In 1875-1877 there were seven African American members of the U.S. House of Representatives and one African American U.S. Senator. African Americans represented 2 percent of the U.S. Congress. In 1969, a record 11 African Americans were elected to the U.S. Congress (ten Representatives and one U.S. Senator) and African Americans represented approximately 2 percent of the U.S. Congress. (From 1897-1901 there had been only one African American member of the U.S. Congress, none for the next 28 years, only one in 1945 and two until 1955.) The Twentieth Century was in to its seventh decade before African Americans began to regain voting rights at local, statewide, and national levels that had been stripped away following Reconstruction.
What lessons would a historian's review of the systematic and continuous efforts to deny or suppress African American voting rights yield? Does a political analysis of white voting patterns in statewide and national elections of African American over the last thirty years provide more salient insights to the prospects of the election of African Americans for future national leadership? Does an analysis of Obama's presidential primary and national campaigns significantly affect historical or political perspectives on the probability of future successful candidacies for statewide and national office by African Americans?
Greggory Keith Spence
Greggory Keith Spence is a Professor in Professional Practice at The New School.
Term once commonly used in physical anthropology to denote a division of humankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type (e.g., Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid). Today the term has little scientific standing, as older methods of differentiation, including hair form and body measurement, have given way to the comparative analysis of DNA and gene frequencies relating to such factors as blood typing, the excretion of amino acids, and inherited enzyme deficiencies. Because all human populations today are extremely similar genetically, most researchers have abandoned the concept of race for the concept of the cline, a graded series of differences occurring along a line of environmental or geographical transition. This reflects the recognition that human populations have always been in a state of flux, with genes constantly flowing from one gene pool to another, impeded only by physical or ecological boundaries. While relative isolation does preserve genetic differences and allow populations to maximally adapt to climatic and disease factors over long periods of time, all groups currently existing are thoroughly mixed genetically, and such differences as still exist do not lend themselves to simple typologizing. Race is today primarily a sociological designation, identifying a class sharing some outward physical characteristics and some commonalities of culture and history. See alsoclimatic adaptation, ethnic group, racism.
WOW! I absolutely love this lecture. I'm presently writing about the role race plays in American politics, religion and our relationships. This offers inspiration and additional knowledge towards that effort. Wonderful speech. Thank you.