University. Conyers served for one year in Korea as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and was awarded combat and merit citations. From 1958 to 1961, Conyers worked as an aide to Congressman John Dingell. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1964, on a platform of "Jobs, Justice, and Peace." During his years in Congress, social justice and economic opportunity have remained focal points of his Congressional career.

He was a founder of the Congressional Black Caucus, and autred or sponsored bill that the Martin Luther King Holiday Act, the Alcohol Warning Label Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Hate Crime Statistics Act. As the first African-American Democratic Leader on the House Judiciary Committee, he attached crucial civil rights measures to the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill, including the Racial Justice Act and the Police Accountability Act. Conyers produced the Justice Department's national study on police brutality, and he held hearings in several cities on police violence, racially motivated violence, sentencing, white-collar crime, and other criminal justice matters. Conyers was re-elected in November 2000 to his 19th term in the House, winning 93 percent of the vote in Michigan's 14th Congressional District.

His district is the City of Detroit and includes the Wayne County communities of Dearborn Heights, Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, Harper Woods, Highland Park, and Redford. Conyers is at present the second most senior member of the House and the longest-serving African American in the history of the house.

Conyers also is a jazz enthusiast and is responsible for the music’s classification as a national American treasure. Conyers is married to the former Monica Estersm and together they have raised two sons, John III and Carl Edward. In 2017, Conyers was one of several legislators accused of sexual harassment.  He has chosen to not seek reelection.

Black Americans In Congress 1870-1989.
Bruce A. Ragsdale & Joel D. Treese
U.S. Government Printing Office
Raymond W. Smock, historian and director 1990

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