Charles B. Rangel

Howard University named this program to honor Congressman Charles B. Rangel for his longstanding and vocal support for showing the world the diversity that is the strength of America, as well as his example of global leadership.

Congressman Rangel’s journey from dropping out of high school in Harlem, NY to becoming one of the most influential Members of Congress is inspiring. He retired from the U.S. Congress in December 2016 after 23 terms and 46 years as a Member of Congress, representing the people of New York City and promoting the interests and values of people throughout the United States. Congressman Rangel made history in 2006 as the first African American to head the powerful Ways and Means Committee which oversees international trade, health care, economic policy, and other major political issues.

Before beginning his public service career, Congressman Rangel volunteered for the Army in 1948 and earned a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor fighting in the Korean War. Reaping the benefits of the G.I. Bill, he earned a bachelor degree from New York University and a law degree from St. John’s University Law School.

With two military honors and two degrees, Congressman Rangel served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in New York and began his career in politics as a member of the New York State Assembly. In 1971 he succeeded Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and became a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Congressman Rangel took up the fight against drug abuse and trafficking, worked to limit the use of illegal guns, started a project to revitalize urban neighborhoods, and has maintained strong involvement in policies that affect Africa and the developing world. In 1987, the “Rangel Amendment” changed the tax code to deny foreign tax credits to U.S. companies investing in South Africa during apartheid. He used his influence to help to open trading opportunities with developing nations through the Caribbean Basin Imitative and the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Congressman Rangel also led a campaign to remove the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba and helped to enact legislation that normalized U.S. trade relations with China.

Congressman Rangel believes that the diversity of America is one of her biggest strengths in creating a more harmonious global society. In 2002, he committed himself to the creation of the International Affairs Program to help encourage the youth in this country toward achieving that goal.