Black issues are often cast as the somewhat inevitable products of American political development (Klinkner and Smith 1999; King and Smith 2005). Such a conception of Black issues fails to consider the origins of Black policy ideas and ignores the purposive efforts of political entrepreneurs. In this article, I seek to pierce the aura of inevitability by asking: what accounts for shifts in the issue content of the congressional Black agenda? I answer the question by using Proquest’s Historical Black Newspaper database to place Black civil rights issues within their proper historical contexts. When informed by literatures on social movements and agenda setting, the contexts suggest that the credibility of problem definitions and policy solutions—in terms of both policymakers’ and citizens’ perspectives—is essential to the introduction of policy innovations onto the agenda (Kingdon 1995; Mintrom 1997; King, Bentele and Soule 2007; Wood and Vedlitz 2007).