TITLE: A New Challenge to the Congressional Black Caucus
SPEAKER: Major Owens
EVENT DATE: 10/01/2007
RUNNING TIME: 194 minutes
What did Ossie Davis envision in 1971 when he proclaimed to the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) that "it's not the man, it's the plan"? In a special forum at the Library of Congress, Congressman Major Owens hosted a distinguished panel of U.S. representatives and political scientists in a discussion of his book, "The Peacock Elite: A Subjective Case Study of the Congressional Black Caucus and Its Impact on National Politics."
The panel included U.S. Rep. Maxine Walters, a current member of CBC; two former members of CBC, Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums and attorney Louis Stokes; Ronald Waters, author and University of Maryland professor; and Michael Eric Dyson, author and Georgetown University professor.
Owens challenged the CBC to establish a national African American action agenda, stating "We must act now or our middle class will be shoved to the margins, while the Black masses are driven downward into a permanent underclass." Owens also challenged the CBC to assume greater leadership responsibility for the African diaspora.
Speaker Biography: Major Owens, the only professional librarian elected to Congress, served 24 years on behalf of New York's 11th Congressional District. He is now a distinguished visiting scholar in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. Owens began his residency at the Library after his retirement from Congress in January 2007.