The past decade has witnessed the emergence of a new vanguard in African American political leaders. They came of age after Jim Crow segregation and the Civil Rights Movement, they were raised in integrated neighborhoods and educated in majority white institutions, and they are more likely to embrace deracialized campaign and governance strategies. Members of this new cohort, such as Cory Booker, Artur Davis, and Barack Obama, have often publicly clashed with their elders, either in campaigns or over points of policy. And because this generation did not experience codified racism, critics question whether these leaders will even serve the interests of African Americans once in office.
With these pressing concerns in mind, this volume uses multiple case studies to probe the implications of the emergence of these new leaders for the future of African American politics. Editor Andra Gillespie establishes a new theoretical framework based on the interaction of three factors: black leaders’ crossover appeal, their political ambition, and connections to the black establishment. She sheds new light on the changing dynamics not only of Black politics but of the current American political scene.
"Scholars and observers of African American politics will want to take note of this volume. Over the past decade, a new generation of African American leaders has emerged on the political landscape. With them have surfaced old and new questions about the state of black politics. This volume is one of the first works to systematically analyze these new leaders and their political styles. Professor Gillespie and her contributors offer fresh theoretical insights and a compelling framework and typology for studying this next wave of African American politicians. This book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the contemporary black politics and its significance for broader American politics."
—Kerry L. Haynie, Duke University
"These empirically sagacious and theoretically provocative case studies are the best work yet on the transformations in African American politics that produced Barack Obama."
—Robert C. Smith, San Francisco State University
"Whose Black Politics is an important text that tracks a generational shift in black politics. Gillespie offers a compelling analysis of how we might understand the transition of black politicians from grassroots activists to Harvard trained attorneys. Students of black politics will learn a lot and find much to debate from Gillespie's work."
—Mark Sawyer, University of California Los Angeles
Introduction: 1. Meet the New Class: Theorizing Young Black Leadership in a "Post-Racial" Era (Andra Gillespie) Part I: Creating Opportunity: How Young Black Politicians Break Into the Political Scene 2. Racial Authenticity and Redistricting: A Comparison of Artur Davis' 2000 and 2002 Congressional Campaigns (Andra Gillespie and Emma Tolbert) 3. Losing and Winning: Cory Booker's Ascent to Newark's Mayoralty (Andra Gillespie) Part II: Inheritance and Governance: What Political Scions Do Once They Get Elected 4. Like Father, Like Son? Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Tenure As A US Congressman (Randolph Burnside and Antonio Rodriguez) 5. Hype, Hip Hop and Heartbreak: The Rise and Fall of Kwame Kilpatrick (Todd Shaw, Athena King and Lester Spence) Part III: The Rise of Barack Obama: Its Implications for Black Politics 6. The Burden of Jekyll and Hyde: Barack Obama, Racial Identity, and Black Political Behavior (Lorrie Frasure) 7. Leadership, Legitimacy and Public Perceptions Of Barack Obama (Charlton McIlwain) Part IV: New Perspectives on Deracialization 8. Between Generations: Deval Patrick's Election As Massachusetts' First Black Governor (Angela Lewis) 9. The Declining Significance of Race: Adrian Fenty and the Smooth Electoral Transition (Rachel Yon) 10. Situational Deracialization, Harold Ford, and the 2006 U.S. Senate Race In Tennessee (Sekou Franklin) 11. The 'Steele Problem' and the New Republican Battle for Black Votes: Legacy, Loyalty, and Lexicon in Maryland's 2006 Senate Contest (Tyson King-Meadows) Part V: Intersectionality and African American Politics in the 21st Century 12. Race, Religion and Post-9/11 America: The Election Of Keith Ellison (Andra Gillespie and Amber Perez) 13. Young, Gifted, Black and Female: Why Aren't There More Yvette Clarkes In Congress? (Katrina Gamble) 14. Conclusion: Where Do We Go From Here?