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Black Elephants in the RoomThe Unexpected Politics of African American Republicans$
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Corey D. Fields

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520291898

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520291898.001.0001

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From Many to Few

From Many to Few

(p.32) Chapter One From Many to Few
Black Elephants in the Room

Corey D. Fields

University of California Press

This chapter examines the historical relationship between African Americans and the Republican Party. In contrast to their current unexpected status, it used to be common for blacks to support the party. Abolition was at the center of the party's creation, and African Americans were a critical constituency. Only in the 1930s did the majority of African Americans start supporting Democratic candidates in presidential elections. While shifts in how each party handled economic issues precipitated black voters' exodus to the Democratic Party, it was the Republican Party's response to the civil rights movement and demands for racial equality that produced its antagonistic relationship with blacks. In tracing this history, it becomes clear that black political behavior develops in concert with shifts in the broader political context.

Keywords:   African Americans, Republican Party, Democratic Party, civil rights movement, racial equality, black political behavior

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