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The Congressional black caucus: a study of black representatives' legislative behaviour in the United States Congress

Smith, J. H. (1981) The Congressional black caucus: a study of black representatives' legislative behaviour in the United States Congress. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94664) (KAR id:94664)

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The thesis examines the work of Black Representatives in the United States Congress, with specific reference to the legislative activitie of the current group of Black Representatives known collectively as the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1970» Black Representatives formed the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) with the purpose of working as a united group of legislators for the advancement of black American interests in Congress. The study analyses how effectively the CBC has worked as a race-conscious, cohesive group in Congress by examining its work within the Congressional Democratic party and the committee system, and its development of its own legislative strategy. The roots of CBC members' legislative behaviour are traced to the legislative roles developed by Black Congressmen of the Reconstruction period and the pioneer, northern Black Congressmen of the twentieth century. The development of the CBC's underlying political strategy is explored within the context of the political environment that faced the black American minority in the post-Civil Rights movement years. The focus of the study is the establish­ment and organisation of the CBC with particular consideration given to the factors that tended to unite and divide the group, and to the methods whereby internal disagreements were resolved. The thesis identifies the emergence of a CBC legislative strategy devised to maximise the group's political influence in Congress. The operation of the key components of the CBC legislative strategy is examined, i.e. the devising of the legislative agenda, its coordination through the work of the professional staff, CBC members' ability in forwarding the legislative agenda in their congressional committees, and the cohesiveness of members' voting behaviour on key CBC legislative issues. The thesis concludes with an assessment of the CBC's achievements and limitations, and considers the future role of black Americans in Congress.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94664
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Political science
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2022 16:02 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2022 16:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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