The BIG GAO-USACE chapter received its charter on September 3, 1980. On January 28, 1981, then Comptroller General, Elmer B. Staats, formally recognized the chapter and pledged GAO’s support in furthering the organization’s objectives. BIG-GAO is guided by the same goals and objectives as the BIG national organization, which include serving as an advocate of equal opportunity for African American employees and promoting professionalism among African American employees.

BIG GAO-USACE currently functions as a local employee support, an advisory, and a resource group for African American civil servants at GAO and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The organization annually sponsors activities for African American History Month in February, which features the popular oratorical contest for Washington, DC high school students, and workshops throughout the year to bring awareness to employment, social, and health issues facing African Americans. The organization also sponsors annual food drives for less fortunate Washington, DC families and has been a key player in planning activities for the international auditors for GAO’s International Fellows Program


Blacks In Government® (BIG) was established in 1975 and incorporated in 1976 by a small group of African Americans at the Public Health Services which is a part of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the Parklawn building in Rockville, Maryland. The organization was viewed as essential to the Black civil service employee, based on a wide assortment of racially motivated problems faced by the HEW Black employees in Rockville. Initially, it was thought that the umbrella organization would address only the problems at the Federal level. However, it was soon determined that State, County, and Municipal Black employees were faced with the same general type of employment problems. Nonetheless, Blacks In Government was organized in 1975 and incorporated as a non-profit organization under the District of Columbia jurisdiction in 1976.


BIG has been a national response to the need for African Americans in public service to organize around issues of mutual concern and use their collective strength to confront workplace and community issues. BIG's goals are to promote EQUITY in all aspects of American life, EXCELLENCE in public service, and OPPORTUNITY for all Americans.

Former Chapter Presidents

*John Luke (deceased) (1981-82)                       *Aletha Brown (1983-84)

*Melvin Horne (1985)                                           *George Shelton (1986-87)

*Wyley Neal (1988-90)                                          Gerald Dillingham (1990-91)

Hon Norma Samuel (1991-93)                              Andrew Marshall (1994-95)

Lee Richardson (1995)                                         john Smith (1996-2001)

Norman Burrell (2002-2004)                                 Fairy Armstrong, USACE

Hon. Shirley A Jones (2005 - 2008 (1993-95)      Mary Crenshaw 

Danielle Giese                                                      Kisha Clark

                                                                              Pamela H. Richards


*Also founding members

Chapter Founders

Rosa Chevalier                              Hazel “Dee” Cook (deceased)

Samuel Cox                                   Frank Davis         

James Driggins                             Curtis Evans

Michael Horton                             Geraldine Howard

Toni Jenkins                                  Paul Jones

Belva Martin                                  Grady Poulard

Benjamin Ross                              Jean Saunders

Ryan Yuille (deceased)