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Going HomeBlack Representatives and Their Constituents$
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Richard F. Fenno

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780226241302

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226241326.001.0001

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Louis Stokes 1970–1976

Louis Stokes 1970–1976

(p.11) Chapter 2 Louis Stokes 1970–1976
Going Home
University of Chicago Press

Louis Stokes and Barbara Jordan belonged to a recognizable cohort of African American House members, all members of which were products of the civil rights revolution of the 1960s. The clustering of their elections, their common civil rights heritage, and their history of collective action inside Congress encourages us to think of them as a recognizable and substantial “pioneer cohort” of African American House members. The micro-level emphasis on representational diversity in this chapter follows the work of these scholars. Its explanations, however, begins neither with types of district nor with campaign strategies, but with individuals. Lou Stokes was not a prototypically ambitious, self-promoting, entrepreneurial politician. Subsequent political science research helps us to recognize how basic the idea of “the black community” is to the understanding of African American politics. The transition from protest to politics centered on creating an indigenous black political organization—one that grew out of the relationship of the black community to the Democratic Party. Lou Stokes's symbolic activity was a critical, indispensable element in negotiating for supportive connections among his African American constituents.

Keywords:   Louis Stokes, African American, House members, Democratic Party, black political organization

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