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The History of Our Caucus

A Storied History

The turbulence and racial antagonism of the 1960s propelled several local community leaders to seek a bridge of understanding and solicit radical changes in the State of Maryland’s legislature. Three University of Maryland educators (Roosevelt Duncan, Howard "Pete" Rawlings, and Norman V. A. Reeves) and several civil rights activists proposed the formation of a black legislative caucus that could act as a stimulant to effect social and political change.


Delegate Lena K. Lee honored the recommendation and issued the call for a caucus. At this point in time, there were two black members of the Senate: Verda Welcome and Clarence Mitchell, III, and eight black members of the House of Delegates: Arthur King from Prince George's County, and from Baltimore City, Floyd Adams, Troy Brailey,

Joseph Chester, Sr., Isaiah Dixon, Jr., Calvin Douglass, Lena K. Lee, and Lloyal Randolph. The hard-fought 1970 elections resulted in the election of seven more black legislators. They were Senators: Clarence Blount and Robert Dalton; and Delegates: Frank Conaway, Hildegardeis Boswell, Walter Dean, John Douglass, and Kenneth Webster, all from

Baltimore City.


History was made in 1970 when Delegate Arthur King convened a meeting of these black Legislators, which resulted in the formation of a caucus and the official adoption of the title Maryland Legislative Black Caucus. Delegate King chaired the body during its first year of existence and Senator Verda Welcome was the first Vice Chairman.


Through its persistent efforts over the years, the Black Caucus gained membership in several redistricting committees and forged a new legislative redistricting pattern that led to an increase in black membership in the Legislature during the 1982 election by the addition of delegates from Prince George's County, Carroll County, and Baltimore City. In less than a decade, the Legislative Black Caucus doubled its membership to an impressive number of

twenty-four, and had become deeply rooted in Maryland life.


In 2002, the Legislative Black Caucus adopted the name the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. Over the years, the organization has grown its membership and impact in the State of Maryland by leaps and bounds. Today, the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland is comprised of 65 members, making it the largest state legislative Black Caucus in the nation.


A panel of a few Black legislators once expected to display an interest only in civil rights continues to effectively impact major mainstream socio-economic and political affairs across the board.  Today, members of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland serve as leaders in the Maryland General Assembly, as Speaker of the House, Senate President Pro Tem, Committee Chairs, and Delegation Chairs.

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