All Articles Tagged "african american politicians"
Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 – the document that expresses the want, will, and hopes of the people – the country’s political system has reflected a disproportionately low number of women. Black females are even scarcer. However, some black women have been trailblazers in the political arena, shaping history and leaving a legacy that cannot be erased.
Patricia Roberts Harris
Patricia Roberts Harris broke several racial and gender barriers throughout her distinguished political career. In 1965, she became the first black female ambassador when President Lyndon Johnson appointed her as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg. Two years later, she returned to her alma mater, Howard University, where she became the law school dean, making her the first black female law school dean in the country. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Harris to serve in his cabinet as secretary of housing and urban development. She was the first black female in a presidential cabinet.
(Washington Post) — As many as one-quarter of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus could face significant primary opposition in their new House districts in 2012, a development that could significantly change the face of the CBC and/or reduce its membership heading into 2013. With nationwide redistricting slightly more than halfway done, at least 10 of the 41 members of the CBC already have well-known politicians eyeing their new districts. As Roll Call’s Shira Toeplitz noted on Monday, a few of those members are actually facing matchups with current or former Members of Congress who are white. These members include Reps. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.), Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.). But others are facing primaries with ambitious black politicians who see opportunities in newly drawn districts.
(Afro) — Spending nearly eight years laboring Inside the Beltway as a communication strategist, Melanie N. Roussell has reached a critical position that could make or break the reelection chances of President Barak Obama. As chief spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the former press secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing must carefully craft messages about the commander-in-chief. Roussell said she’s ready. Roussell got her first taste of politics as a senior at Florida A&M University, a historically Black college in Tallahassee, Fla., when she got involved with the Bush vs. Gore 2000 election. The FAMU graduate, then a member of the school’s Student Government Association, said there were 500 reported cases of voting disenfranchisement in which students were turned away from the polls or told they couldn’t vote, even though they had current registration cards.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, a South Side and suburban Democrat, isn’t the only one refusing to take the 10 days off without pay that he and the rest of the County Board unanimously agreed to when they passed the 2011 budget. Last week, Beavers told the Sun-Times the pay cut was illegal — citing the state Constitution, which says sitting elected officials can’t have their salaries boosted or docked — and now Commissioner Earlean Collins is standing with him. “I wrote a letter, saying ‘I do not wish to have my salary cut,’” Collins said during Tuesday’s regular County Board meeting, referring to a letter she penned to county government officials.
(Miami Herald) — As the debate over jobs turns into the latest political tug-of-war, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri walks a careful but candid line. As chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, he has been at odds with President Barack Obama over the administration’s response to soaring unemployment in the African-American community. Nearing 17 percent, joblessness among blacks is at a three-decade high and almost twice the overall unemployment rate. The black caucus wants the president to do more. But the group’s efforts are freighted with political sensitivities, given Obama’s unique role as the first African-American president and the sometimes untethered animosity that his election has triggered. ”If Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House,” Cleaver said. “There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president.”
(New York Times) — He came in to the strains of Sinatra singing “New York, New York,” yielded for traffic updates and plugged Sleepy’s mattresses. Yes, on Tuesday, former Gov. David A. Paterson made his debut as an afternoon drive-time radio host, on WOR-AM (710). “I am more excited right now, sitting here, than I was even the day I was sworn in as governor of the State of New York on March 17, 2008,” Mr. Paterson told listeners. “And the reason is, this time I had time to think about it.” Since leaving office at the end of 2010, Mr. Paterson has been a frequent radio guest and guest host, and has made no secret of his desire to get his own show. His first guest? None other than his predecessor as governor, Eliot Spitzer, whose resignation led to Governor Paterson’s swearing-in. Mr. Paterson had been Mr. Spitzer’s lieutenant governor.
(The Grio) — When Cory Booker was elected mayor of Newark in 2006 the overwhelming reaction was this is a perfect match. Here is a proud city, battered but never beaten, now being led by a brilliant, motivated and highly educated public servant. Their ambitions and aspirations appeared to be in sync. Newark has renamed itself the “Renaissance City”, and Cory Booker, the 36-year-old Rhodes Scholar and Yale Law School graduate, calls cities: “the last frontier to make real the promise of America.” His often-repeated mantra could be taken as his mission and his vision. Newark’s problems were upfront and obvious and Mayor Booker offered solutions. What to do about rising crime? “Increase the number of police on the streets and take a harder line on crime.”
(Washington Post) — From the start of his history-making tenure, the nation’s first black president took care never to be seen making policy or political decisions aimed solely or directly at black America. His position: He is the president of the whole country, focused on broad-based fixes to “lift all boats.” The race-avoidance strategy served President Obama well, helping him attract support from many whites while also mobilizing African Americans energized by the powerful symbol of a black commander in chief. But a soaring jobless rate among African Americans and a newfound comfort by black lawmakers to criticize Obama’s economic policies are prompting the White House to recalibrate — and to focus more directly on the struggles of black America. The shift comes amid a growing concern among some Democrats that the stubborn economic conditions in minority communities might hamper efforts by Obama’s reelection campaign to generate the large black voter turnout it needs in key cities to make up for his declining support among white independents.
(AJC) — It is not an election year, but Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is in full campaign mode for U.S. Rep. John Lewis and the preservation of his congressional district. Under a proposal being floated by Republican leaders in the Georgia General Assembly, Lewis, who represents Atlanta, would lose the Buckhead area to Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, who represents the 11th District. If it happens, it would be the first time in modern history that a Republican would represent a portion of Atlanta. Lewis has said the plan was “an affront to the spirit and the letter of the Voting Rights Act.” Reed agrees.
(Daily Beast) — With a stinging budget defeat behind them and unemployment in the black community soaring to 16 percent, members of the Congressional Black Caucus say they’re done waiting for Barack Obama to fight their battles for them. Instead, the 43 African-American lawmakers say they’re taking matters into their own hands and will carry the fight to Tea Party Republicans, whom they blame for Obama’s latest lurch to the right. “The Tea Party discovered something. That is if they organize, if they talk loud enough, if they threaten, if they register to vote and elect a few people, they can take over the Congress of the United States,” said Rep. Maxine Waters. “They called our bluff and we blinked. We should have made them walk the plank.”