Fallen Star

By Cose, Ellis | Newsweek, June 14, 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Fallen Star


Cose, Ellis, Newsweek


Byline: Ellis Cose

Artur Davis was on track to be Alabama's first African-American governor--till he took black voters for granted.

Artur Davis was supposed to be the Deep South's first elected black governor. He had arrived at Harvard Law School in 1990--months after Barack Obama was elected president of the law review. And many, in Alabama and elsewhere, thought his political gifts rivaled those of the president himself. "A lot of people would have liked to have seen Alabama elect its first black governor, and a lot of people thought Artur could be that person," says James Rotch, a prominent white attorney whose Birmingham Pledge Foundation seeks to foster interracial harmony. Instead, the 42-year-old congressman lost (by more than 20 points) a Democratic primary that had seemed to be his for the taking. "This is not exactly the speech I'd planned to give," he somberly admitted last Tuesday as he conceded to state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks.

Davis's spectacular collapse makes abundantly clear that, even in the age of Obama, black politicians can easily wander into quicksand as they try to move beyond their traditional black base. Davis's biggest mistake, say local political observers, was to assume that blacks would rally behind him and that many liberal whites would do the same, making the primary little more than a formality. "He ran his whole race as it if were a general election and he wanted to claim some conservative street cred. Alabama Democrats--blue dots in this big red state--have very little patience for that," Birmingham News columnist John Archibald told me in an e-mail.

Jesse Lewis, publisher of The Birmingham Times, a black-oriented weekly, says most blacks in the state would have liked nothing more than to see an African-American as chief executive but couldn't warm up to a candidate who didn't seem to have their interests at heart. Many critics saw Davis's opposition to the president's health-care legislation as a blatant attempt to pander to white voters. The Rev.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Fallen Star
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?