Conyers’s son did not run. His grandnephew Ian Conyers was defeated in the Democratic primary by Rashida Tlaib, who won the seat in the 2018 mid-term election. Conyers’ direct successor was Brenda Jones, who won a special election to serve in the two-month gap between the election and Tlaib’s induction.
John Conyers Jr., a Korean War veteran who was the longest serving African-American member of Congress in U.S. history, died Sunday at age 90, Detroit police have confirmed.
Arnold Reed, a lawyer for Conyers, was shaken by the news.
“Well, the only thing I can do is confirm his passing,” Reed said. “It has gotten us all out of sorts here. And, I really have to just sit down, for a moment.”
During his 53 years in the U.S. House, Conyers built a reputation as a champion for civil and human rights.
The Detroit Democrat was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1969, which promotes the legislative concerns of black and minority communities.
His legacy was clouded by allegations that he sexually harassed or mistreated several female staffers — complaints that prompted his resignation in December 2017.
Conyers denied the claims of misconduct and said at the time of his resignation he hoped his departure would be viewed “in the larger perspective of my record of service.”
Conyers was the third-longest-serving House member in U.S. historyand the first African American to hold the title of dean, or member with the longest continuous service — a mantle he took on in 2015 after the retirement of Michigan’s John Dingell Jr.
“He’s touched so many lives across the country around the world when you talk about human rights and civil rights,” said Jonathan Kinloch, Democratic Party chairman of the 13th District, who was in middle school when he first started following Conyers’ career.