Congressional Black Caucus
The journey from the military to politics was a natural progression for Abdul Rahshawn Henderson. His interest in politics was sparked by his father’s involvement in the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles during the 1960s. “My dad became a Panther because of the police brutality that he and others experienced in South Central. That led him to become a law enforcement officer when he became an adult,” he explains.
Today, Henderson, the son, is the executive director of The Congressional Black Caucus, a post he has held since January. He primarily serves as the strategic policy and political adviser for the 46 caucus members, and as the chairman’s liaison to the White House, House and Senate leadership, and various Democratic committees.
Henderson has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from the University of Maryland. While he can cite many experiences of which he is proud, what stands out most is his eight-year service as Control Team Chief in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. “It was the most challenging experience I ever had to endure. Surviving the training alone lets you know that you can do anything. Then serving during wartime and dealing with the issues of experiencing combat redefines a person,” says Henderson, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. “If you can survive war you can survive anything.”
Honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, he worked in various positions for Rep. Diane E. Watson, D-Calif., now retired. “She gave me a chance to serve and the opportunity to lead her office while she was a senior member of Congress,” Henderson says.
An avid outdoorsman, his favorite way to relax is to sit on the beach and watch the waves crash on the shore. He has a long-term goal: “I want to mentor our young people to be the next leaders of their generation.”