Date of Award

3-28-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

History & Political Science

First Advisor

Marcella Myers

Abstract

My research project consisted of examining 200 bills sponsored by six African American members of Congress during the Ninety-third Congress (1973-1975). These six members of Congress represented Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; or New York, New York- three metropolitan cities with significant African American populations. This research emphasizes the importance of Black members of Congress to African Americans nationwide by highlighting the Congressional Black Caucus' formation and mission, examining the bills' key terms and public policy issues for racial implications, and consulting a variety of secondary source material that underscores the need for descriptive representation in the Black community. The primary goal of this research is to use the concept ofrace representation (a term coined specifically for this research describing African Americans who are expected to advocate on behalf of the African American community because of their common descriptive characteristics - a combination of both descriptive and substantive representation in a representative democracy) to better understand the legislative behavior of Black members of Congress and to suggest that descriptive representation allows for Black inclusion in the political arena.

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