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Longest-serving black US congressman dies

Washington, Oct 28 (IANS) John Conyers, the longest-serving African-American member of the US Congress, has died, police said. He was 90.

The Democrat resigned under a cloud of sexual harassment allegations in December 2017 after a career lasting nearly 53 years, reports the BBC.

In office, he was known for his liberal stance on civil rights and liberties.

He memorably fought for 15 years to make the birthday of Martin Luther King what it is today – a national holiday.

Conyers was also a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Born on May 16, 1929, he grew up in Detroit and served in the military for nearly a decade, including 12 months in Korea during the war there (1950-53) when he was a Combat Engineers officer.

Going on to train as a lawyer, he became involved in the civil rights movement and in 1964, he narrowly won his first election in Michigan, becoming one of just six black members of the House of Representatives.

He was also the only House Judiciary Committee member to have sat in on two presidential impeachment hearings: for Richard Nixon in 1974 over Watergate, and for Bill Clinton in 1998 over his relationship with a female intern.

Meawnhile, fellow Democrats have paid tribute to Conyers, reports the BBC.

“His impact on our state, whether by spearheading reforms in criminal justice and voting rights in Congress or through his lifetime of civil rights activism, will not be forgotten,” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders tweeted to “celebrate” the late Congressman’s “extraordinary service”.

–IANS

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