It’s difficult to say exactly how many black women are currently working on Capitol Hill. Turnover is high and lateral career moves happen often. For perspective’s sake, in 1974, there were 18 black women staffers in “top-drawer, prestigious” jobs in Congress, Ebony reported that June. Forty years later, there’s been real progress, as the January event at Cannon House showed. But not nearly enough, according to Margaret Angela Franklin, legislative director for Congressman Al Lawson of Florida.

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