Illinois Legislative Black Caucus
|Purpose||public policies affecting African Americans|
|Illinois, United States of America|
|National Black Caucus of State Legislators|
|Affiliations||Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Foundation|
|Website||Illinois Legislative Black Caucus|
The primary mission of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus is to assure that the interest of African-American citizens are given equitable representation in the General Assembly and that legislative action is directed to address those interests. Through the efforts of the Caucus, tremendous strides have been made in the areas of housing, health & welfare, education, employment and minority business enterprise. Specific priorities include:
- Reform the current education funding inequalities in Illinois Schools
- Develop a comprehensive job training program, which will focus on the top ten zip code areas with the highest unemployment statistics.
- Make Illinois a SAC (State Apprenticeship Council) state.
- Restore education classes to all prisons.
- Develop comprehensive expungement legislation.
Officers are elected from within the Caucus with equal representation from both the House and Senate members.
The following legislators are officers of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus for the 99th General Assembly.
|4 (Senate)||Kimberly Lightford||Joint Chair|
|14 (Senate)||Toi Hutchinson||Senate Chair|
|60 (House)||Rita Mayfield||House Chair|
|103 (House)||Carol Ammons||Secretary|
|34 (House)||Elgie Sims||Treasurer|
|67 (House)||Litesa Wallace||Sergeant at Arms|
The first African American in the Illinois House of Representatives, John W. E. Thomas of Chicago, was elected in 1876, and after not being re-nominated in 1878 and 1880, returned to the House in 1882. The number of African-Americans in the House increased to two in 1912. Adelbert H. Roberts became the first African-American in the Illinois Senate in 1924. Roberts, in 1927, became the first to chair a legislative committee, the Senate Committee on Criminal Procedure. Until 1934, all of the African-Americans elected to the General Assembly were Republicans, after which the African-American presence in the legislature gradually shifted to the Democratic caucus.
The Caucus was formally established in 1967. Floy Clements (1958) and Earlene Collins (1977) became the first African-American women to be elected to the House and Senate, respectively. Cecil A. Partee rose to become the first Minority Leader (1973) and President of the Senate (1975).
African-Americans in the Illinois General Assembly have had the longest uninterrupted presence in any state legislature in the United States, dating back to the return of John Thomas to the Illinois House in 1882.