Magazine article Black Enterprise

What Empowerment Requires. (Publisher's Page)

Magazine article Black Enterprise

What Empowerment Requires. (Publisher's Page)

Article excerpt

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."

These words, spoken by Frederick Douglass more than 150 years ago, are of critical relevance to us in the aftermath of the November 2002 elections. Thanks to a Republican Party undeserving of our trust and a Democratic Party undeserving of our confidence, we are again faced with the reality that black political power and representation among the leadership of America will only increase when we accept nothing less.

African Americans gained next to nothing in the most recent mid-term elections. African Americans Jeannette Bradley and Michael Steele were elected to lieutenant governorships on GOP tickets in Ohio and Maryland, respectively, however, they arrive on the heels of the departure of J.C. Watts, the only black Republican in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, we still have zero representation in the U.S. Senate and among the nation's governors, despite strong campaigns by Democrats Ron Kirk in Texas and H. Carl McCall in New York. And because the Democrats failed to win control of the House of Representatives, the chance for members of the Congressional Black Caucus to gain chairmanships of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and Judiciary Committee, as well as several important House subcommittees, was squandered.

As we move toward the 2004 presidential campaign, the leadership of both the Republican and Democratic parties leave much to be desired. In December, Republican Senator Trent Lott, slated to be the majority leader in the new Congress, stated--and not for the first time--that our nation would be better off today had former Senator Strom Thurmond been elected to the presidency of the United States when he ran unsuccessfully as a devout segregationist in 1948. …

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