The D. Augustus Straker Bar Association mourns the passing and celebrates the life of Congressman John Conyers. Congressman Conyers passed away on Sunday, October 27, 2019 at the age of 90.

As a native Michigander, Conyers served as a U.S. Representative, for over a half of a century. He was first elected in 1964 and became Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Chairman and ranking Democratic member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and the longest-serving African American in Congress in U.S. History. Congressman Conyers was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Dean of the House of Representatives and a political pioneer. 

He introduced legislation in 1968 to create a federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and fought tirelessly to win passage of the legislation for the commemorative holiday, until the bill was signed into law in 1983.
Reverend Jesse Jackson referred to Conyers as, “one of the most consequential congressmen” and stated that “without Conyers there would be no King holiday”.

According to the Law Library of Congress, Congressman Conyers sponsored 800 hundred bills during his tenure. He also co-sponsored thousands of bills, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Conyers earned his bachelor’s degree and law degree from Wayne State University, following service with the National Guard, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Army Reserve.

He also served as an officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, during the Korean War. In 2005, Congressman Conyers was inducted to the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. The historic site is located at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta and, according to the National Park Service, was created “to give recognition to those courageous soldiers of justice who sacrificed and struggled to make equality a reality for all”.

We salute Congressman John Conyers, an extraordinary giant among men, who dedicated his life as a champion of civil rights, social justice and equality. We have been blessed to have him among us, in Detroit and in this nation. His legacy will endure.

Please join us in lifting the Conyers family in prayer during this difficult time.

In Service,

Kimberley Ann Ward, Esq.
D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, President
National Bar Association - Region VI, Deputy Director

Reginald M. Turner, American Bar Association 2020 President-Elect Nominee