Decades after the passage of the Voting Rights Act and after Black Power became the clarion call of the Black Liberation Movement, the status of African Americans in the United States is still unsettled and complicated. The overwhelming and consistent demand of the national black community for enforcement of constitutionally guaranteed citizenship rights such as equal protection under the law and the right to vote have been met for generations with violence, voter suppression and political repression. This has given rise to various movements, ideologies and approaches to Black self-determination and freedom that includes an on-going consideration of electoral politics as a tool for liberation. In today’s dynamic political environment with a diverse Black liberation movement swelling with ideas and people, electoral politics is analyzed, debated and utilized with uneven results as a strategy of struggle on a local and national level. Developments in urban areas where black political power is challenged, diluted or taken and the challenges and potential outcomes of the 2016 presidential election have elevated the importance of examining the historic and contemporary theory and practice of engaging electoral politics in the struggle of black people. To facilitate and advance this discussion The Black Scholar will publish a special issue, Electoral Politics and Black Liberation: Historical Lessons and Contemporary Strategies in Fall 2017.
This issue is concerned with provoking deeper reflection, additional scholarship and understanding of the theory and practice of Black liberation movement electoral politics from the Civil Rights/Black Power era to today. Additionally we interested in how this scholarship informs and impacts the evolving movements of today.
Historic lessons include but are not limited to SNCC, Freedom Summer, Lowndes County, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the Black Power Conferences, the Black Panther Party, Committee for Unified Newark/Congress of African People, the Gary Convention and National Black Political Assembly, the Black power era elections and urban governments, Black labor movements, the National Black Independence Party, the Black United Front, Nationalist, Marxists and Black radical involvement in electoral politics. We are also concerned with contemporary phenomenon including the election of Barack Obama, the emergence of Black Lives Matter, local movements in cities like Jackson, MS and Newark NJ which elected Chokwe Lumumba and Ras Baraka and St. Louis/Ferguson, Chicago and Cleveland where electoral strategies were an extension of community responses to state violence. LGBTQ, gender, generational and class issues as well as the political relationship with other communities of color and white communities are important areas of inquiry. The historic and current relationship and strategies related to the two dominant political parties, the 2016 presidential and congressional elections and independent parties will also be critical to this discussion.
Our objective is to engage scholars from the disciplines of Africana/Black Studies, History, Political Theory and Philosophy, Political Science and Social Movement Studies, History, Sociology, Geography, Feminist Studies, and Economics as well as activists and independent scholars. We also invite visual artists to submit relevant images for consideration.
Additional topics in this issue could include:
- Electoral politics in southern cities since the Voting Rights Act
- Electoral politics and the law, courts, prisons
- Black Power and the electoral process
- Shirley Chisholm’s presidential bid
- The Gary Convention and the National Black Agenda
- Jesse Jackson’s historic campaigns
- Resisting voter suppression
- The Obama Presidency
- Independent political parties
- Movement for Black Lives
- The Congressional Black Caucus
Electoral politics and Black liberation is unfolding in real time making this issue important to what is occurring in society today. In the tradition of The Black Scholar a platform is being provided for scholarly discourse with the potential to influence Black thought and political practice.
The timeline to edit and publish this special issue is considerably condensed and deadlines for abstracts and submissions are as follows:
Abstracts (750 word max) should be submitted to special guest editors (see below) by October 1, 2016 and full articles (5000 word max) must be uploaded directly to Editorial Manager by December 1, 2016. Publication of this issue is slated for Fall 2017.
When preparing manuscripts, please follow The Black Scholar Submission Guidelines. Because TBS strives for a public, Black/Africana Studies and interdisciplinary space of intellectual exchange, we discourage highly specialized or professional language and encourage open, argumentative work that is well written. Strive for an essayistic tone and target your submission to an engaged, informed, but general audience.
Michael Simanga firstname.lastname@example.org
Clarence Lusane email@example.com
Julianne Malveaux firstname.lastname@example.org