12019-03-12T23:58:07+00:00Stanford University Pressaf84c3e11fe030c51c61bbd190fa82a3a1a1282412plainpublished2019-07-03T15:45:08+00:00Production Editor7a3dce28be212b1ba5b4a7a50f3d6a8d76b58c74Guest post by Emilie Theobald, History MA student at Arizona State University.
The article, “Election Swayed By Minority Group Vote” published by the Chicago Defender on November 10, 1962 is an important article in the history of black political participation and is especially significant given the election two days ago. This article, which summarizes the role of African Americans in the 1962 election, highlights the fact that the largest number of African Americans ran and gained places in U.S. government since Reconstruction. For example, in Georgia, Leroy Johnson became the first black in Georgia’s state legislature in fifty years. Black voters also turned out to vote in record numbers, especially in the South where many blacks were voting for the first time, and most importantly politicians and political parties, even Republicans, were beginning to pay attention to black voters.
While the article does mention a few negative outcomes of the election including the issue that since most blacks were usually voting as a block for Democrats, occasionally a more qualified and better candidate lost and that there were still some strong segregationist victories especially in the South, the positivity and optimism in the article are overwhelming and contagious. The last line of the article reads, “Never again will any politician or any political party either look upon the Negro vote as his private fief or ignore it. For in 1962 that vote became a major factor in American politics.” Though it is certain that black political participation has increased in the years since the 1962 election and much progress has been made especially with the Obama presidency, it is unclear especially in the most recent election how much attention has been paid to black voters, especially by Republicans, and how much the parties are working to improve the lives of African Americans. It would be nice to see an article with this amount of enthusiasm and hopefulness published today.