Power and the Black Community: A Reader on Racial Subordination in the United States

By Sethard Fisher | Go to book overview

23. The Making of
the Negro Mayors 1967

Considering the nature of black politics in the urban North, the recent rise of Negro mayors In major metropolitan areas must be seen as a spectacular development. This development has occurred In such places as Richmond, California, Gary, Indiana, and Washington, D.C. This timely analysis by Hadden, Masotti, and Thiessen explores some of the essential ingredients of this achievement in Cleveland, Ohio. The election of Carl Stokes to the highest political office of this city can be instructive for the planners of black political strategy In the urban North. Can this accomplishment be seen as a consequence of the "politics of deference" as described by Carmichael and Hamilton, or Is it a phenomenon of "black power"? What is the relevance of this achievement to black pride and "black power"? Is it simply tokenism or will it be of substantial benefit to blacks In Cleveland and throughout the country? Such questions are important to blacks and whites alike, for answers to them have an important bearing on the direction black protest should take.


JEFFREY K. HADDEN, LOUIS H. MASOTTI,
AND VICTOR THIESSEN

Throughout most of 1967, black power and Vietnam kept this nation in an almost continual state of crisis. The summer months were the longest and hottest in modern U.S. history—many political analysts even felt that the nation was entering its most serious domestic conflict since the Civil War. Over a hundred cities were rocked with violence.

As the summer gave way to autumn, the interest of the nation shifted a little from the summer's riots to the elections on the first Tuesday of November. An unprecedented number of Negroes were running for office, but public attention focused on three elections. In Cleveland, Carl B. Stokes, a lawyer who in 1962 had become the first Democratic Negro legislator in Ohio, was now seeking to become the first Negro mayor of a large American city. In Gary, Ind., another young Negro lawyer, Richard D. Hatcher, was battling the Republican Party's candidate—as well as his own Democratic Party—to become the first Negro mayor of a "medium‐ sized" city. And in Boston, Louise Day Hicks, a symbol of white backlash,

____________________
Copyright © 1968 by Trans-action magazine; Jan.-Feb. 1968 issue.

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