To read this content please select one of the options below:

Chapter 11 The Election of the First African American Female Mayor in Georgia’s First City: The Long Struggle for African American Empowerment in Savannah

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

Abstract

Purpose – The African American electorate in Savannah, Georgia, has a history of being managed and manipulated, but over a period of time it reached its full potential. This electorate evolved during the leadership of a white Democratic mayor who manipulated the increased number of black registered voters as a result of the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) to maintain white empowerment in a majority black city. This struggle for power proves that national reforms do not always have the immediate consequences that national leaders hoped. This chapter explores how the African American electorate persevered and took advantage of the political mistakes of others to attain its empowerment at the mayoral level. This evolution of political mobilization and empowerment would culminate with the election of the city’s first female African American mayor in 2011.Research design – We conduct a comparative analysis of election results over time.Findings – Federal intervention has been the most powerful and helpful to the African American electorate. However, while the Savannah African American electorate was managed and manipulated, such reforms were implemented in a gradual and limited manner. Hence, the rise of black mayoral power is the result of a lot of lucky political accidents due to a shrewd Democratic mayor who used the 1965 VRA to extend and maintain white empowerment in a majority African American urban city. Thus, national reforms do not always have the immediate consequences that national leaders hoped.

Citation

Ford Dowe, P.K. and Walton, H. (2013), "Chapter 11 The Election of the First African American Female Mayor in Georgia’s First City: The Long Struggle for African American Empowerment in Savannah", 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, Bingley, pp. 231-250. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-7449(2013)0000018015

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited