African American Politics and Citizenship, 1865–Present: An Overview

Michael C. Dawson

in The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195188059
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 African American Politics and Citizenship, 1865–Present: An Overview

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Black politics in the United States since the end of the Civil War has been centered on the quest for inclusion that King, Douglass, and Shklar describe and has at its goal not only the full political inclusion of African Americans but also full economic and social inclusion. As Shklar states, citizenship is not a static concept and “has changed over the years” on the ground. Consequently, black political struggle for citizenship has evolved as well both in content and specific goals. This article considers a wide range of African American political activity in the period between the end of the Civil War and the advent of the new millennium. The range of political activity that are discussed includes black ideologies and public opinion and how they have changed, the massive social movements that shaped a nation and slowly won blacks greater standing within the nation, as well as black efforts to utilize electoral politics both to become represented in the nation's political institutions at all levels and to make those institutions more accountable to African American interests.

Keywords: black politics; African Americans; Civil War; social inclusion; economic inclusion; political activity

Article.  1968 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics

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