Throwback Thursday: Black Leaders Back in the Day

Leaders take us on a trip down Memory Lane.


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Those Were the Days, My Friends - It's been a long time since a group of Black leaders has looked so utterly satisfied as Reps. Charlie Rangel and John Lewis, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. and the late Rep. Carl Stokes clearly are feeling here in this 1988 image. And why not? They were for perhaps the first time getting a taste of some serious Black Power — and the best was yet to come. Join here each week for a new walk down memory lane and don't forget to click on the links for the original stories. Some of the photos will warm your heart, while others may chill your soul. The afros will definitely blow your mind.  — Joyce Jones (@BETpolitichick) (Photo: The Washington Times /Landov)


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Rep. Elijah Cummings (Maryland) - Rep. Elijah Cummings didn't have much in the way of material things as a boy, and neither did most of his friends. They were so poor in fact that although they formed a Cub Scouts troupe, none of them could afford to buy the uniform. But rather than moan about it, like any good Scout, they learned how to improvise.  In their little troupe, some boys had the uniform's pants, while others had the shirt. He doesn't recall anybody having a complete uniform. To read the endearing tale of how Cummings scored his bit of uniform, the belt he so proudly wears in this photo, click here.(Photo: Courtesy Rep. Elijah Cummings)


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Rep. John Lewis (Georgia) - By the time he turned 21, John Lewis had a rap sheet. These days, that's nothing to be proud of, but for the civil rights activists fighting for racial equality in the '60s, arrests and the accompanying mug shots were badges of honor that symbolized the extraordinary lengths they were willing to go for the cause. In 1961, Lewis, who helped organize the historic Freedom Rides, spent about 43 days at Mississippi's Parchman State Prison Farm for challenging the segregation of public facilities. He could have paid a $250 fine to avoid being jailed, but instead he stayed behind bars for as long as he could. Click here to learn why.(Photo: John Lewis via Twitter)


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Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn - Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn is definitely not a hearts-and-flowers kind of guy and laughs almost hysterically at the notion of romance, but he remembers the exact date and time he met his future wife Emily England: March 15, 1960, at 6:30 p.m. And where: at the jailhouse in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Fifty-three years and 30 days ago, he pledged his love in marriage to her. To read more about their story, click here. (Photo: Courtesy of Rep. James Clyburn)


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Rep. Barbara Lee (California) - Rep. Barbara Lee, pictured left, and her younger sister Mildred were the only two African-American members of Troop 151 in largely segregated El Paso, Texas. That didn't stop her from earning a lot of merit badges and becoming fiercely competitive at Girl Scout cookie time. Decades later, the former Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman still lights up when recalling that time in her life, which she says taught her how to appreciate the environment and her responsibility to help protect it. (Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Barbera Lee)


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Rep. Karen Bass (California) - When Rep. Karen Bass (D-California) is on a mission, she doesn't back down. In 1990, she founded the Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment in response to the crack cocaine epidemic that had devastated south Los Angeles in the '80s. By 1991, she told, the organization set its sights on problematic liquor stores that certain communities across the nation have long had to endure. But in this case, karma was a you-know-what, and when riots broke out in L.A. in 1992, 200 of the stores burnt down.(Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Karen Bass)

Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) - "I grew up in New York and we used to go to Atlantic City all of the time. I don't remember that specific day, but when I see this picture, it makes me happy," recalls Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Illinois), pictured here with her brother Michael. (Photo: Courtesy of the Office of Rep. Robin Kelly)

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Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Illinois) - "I grew up in New York and we used to go to Atlantic City all of the time. I don't remember that specific day, but when I see this picture, it makes me happy," recalls Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Illinois), pictured here with her brother Michael. (Photo: Courtesy of the Office of Rep. Robin Kelly)


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National Urban League President Marc Morial - On this day back in 1990, Morial, now president and CEO of the National Urban League, was at a fundraiser for his first bid to represent New Orleans in the U.S. House of Representatives. The event was held in Atlanta and co-sponsored by Rep. John Lewis, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and the city's former Mayor Maynard Jackson (not pictured). Morial lost the congressional race to Bill Jefferson, but it was good to have friends in high places. "I felt like I was standing on the shoulders of history, and it was very affirming that these great legends whom I looked up to joined and supported me in my endeavors," Morial told  (Photo: Courtesy National Urban League)


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A Very Special Throwback Thursday - Inaugurations always take place on chilly mornings, but on Jan. 20, 1993, the nation was warmed by the inspiring and hopeful words of poet, author and civil rights activist Maya Angelou as she read "On the Pulse of Morning," which she'd written for President Bill Clinton. The historic moment was celebrated in this image of Dionne Warwick, Maxine Waters, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, Maya Angelou, Cicely Tyson and Alexis Herman."Maya was a wise and spiritual woman who taught me valuable lessons about life and did not hesitate to compliment or criticize anyone," said Rep. Waters, who shared this photo.  (Photo: Moneta Sleet, Jr./EBONY Collection/Johnson Publishing Company) 


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Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota)  - Batter up, Keith Ellison! When Reps. Lacy Clay, Hakim Jeffries and Cedric Richardson check you out back in the day, they're going to wonder why you're not by their side at the mound for the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. The Minnesota lawmaker is pictured here with his younger brother.(Photo: Courtesy Rep. Keith Ellison)


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Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia) - This was a good day for Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Virginia). "We had a huge turnout for the primary that got me nominated. I think it was one of the best turnouts I've seen for a primary," Scott, who went on to win the general election and a seat in Virginia's House of Delegates, told (Photo: Courtesy Office of Rep. Robert C. Scott)


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Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indiana) - "I sat at her feet and I miss her dearly," said Rep. André Carson (D-Indiana) of his grandmother, Julia Carson, whose congressional seat he filled after she died in 2007. During the time they spent in her garden on this day and in years to come, Carson had no inkling that he would succeed her in Congress, but still, he recognized that the lessons he learned from her would be as, if not more, important than the ones being taught at school. (Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Andre Carson)


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Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) - Back in the day, the bigger the 'fro, the more handsome the man underneath was perceived to be, a fact that did not escape Emanuel Cleaver, whose hair in this 1982 photograph with daughter Marissa, belies his genteel and modest demeanor. Not that he wasn't proud. Cleaver, who was a minister at the time, says that he boasted the number one or two afro, in terms of circumference, among Kansas City's clergymen. But these days, he lamented in a chat with, with a twinkle in his eye, "My 'fro won't grow no mo'." (Photo: Courtesy of Emanuel Cleaver)


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Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-New York) - Looking at this picture from Rep. Gregory Meeks’s senior yearbook, it’s evident that the future New York congressman (pictured far right) was a sartorialist even as a teenager in the early '70s. Fast forward to a new century and, as regulars on Capitol Hill can attest, on occasion he sometimes even out-dappers the most dapper of House members, the iconic and often inimitable Charlie Rangel.But rebel? To learn more, click here.(Photo: Courtesy of Rep. Gregory Meeks)