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The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.

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Information about The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.

Profile image of The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream (Butter Pecan)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Not Working
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/16/1929
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
U.S. Congressman

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream (Butter Pecan)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Not Working
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/16/1929
Birth Location:
Detroit
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Biography

Congressman John Conyers, Jr. was born in 1929, in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Detroit public schools, he earned his B.A. degree in 1957, and his J.D. degree in 1958, from Wayne State University. Before beginning a career as a private attorney, Conyers served one year in Korea as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was awarded combat and merit citations.

In 1958, Conyers began his work in politics as an aide to Congressman John Dingell, whom he served until 1961. Conyers made history when he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1964 on a platform of jobs, justice and peace. During his years in Congress, social justice and economic opportunity have remained focal points of Conyers’ platform.

The list of Conyers’ legislative accomplishments is long and impressive. Some of the bills authored or sponsored by Conyers include the Martin Luther King Holiday Act, the Alcohol Warning Label Act, the National Voter Registration Act and the Hate Crime Statistics Act. As the first African American Democratic leader on the House Judiciary Committee, he attached crucial civil rights measures to the 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill, including the Racial Justice Act and the Police Accountability Act. Conyers generated the Justice Department’s national study on police brutality, and he conducted hearings in several cities on police violence, racially motivated violence, sentencing, white-collar crime and other criminal justice matters.

Conyers was re-elected in November 2006, to his twenty-first term in the House, presenting Michigan’s 14th Congressional District. His district includes Detroit and the Wayne County communities of Dearborn Heights, Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Woods, Harper Woods, Highland Park and Redford. Conyers is the longest-serving African American in the history of the House. He is the dean and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Conyers also is a jazz aficionado and is responsible for jazz’s classification as a national American treasure.

Conyers is married to the former Monica Esters. Together they have raised two sons, John III and Carl Edward.

Conyers passed away on October 27, 2019.

John Conyers, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 24, 2001 and June 20, 2001.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John Conyers interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John Conyers's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John Conyers is an unabashed jazz aficionado
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John Conyers describes his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John Conyers details his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John Conyers describes his family's history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John Conyers discusses his father's legal and political affiliations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John Conyers remembers race riots in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - John Conyers describes memories of his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - John Conyers discusses his place in the jazz community
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John Conyers recalls his parents' support for his congressional campaign
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John Conyers describes jazz music's revolutionary sound
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John Conyers lists the schools he attended
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John Conyers reflects upon his personality as a young adult
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John Conyers discusses his early interest and involvement in politics and government
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John Conyers describes balancing work and school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John Conyers recalls being ordered to active military duty after having believed he was exempt
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John Conyers describes his travels through the United States with the military
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John Conyers considers pursuing a career in the United States military
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of John Conyers continuation interview
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John Conyers discusses his work with Congressman John Dingell, Sr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John Conyers details his congressional campaign strategy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John Conyers describes his campaign platform and endorsements
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John Conyers describes his independent approach to political campaigning
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John Conyers defends his political credentials
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John Conyers describes the role of the church in his congressional campaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - John Conyers discusses the significance of endorsements in his congressional campaign
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John Conyers describes his early experience in Congress
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John Conyers discusses crucial factors in the adoption of civil rights legislation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John Conyers discusses the struggle for a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John Conyers discusses critics' reactions to a holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John Conyers explains his opposition to the Vietnam War
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John Conyers recalls his unsuccessful attempt to avoid the Korean War by joining the U.S. National Guard
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John Conyers discusses the creation of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John Conyers discusses the efforts of the Congressional Black Caucus
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John Conyers reflects on reparations, a global issue
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John Conyers discusses a timeline for achieving reparations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John Conyers discusses his role in two presidential impeachment hearings
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - John Conyers discusses two attempts at presidential impeachment
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - John Conyers discusses the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - John Conyers discusses the controversial 2000 presidential election
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - John Conyers considers issues around drugs in the United States
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - John Conyers reflects upon his love of jazz music
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - John Conyers describes the national and global impact of jazz
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - John Conyers remembers a trip to Africa with jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - John Conyers discusses a need for greater respect for jazz musicians
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - John Conyers remembers jazz musician John Coltrane
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - John Conyers discusses his parents' influence on his life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - John Conyers describes his political outlook
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - John Conyers discusses the merits of developing one's personal philosophy