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In 1971, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) began its seminal investigation of racism in the military. A year into the investigation, the caucus reported the military had done little, if anything, to address racism in the ranks (188 Cong. Rec., 6739-6744, 1972). The problem continued as one of the most critical issues for the CBC during the latter years of the Vietnam War (188 Cong. Rec. pp. E8674-8688).

Concurrently, in 1971, the CBC held its first annual dinner, which some 500 people attended, including the late actor Ozzie Davis. Over the years, this dinner has grown into a five-day legislative conference, including workshops, issues forums, and “braintrust” sessions drawing more than 15,000 participants annually. In 1986, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) was established as a nonpartisan research institute by CBC members and other concerned individuals who recognized the need to enhance Black involvement in all aspects of the political process. The current CBCF Annual Legislative Conference is perhaps the best known of the foundation’s activities, and is the focus of national and international attention because each year it attracts a cross-section of Black leadership from the fields of politics, business, religion, civil rights, and veterans affairs. Each year issue forums and braintrust sessions bring together academicians, political leaders, government officials, community leaders, and the general public to address almost every aspect of concern to the Black community. Thus, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference (CBCALC) is recognized as one of the most important national Black socio-political gatherings for the development of new ideas. The political education, civic engagement, or activist participation and empowerment of Black America are its cardinal mission.


This report is published on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Congressional Black Caucus' Veterans Braintrust.


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