September 20, 2007 Congressman Major Owens and Distinguished Panel To Discuss "A New Challenge to Black Congressional Caucus"

Originally a Private Gathering, the Event Is Now Open to the Public

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Marsha Renwanz (202) 707-0359

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 on Oct. 1 at the Library of Congress, Congressman Major Owens will host a distinguished panel of U.S. representatives and political scientists in a discussion of his forthcoming book, "The Peacock Elite: A Subjective Case Study of the Congressional Black Caucus and Its Impact on National Politics." The forum will start at noon on Monday, Oct. 1, in the Members’ Room on the first floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street, S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations are needed. The panel will include U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, 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 challenges 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 challenges the CBC to assume greater leadership responsibility for the African diaspora. 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. Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate, energize and distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policy-makers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit


PR 07-185
ISSN 0731-3527