Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

November 28, 1970

Guest post by History MA student at Arizona State University.

An interesting article that grabbed my attention was from the Chicago Defender, November 28, 1970. The article, by journalist and political advisor Louis Martin, raises questions about the lack of a black cabinet member in the Nixon administration. Martin states, “There are no signs that President Nixon is considering the appointment of any blacks to his cabinet or any other top administration posts. Nevertheless, those smoke signals or trial balloons coming out of the White House these days clearly indicate that some important changes are about to take place in the President’s official family.”

Many influential African Americans saw the need to uplift the lives of other African Americans, especially economically. According to Leah Wright Riguer in the Loneliness of the Black Republican, “Central to this effort was Richard Nixon’s ‘Black Cabinet,’ a small loose-knit group of black Republican appointees who pushed an agenda aimed at the needs and aspirations of middle-class African-Americans” (139). Unfortunately, America was still slow to meet the needs of a great many citizens. Even after the great civil rights victories of the 1960s, the American political landscape continually forgot the plight of African Americans. Martin states, “Today when young blacks are organizing their own ‘exclusive’ bags, white leaders are deploring this dangerous growth of ‘black separatism’” (3). Ironically, this issue has come to the forefront of American society today in 2016 even as we are thought to have become a much more civilized country.

This article was very interesting after reading Riguer’s book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican. The reader sees the thoughts of Martin in his article, and it is interesting to compare to the book from a previous assignment. Unfortunately, the rights African-Americans earned in the 1960s did not necessarily translate into really a changed life. Instead, even into the 1970s, the representation of African Americans was greatly lacking for the time period. This could be a correlation to the world that we are seeing today in race relations.

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