African American History Month Lecture: The Career of Congressman Oscar De Priest

January 11, 2013

At noon on Wednesday, February 13, Matthew Wasniewski, Historian of the United States House of Representatives, will present the 2012 African American Month Lecture for the U.S. Capitol Historical Society on the topic of “Phoenix Rising: The Congressional Career of Oscar De Priest of Illinois.” The lecture will be held in Room 234 of the Cannon House Office Building at Independence Avenue and 1st Street, SE.  The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Illinois State Society of Washington, D.C.

Congressman Oscar De Priest represented the First Congressional District of Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1929 to 1935. Library of Congress

Oscar De Priest was the first African American elected to Congress in the 20th century, ending a 28-year absence of black Representatives. De Priest’s victory—he was the first black Member from the North—marked a new era of black political organization in urban areas, as evidenced by the South Side district of Chicago, whose continuous African-American representation began with De Priest’s election in 1928. Although he made scant legislative headway during his three terms in Congress, De Priest became a national symbol of hope for African Americans, and he helped lay the groundwork for future black Members of the House and Senate.—From the Black Americans In Congress website

The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited and reservations are recommended. Email uschsatuschsdotorg  (uschsatuschsdotorg)   or call 202-543-8919×38.