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21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests

ISBN: 978-1-78190-184-7, eISBN: 978-1-78190-185-4

Publication date: 4 April 2013


Until the 1960s, the only black mayor in the United States was Wesley Liddell (1961–1965) of Mound Bayou, an all black town in Mississippi. In 1966, Robert C. Henry was elected mayor in Springfield, Ohio. He became the first black mayor of a city outside the South. Starting with Carl Stokes of Cleveland (1968–1971), blacks have been elected as mayors in most of the nation’s largest cities. These late 20th century mayors were considered reactions of northerners to the equal opportunity message of the southern Civil Rights Movement. Middle size cities are now joining the trend of elected minority mayors. These remarkable achievements demonstrate how far America has come in the creation of truly open elections. Race, gender, and ethnicity are no longer considered barriers to being elected to the highest municipal office. We have seen several minority individuals elected mayor in minority majority cities as well as predominately white cities. These elections confirm Robert Dahl’s ethnic succession theory, which holds that as cities undergoes demographic change, the new ethnics will assume political leadership. Cities evolved and race/ethnic political leaders stood in queues waiting for their chance to govern.


Rich, W.C. (2013), "Foreword", Perry, R.K. (Ed.) 21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, Vol. 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. xix-xxi.



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