keshaperry

The Future of Black Politics?

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Growing up in the Memphis area, I was acutely familiar with the Ford family-Memphis’ and Tennessee’s version of political royalty. And for many African Americans, the Fords were the face of progress and a future that many only dreamed of. Now, Harold Ford, Jr., former Tennessee Congressman is contemplating a run for the New York Senatorial seat.

Following the modern civil rights movement, arguably the faces of Black politics shared Harlem roots. In an October 2009 article, Nicholas Confessore of the New York Times reported that “For decades, Harlem has been the lodestar of black politics in New York City and beyond. From Harlem came the city’s first black mayor, David N. Dinkins, the state’s first black governor, David A. Paterson, and generations of other influential black politicians and operatives. To Harlem went presidential aspirants and other future stars of the Democratic Party, eager to pay homage and seek blessings. But now the once-vaunted Harlem political machine is on the verge of collapse.”

The election of Barack Obama as President shifted the balance of power in Black politics–as Confessore notes, Chicago is fast surpassing Harlem as the base for Black leaders. And at one point, Harold Ford, Jr. was considered to be apart of the new generation of African American leadership. After his failed bid in 2006 for Senator of Tennessee, Ford, Jr. may use New York as his avenue to the Senate. Not a native of Harlem, not a native New Yorker, but Ford, Jr. is a political historian. In a New York Daily News interview Millard Drexler observes, “He’s a guy who’s loved politics and a guy who likes to be in on things and I would bet at some point he was going to run for some office somewhere.” Call it timely, call it opportunistic, call it maybe–for Ford, Jr. nothing is done by happenstance.

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