In the past, African American aspirations for political offi ce were assumed to be limited to areas with sizeable black population bases. By and large, black candidates have rarely been successful in statewide or national elections. This has been attributed to several factors: limited resources available to African American candidates, or identifi cation with a black liberationist ideological thrust. Other factors have been a relatively small and spatially concentrated primary support base of black voters, and the persistent resistance of many white voters to support black candidates.
For these reasons, the possibility of black candidates winning elections to national offi ce was presumably just a dream. Conventional wisdom conceded a virtual cap on both the possible number of black elected officials and the level of elective offi ce to which they could ascend. But objective political analysis has not always made sufficient allowances for the more universal phenomenon of individual political ambitions. Th e contributors to this volume explore the ways ambitious individuals identifi ed and seized upon strategies that are expanding the boundaries of African American electoral politics.
This volume is anchored by a symposium that focuses on new possibiities in African American politics. Both the electoral contests of 2006 and the Barack Obama presidential campaign represent an emergent dynamic in American electoral politics. Analysts are beginning to agree that the contours of social change now make the electoral successes of black candidates who are perceived as ideologically and culturally mainstream increasingly likely. The debate captured in this volume will likely inspire further scholarly inquiry into the changing nature and dimensions of the larger dynamic of race in American politics and the subsequent changing political fortunes of African American candidates.
Georgia A. Persons
Part I: A New Structure of Ambition in African American Politics:
Beyond the Boundaries: A New Structure of Ambition
in African American Politics
Robert C. Smith, Symposium Editor
Making History, Again, So Soon? The Massachusetts
Angela K. Lewis
Running on Race and Against Convention: Michael Steele,
Kweisi Mfume, and Maryland's 2006 Senate Contest
Tyson D. King-Meadows
Three Wrongs and Too Far Right: The Wrong Candidate,
the Wrong Year, and the Wrong State: J. Kenneth Blackwell's
Run for Ohio Governor
Wendy G. Smooth
Southern Racial Etiquette and the 2006 Tennessee
Senate Race: The Racialization of Harold Ford's
Richard T. Middleton, IV and Sekou M. Franklin
Racial Threat, Republicanism, and the Rebel Flag:
Trent Lott and the 2006 Mississippi Senate Race
Byron D'Andra Orey
Part II: The Evolving Developmental Context of Black Politics
Statewide Races in Maryland: Unusual Beginnings
of a New Era in Electoral Politics?
Walter W. Hill
Electoral Cycles in Racial Polarization and the
2006 Senate Elections
Richard Forgette and Marvin King
The Early Electoral Contests of Senator Barack Obama:
A Longitudinal Analysis
Hanes Walton, Jr. and Robert C. Starks
The Third Wave: Assessing the Post-Civil Rights
Cohort of Black Elected Leadership
Black Identity: What Does It Mean for Black Leaders?
Jas M. Sullivan
Learning to Participate: The Effects of Civic Education
on Racial/Ethnic Minorities
The Literature on Senator Barack Obama's 2008
Hanes Walton, Jr., Josephine A.V. Allen, Sherman C. Puckett,
Donald R. Deskins, Jr., and Leslie Burl McLemore
A Radical Critique of the Reparations Movement
Carter A. Wilson
Creating a Transnational Network of Black
Representation in the Americas: A Profi le of the Legislators at the First Meeting of Black Parliamentarians in Latin America
Michael Mitchell, Minion K.C. Morrison, and Ollie Johnson, III
Introductory Political Science Textbooks: Are They
Inclusive of African American Politics?
Sherri L. Wallace and Dewey M. Clayton
Part III: Book Forum
African American Politics in Third Parties and Urban
Affairs: A Review Essay
Hanes Walton, Jr.
Invitation to the Scholarly Community