John Conyers Jr., the longest-serving African American in Congress for over five decades, has died at 90. He passed away at his home in Detroit. The news was confirmed by a family spokeswoman to the New York Times.
First elected in 1965, Conyers was a Democrat representing parts of Detroit, and one of the most liberal members of Congress. In 1971, he helped cofound the Congressional Black Caucus, and also introduced the bill establishing Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday. In 1965, he also played a role in instilling the Voting Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination at the ballot box.
Conyers was also the first African American to act as the Dean of the House and was a member of the House Judiciary Committee during President Richard Nixon’s Watergate investigation. Furthermore, he was the only member of the House Judiciary Committee to participate in impeachment inquiries against both Nixon and President Bill Clinton.
In 2017, Conyers resigned from Congress after being accused of multiple reports of sexual harassment. Conyers denied the claims, but an investigation from Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi at the time found the complaints credible, and he was eventually asked to step down.
Originally Appeared on Vogue