For Educators: Women of the Congressional Black Caucus

Activity 1B: Women of the Congressional Black Caucus: Past and Present

Activity 1A


For this activity the students will read and analyze documents and photographs about the work of African-American women in Congress and their advocacy for underserved Americans in the areas of economics, education, healthcare, and civil rights.

Class Time Needed: two or three class sessions for Activities 1 and 2. Activity 3 will need 2-4 weeks for implementation.


Optional Warm-up Activity: Vocabulary Building
To prepare students for the following learning activities, familiarize them with vocabulary words that they will encounter in the lesson unit. Allow them to use the Vocabulary Building worksheet to access their understanding of the meaning of key words.

Group Discussion:
To begin this activity:
• Ask the students if they can identify African-American women who have or are currently serving in Congress. List their responses on easel pad paper and display it on the wall for reference throughout the lesson.

• Ask the students if they can name the first African-American woman to be elected to Congress and some of her accomplishments. Add students' responses to the displayed list.

Activity 1B — Who is serving today? Design a classroom display of today's African American women in Congress.

Currently, 15 African-American women serve in Congress. This activity engages in online research to learn about the work of these women. Below are the names of the current members. Assign each student a member of Congress to research. Instruct students to explore two websites to find information about their assigned member.

• Avoice Exhibit: Women of the Congressional Black Caucus
Students will find general biographical descriptions.

• Each member has her own Congressional web site where students will find additional biographical information, legislative activities in Congress, and photographs.

African-American Women of the 112th Congress (2010-2012):
Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia (1991-present)
Maxine Waters of California (1991-present)
Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas (1993-present)
Corrine Brown of Florida (1993-present)
Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas (1995-present)
Donna M. Christian-Christensen of the Virgin Islands (1997-present)
Barbara Lee of California (1998-present)
Gwen Moore of Wisconsin (2005-present)
Laura Richardson of California (2007-present)
Yvette D. Clarke of New York (2007-present)
Donna Edwards of Maryland (2008-present)
Marcia Fudge of Ohio (2008-present)
Karen Bass of California (2011-present)
Terri Sewell of Alabama (2011-present)
Frederica Wilson of Florida (2011-present)

After the students have gathered information about their assigned member, have them prepare a one-page label that identifies the Congresswoman and what she is currently advocating in Congress. This label will accompany her image for the classroom display (See label format to share with students).

Before putting the students work on display, allow them to present to the class who they researched and what they learned about this person's work in Congress.

Optional Activity: Send a Greeting

Have the students correspond with their assigned member of the CBC (via email or send a letter) about their research project and what they have learned about her leadership and work in Congress. Members of Congress like to hear from their young constituents.

additional information and links.