John Conyers: The Congressman of Jazz
John Conyers Jr. has been a member of the United States House of Representative since 1965, with a long list of accomplishments to his name. Conyers, who represents Michigan’s 14th District, co-founded the Congressional Black Caucus, introduced the bill that led to the establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, has served in Congress longer than any African-American in history, and even appeared on President Richard Nixon’s enemies list.
In addition to his legacy as a legislator, Representative Conyers has also earned a reputation as jazz’s best friend on Capitol Hill. Conyers has created legislation recognizing jazz as a “national treasure,” honoring the 50th anniversary of the recording of Kind Of Blue and appropriating funds to the Smithsonian’s jazz program. Conyers’ dedication to jazz is so strong that on the “Issues” page of his website, alongside 10 other topics including health care and Afghanistan, there is a link to his work on behalf of jazz.