Pub. Date:
State University of New York Press
We Have No Leaders: African Americans in the Post-Civil Rights Era

We Have No Leaders: African Americans in the Post-Civil Rights Era

by Robert C. Smith, Ronald W. Walters
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This comprehensive study of African American politics since the civil rights era concludes that the black movement has been co-opted, marginalized, and almost wholly incorporated into mainstream institutions.

This is the first comprehensive study of African American politics from the end of the 1960s civil rights era to the present. Not an optimistic book, it concludes that the black movement has been almost wholly encapsulated into mainstream institutions, co-opted, and marginalized. As a result, the author argues, African American leadership has become largely irrelevant in the development of organizations, strategies, and programs that would address the multifaceted problems of race in the post-civil rights era.

Meanwhile, the core black community has become increasingly segregated, and its society, economy, culture, and institutions of governance and uplift have decayed. In exhaustive detail Smith traces this sad state of affairs to certain internal attributes of African American political culture and institutional processes, and to the structure of American politics and its economic and cultural underpinnings. Sure to be controversial, this book challenges both liberal and conservative notions of the black political struggle in the United States. It will serve as a major reference for academic study and a point of departure for political activists.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791431368
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 09/26/1996
Series: SUNY series in African American Studies Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.93(d)

About the Author

Robert C. Smith is Professor of Political Science at San Francisco State University. He is the author of Black Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research and Racism in the Post-Civil Rights Era: Now You See It, Now You Don’t and coauthor (with Richard Seltzer) of Race, Class, and Culture: A Study of Afro-American Mass Opinion, the latter two published by SUNY Press. He has coedited two books, Urban Black Politics and Reflections on Black Leadership, and is associate editor of the National Political Science Review.

Table of Contents




Part I

1. From Protest to Incorporation: A Framework for Analysis of Civil Rights Movement Outcomes

Part II

2. The National Black Political Convention, 1972–84

3. Continuity and Innovation in Post–Civil Rights Era Black Organization

Part III

4. Black Incorporation and Institutionalization in the Post–Civil Rights Era: Leading America and Leading Blacks

5. Blacks and Presidential Policy Making: Neglect, Policy, Symbols, and Cooptation

6. Blacks in Congressional Decision Making: A Policy Consensus on Civil Rights, 1970–1994

7. Blacks in Congressional Decision Making: The Humphrey-Hawkins Act as Symbolic Politics

8. Blacks in Congressional Decision Making: Neglect and Invisibility on Social and Economic Reform

Part IV

9. Symbolic Politics at High Tide: Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition

10. Racial Symbolism as "Ideology" in the Post–Civil Rights Era, and a Postscript on the Clinton Administration and the 1994 Election

Part V

11. From Incorporation toward Irrelevance: The Afro-American Freedom Struggle in the 21st Century

Appendix A Comparison of Democratic Party Platform Language on Full Employment, 1944–92



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