American history is filled with the stories of everyday men and women, the heroes and sheroes who did not wear capes but did and continue to do extraordinary things. Black history is particularly blessed with these giants whose experiences have shaped the American experiment.
There are so many names and events — too many to list here — but they changed the course of history.
Among them were 13 members of Congress who, in 1971, defied gravity and demonstrated the true audacity of hope when they founded the Congressional Black Caucus.
They were Reps. Shirley A. Chisholm, D-N.Y., William L. Clay Sr., D-Mo., George W. Collins, D-Ill., John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., Ronald V. Dellums, D-Calif., Charles C. Diggs Jr., D-Mich., Augustus F. Hawkins, D-Calif., Ralph H. Metcalfe, D-Ill., Parren J. Mitchell, D-Md., Robert N. C. Nix Sr., D-Pa., Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., and Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, and Del. Walter E. Fauntroy, D-D.C.
“Troublemakers” all, they understood that well-behaved men and women rarely make history. So they decided to make some good trouble — necessary trouble — in the form of an entity that has become the conscience of the Congress — and the country.