February 1, 2005 Rep. Melvin Watt To Deliver African American History Month Keynote Address
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Rep. Melvin Watt (D-N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), will deliver the keynote address for the Library’s 2005 celebration of African American History Month, at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor, James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public.
Born in Mecklenburg County, N.C., Watt graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He received a law degree from Yale University Law School and subsequently practiced law from 1971 to 1992 with the firm formerly known as Chambers, Stein, Ferguson and Becton.
Watt served one term in the North Carolina Senate (1985-86), where he was called “the conscience of the Senate.” In 1992 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina’s 12th district—becoming one of only two African Americans elected to Congress from North Carolina in the 20th century.
Watt is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee (on which he serves as ranking member on the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law) and the House-Senate Joint Economic Committee. In January 2005 he was chosen to lead the CBC.
Founded in 1969, the CBC typically favors strong civil rights enforcement and social programs that address some of the requirements of the neediest Americans. There are currently 43 members of the CBC, including 42 lawmakers in the House of Representatives and one Senator, freshman Barack Obama (D-Ill.).