Magazine article Black Enterprise

The Year of the Black Woman?

Magazine article Black Enterprise

The Year of the Black Woman?

Article excerpt

This year, African-American women are running for office in record numbers, and for some it is a clear shot to political power. These women are bolstered by the clout of black women throughout the country casting ballots to propel their sisters toward victory.

As of May. 170 women were running for Congress, 20 for the U.S. Senate and 150 for seats in the House of Representatives, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Women's Political Caucus. Of that group, close to 20 were African-American women. At present, four of the 26 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are women, and the CBC may gain three new female members this year.

In addition, for the first time in history, an African-American woman, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, has a good chance of winning a Senate seat. Braun, the Cook County recorder of deeds, is running against Republican challenger lawyer Richard Williamson. A victory would make her the first black Democratic Senator. Braun's March win in the state's primary over Sen. Alan J. Dixon was a shocking upset.

David Bositis, senior research associate of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, says the explosion of female candidates is due to several factors. The Voting Rights Act has pushed for the maximizing voting strength, so more black districts have been set up. One is the 30th Congressional district in Dallas, where state Sen. Eddie Bernice Johnson may capture a seat.

Bositis says, black women have won school board and other seats. These women, who cut their political teeth on the local level, are now ready for larger campaigns.

Finally, female ire at the Senate's handling of the Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill case, convinced some women to act. Braun, was encouraged to enter the race by liberal activists after Dixon voted to support Thomas' nomination. …

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