The 110th session of Congress has an unprecedented number of African-American lawmakers in key positions of power. Black lawmakers with long seniority are taking over committees with influence on such fundamental issues as taxes, homeland security, trade and Social Security.
Some of these representatives – such as Charles Rangel and John Coyners – have been in Washington for decades. Coyners, who was first elected in 1964, helped establish the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969.
The Black Caucus gradually accumulated considerable influence on Capitol Hill, until the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994. Since then, Caucus members have seen their influence wane, rarely winning the ear of the Bush White House.
But last November's election brought a massive reversal of fortune for the Caucus. Now six of its members are poised to have a considerable impact on what happens in the House in the next two years. Here, a guide to who's who: