African American participation in U.S. electoral politics as voters, candidates, and office holders is at an all-time high. However, their political activism has been practiced throughout history, even in the eras of enslavement and disenfranchisement.
This handbook provides a thorough treatment of the various mechanisms African Americans have used to participate in U.S. political affairs from the colonial era to the present.
With contributions by several of the field's experts, this concise, provocative volume explores the evolution and current status of African American political action. Focusing on distinct types of activity (protest politics, grassroots movements, electoral politics, political office holding), it charts the unique development of African Americans as they progressed from enslavement by whites to empowerment as citizens to an ever-growing influence on elections.
As the book vividly demonstrates, African Americans' efforts to act on their own political behalf didn't begin in the 1960s. Even while enslaved, black people courageously launched petitions, instigated strikes on plantations, and staged full-blown revolts, creating a legacy of activism that expanded through the abolition movement, Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, the post-World War II civil rights movement, and into the present.
• 25 A–Z entries on important individuals and events such as the Nat Turner revolt, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the Return to Africa Movement
• Chronology of political events in African American political history from colonial times to the present
• The only comprehensive political history of the African American minority
• Covers the often overlooked informal bases of participation
• Brings to light the full extent of African American political activity in the colonial period