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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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Barbara Jordan 1972–1973

Barbara Jordan 1972–1973

(p.67) Chapter 3 Barbara Jordan 1972–1973
Going Home
University of Chicago Press

The Stokes–Jordan differences illustrate and explain the diversity of representational strategies to be found among African American House members, and, taken together, allow some comparisons between the representational activity of this pair of House members in the 1970s and the activity of another pair in the 1990s. The negotiating activities of Louis Stokes and Barbara Jordan with the people of their districts must be placed, therefore, within the broadly similar policy goals and policy constraints fixed by the “group interests” of their black constituents. The differences in their early career ambitions are reflected in their different career paths. Stokes came to politics sideways, through a career in the law. Jordan came to politics head on, through electoral activity. Stokes had a politically pathbreaking brother to coax him into politics, teach him the ropes, and pave the way for him. Jordan's motivation for a political career was self-generated, and she had to succeed on her own. Jordan and Louis Stokes faced one common constituency problem: that their personal political interests were not the same as the interests of the local Democratic politicians who operated within their districts. Therefore, the most important negotiating and learning experiences of their careers resulted from their efforts to cope with this problem.

Keywords:   African American, House members, Barbara Jordan, Democratic politicians, policy goals

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