African Americans and the Presidency explores the long history of African American candidates for President and Vice President, examining the impact of each candidate on the American public, as well as the contribution they all made toward advancing racial equality in America. Each chapter takes the story one step further in time, through original essays written by top experts, giving depth to these inspiring candidates, some of whom are familiar to everyone, and some whose stories may be new.
Presented with illustrations and a detailed timeline, African Americans and the Presidency provides anyone interested in African American history and politics with a unique perspective on the path carved by the predecessors of Barack Obama, and the meaning their efforts had for the United States.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The African American Quest for the Presidency
Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz
1 Beginning the Trek—Douglass, Bruce, Black
Conventions, Independent Political Parties
Bruce A. Glasrud
2 The Communist Party of the United States and African
American Political Candidates
David Cullen and Kyle G. Wilkison
3 Charlotta A. Bass—Win Or Lose, We Win
4 Shirley Chisholm—A Catalyst for Change
Maxine D. Jones
5 The Socialist Workers Party and African Americans
Dwonna Naomi Goldstone
6 Civil Rights Activists and the Reach for Political Power
Jean Van Delinder
7 Jesse Jackson—Run, Jesse, Run!
James M. Smallwood
8 Lenora Branch Fulani—Challenging the Rules of the Game
Omar H. Ali
9 Race Activists and Fringe Parties with a Message
Charles Orson Cook
10 Black Politicians—Paving the Way
Hanes Walton, Jr., Josephine A. V. Allen,
Sherman C. Puckett, and Donald R. Deskins, Jr.
11 Colin Powell—The Candidate Who wasn’t
Cary D. Wintz
12 Barack Hussein Obama—An Inspiration of Hope, an
Agent for Change
Blacks and the Presidency: A Selected Bibliography
Bruce A. Glasrud is Professor Emeritus of History at California State University, East Bay and retired Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Sul Ross State University. Among his co-edited publications are Black Women in Texas History and Buffalo Soldiers in the West: A Black Soldiers Anthology.
Cary D. Wintz is Professor of History at Texas Southern University. His most recent works include serving as co-editor of The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century, and authoring Harlem Speaks: A Living History of the Harlem Renaissance.
"The election of Barack Obama to the presidency is a landmark moment in American history. But it’s a moment that was made possible by the steady, determined work of so many individuals—some recognized, but the majority working quietly out of the spotlight to bring about change. From the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision to the 2008 election, it’s been a long distance race and a team effort. This book illuminates the course of that race and documents the contributions of many who laid the groundwork for Obama’s victory."
- Rev. Jesse Jackson, Founder and President, RainbowPUSH Coalition
"This is a wonderfully surprising and important collection of essays that illuminates a quest that was once seen as a fool’s errand, but became a reality with the election of Barack Obama. Glasrud and Wintz rediscover and re-interpret a little known history where African Americans demanded access to America’s highest political offices. This collection brings to life the story of Frederick Douglass, Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson and many other African Americans who attempted to use the political system to shame, prod, or force America to confront its tortured racial history."
- Lonnie Bunch, Director, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
"This volume documents the mostly forgotten political campaigns of African Americans who have run for the nation’s highest office. With fresh insights and historical discoveries of campaigns that have long been neglected in the nation’s history, African Americans and the Presidency provides a lens to understand Barack Obama’s successful path to the White House. No one interested in blacks’ political struggle for dignity and recognition should neglect this book. It is simply a gem."
- Frederick C. Harris, co-author of Countervailing Forces in African-American Civic Activism, 1973-1994
African Americans and the Presidency tells the untold story of how "outsider" campaigns for the presidency have carved out new strategies for black empowerment. This worthy and provocative book gives all readers an inside look and gave me a new appreciation of the history in which I am proud to have played a part."
- Dr. Lenora B. Fulani
[This book] goes well beyond the well-known campaigns of Jesse Jackson and Shirley Crisholn to shed new light on the ideological and political challenges to the traditional ideas of who can and should be president of the United States... This work shows the systemic and social barriers facing African Americans and demonstrates why the election of the first African American president is so important to the entire project of African American politics.
-The Journal of American History