Black Elected Officials

Black Elected Officials: Study of Black Americans Holding Government Office

James E. Conyers
Walter L. Wallace
Copyright Date: 1976
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 204
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610441308
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    Black Elected Officials
    Book Description:

    Presents the first nationwide profile of black Americans (over 3,500) who now hold elective governmental office. The book is based upon a questionnaire survey of black elected officials together with a comparison survey of white men and women elected to similar types of offices in the same geographical region. The inclusion of extensive quotations from interviews with thirty-four black elected officials adds realism, depth, and insight to the quantitative analysis. The authors interrelate fresh and meaningful information on the political ideologies and motivations of black officials, their perceived political impacts, and expectations for the future.

    Presents the first nationwide profile of black Americans (over 3,500) who now hold elective governmental office. The book is based upon a questionnaire survey of black elected officials together with a comparison survey of white men and women elected to similar types of offices in the same geographical region. The inclusion of extensive quotations from interviews with thirty-four black elected officials adds realism, depth, and insight to the quantitative analysis. The authors interrelate fresh and meaningful information on the political ideologies and motivations of black officials, their perceived political impacts, and expectations for the future.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-130-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
    James E. Conyers and Walter L. Wallace
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    J.E.C. and W.L.W.
  5. CHAPTER 1 Blacks Elected to Government: A “Second Reconstruction”?
    (pp. 1-16)

    Several scholars have proposed that since World War II the United States has experienced a “Second Reconstruction” with reference to the direction and amount of government intervention in Black-White relations (see Wilson, 1965; Woodward, 1966; Feagin and Hahn, 1970; and Kilson, 1971). Although this analogy carries positive implications with respect to the accomplishments of Reconstruction, the speed with which these accomplishments were swept away is an ill omen indeed.

    Twenty-one Negroes served in the House of Representatives, from the 43rd through the 56th Congress, 1865-95 .... Negroes were also elected to the state legislatures during the Reconstruction period ....

    By...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Political Beliefs and Motivations for Seeking Office
    (pp. 17-54)

    Although the racial identification of given officials as “Black Americans” is important as a measure of the demographic representativeness of government, the ideological identification of Black officials (and non-Blacks, as well) with the strivings of Black people is essential for ideological representativeness. After all, what goes on inside an official’s head may do more than his or her outside appearance to determine how the duties and rights of office are actually carried out. In our interviews, some Black officials made clear the importance they attached to such matters:

    If those people are not Black who are elected but only dark...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Personal Background and Social Setting
    (pp. 55-82)

    This chapter will look into how the beliefs and motivations discussed in the preceding chapter are related to personal characteristics, such as the officials’ educational attainment, and to social setting characteristics, such as the population size of districts from which officials were elected and the political parties with which officials were affiliated. We want to know, in short, what kinds of officials held various beliefs and motivations and in what kinds of settings these beliefs and motivations were held.

    The background variables that concern us here are residence (years lived in the community from which elected), education (number of higher...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Sex Differences
    (pp. 83-102)

    An individual’s gender is similar to his or her race, insofar as both are social identifications based on physiological characteristics and both have been culturally assigned a wide range of implications. However, while race identification is a variable with which this study is concerned in every phase of its analysis, we can examine sex identification in a special chapter only, because so few women (89 Black and 34 White) were included in our sample. Moreover, because our sample contains only nine White women in the southern region, we were forced to omit the South versus North regional control in the...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Who Helped Elect Them and Why
    (pp. 103-136)

    In our analysis so far, we have examined relationships among characteristics of our respondents and of their environments. Except for the indirect view provided by type of office, however, we have not yet focused on the fact that our respondents wereelectedgovernment officials. So let us now ask: Whom did Black officials (and White officials) think helped them get elected?

    To answer this question, we examine officials’ perceived election help from four constituencies—the latter term conceived broadly, as groups from which officials receive electoral support (or opposition) of some sort. We consider the Black community and the White...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Perceived Impact and Expected Future
    (pp. 137-154)

    Against the background of four chapters of chiefly statistical analysis of data from written questionnaires—questionnaires wherein responses were limited by standardized, fixed choices—we want now to give Black elected officials a chance to speak more freely for themselves, and the reader a chance to sample the flavor of their thoughts regarding their past accomplishments and future expectations. Therefore this chapter will be devoted entirely to a presentation and analysis of quotations on these issues from interviews with 34 Black elected officials.

    One major impact that our respondents thought their elections had had was to develop within the Black...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Conclusions
    (pp. 155-160)

    At least three sets of related findings and speculations deserve a last look here. They bear upon (1) Black officials’ ideological attitudes; (2) their perceptions of electoral constituencies; and (3) their perspectives on the future.

    Although the proponents of several ideological attitudes were examined in this study, three varieties seem especially interesting: those who supported Black independence, those who supported socioeconomic liberalism, and those who supported equality for women. It seems important to emphasize that among Black officials these three viewpoints were not strongly intercorrelated: Liberalism and support for Black independence were only weakly correlated, but support for Black independence...

  12. References
    (pp. 161-162)
  13. Appendix A
    (pp. 163-176)
  14. Appendix B
    (pp. 177-178)
  15. Appendix C
    (pp. 179-180)
  16. Appendix D
    (pp. 181-184)
  17. Index
    (pp. 185-190)