“John Conyers: Congressman.”
John Conyers spent a lifetime as a member of Congress. And despite his fall from grace, his time in office was deeply historic. He was one of the founders of the Congressional Black Caucus. He helped prepare and pass the Voting Rights Act, and he submitted almost every single year a bill in Congress to study reparations.
But long-time Detroiters remember him as a young lawyer defending the black nationalist organization known as the Republic of New Afrika after a shootout with police back in the 1960s. He was cool as cucumbers on ice, and he dressed with an impeccable sharpness.
Historians Robin D.G. Kelley and Earl Lewis, in volume two of their book To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans Since 1880 wrote of Conyers’ decades-long struggle to introduce reparations legislation, to further the work of black leaders such as Sojourner Truth and [inaudible] back in the 1880s, supporting the call for black reparations. Conyers did not prevail here, but he did struggle on for years.
In recent years, charges of sexual improprieties were laid against him, which he denied. He resigned from Congress to protect his long-rich legacy. John Conyers lived through 90 summers before returning to his ancestors.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.