1964: How Republicans Lost the Black Vote


Published on February 7th, 2013

In honor of Black History Month, HHR is featuring Prof. Leah M. Wright’s dissertation, Conscience of a Black Conservative: The 1964 Election and the Rise of the National Negro Republican Assembly.

This article explores the activities of black Republicans during and after the 1964 Republican National Convention. The social turmoil of the 1960s, along with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Barry Goldwater’s selection as the GOP’s presidential nominee resulted in an unprecedented massive rejection of the Republican Party by 94 percent of the black electorate. This “6 Percent” moment forced black Republicans to rethink their relationship to the GOP. In turn, this redefinition served as a catalyst for the galvanization of liberal and moderate black party members, who then worked to promote a civil rights agenda within a fundamentally conservative framework.

Source: Wesleyan.edu . Read full article. (link)

Prof. Wright is an Assistant Professor of History & African American Studies at Wesleyan University.  She received her B.A. in history from Dartmouth College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Princeton University.  Currently, Leah is working on a book, The Loneliness of the Black Conservative: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power; her project offers new insight into the relationship between African American politics, the American civil rights movement, and the Republican Party.

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