Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Two Black Men Named Powell Who Crossed Party Lines On Presidential Endorsements

Former General and Secretary of State Colin Powell (above), a Republican, has endorsed Barack Obama for President.

General Powell is not the first well-known black man named Powell to cross party lines with a Presidential endorsement.

In 1956 Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., a Democrat, endorsed President Dwight Eisenhower over Democratic challenger Adlai Stevenson. (The first link in the sentence is to a good essay on the A.C. Powell endorsement. It provides a sense of Mr. Powell and some context for his endorsement of Eisenhower.)

This is the Texas Liberal Election Fact of the Day.

A strong book about Adam Clayton Powell (below) is Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.: The Political Biography of an American Dilemma by Charles V. Hamilton.

Governor Stevenson, despite a reputation as a so-called liberal, had a poor record on Civil Rights. Mr. Stevenson had the support of many in the Dixiecrat wing of the Democratic Party, and often seemed more concerned with that support instead of making progress on issues of racial justice.

A good book about the silence on questions of Civil Rights by many leading political and literary figures of the mid-20th century, is Divided Minds by Indiana University professor Carol Polsgrove.

Adam Clayton Powell is a figure worth study. He was a strong advocate for Civil Rights and a greatly flawed figure at the same time. He had both legislative success and an inability to keep himself out of trouble. Few people could be both so right and so wrong at one time.

Mr. Powell served in Congress 1945-1971. Seemingly past his day, he was defeated in the 1970 Democratic primary by Charles Rangel. Mr. Rangel still serves in Congress and has had some problems of his own in recent months.

October 19, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Election Fact Of The Day, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What Identity Can Barack Obama Choose That Will Be Both Sincere And Successful?

What identity could Barack Obama choose that would be both sincere and successful?

Not long ago, people were asking if Mr. Obama was “Black enough.” Somehow maybe even Bill Clinton was more Black than Senator Obama.

Once Senator Obama established his color, he then had to figure out how to present himself as a candidate who is also a Black man in a nation with a rough racial history.

He’s not a self-styled centrist like former U.S. Representative Harold Ford of Tennessee.

He’s not a careerist in a safe district like Representative Charles Rangel of New York.

He’s not an old-style activist like Jesse Jackson.     

So who and what will Senator Obama be?

He is, like all of us, a work in progress.

My hope is that Senator Obama continues up a curve of personal maturity as he comes to fully understand how important his campaign is to the nation, and to people who never thought they’d see someone like Barack Obama running for President.    

Some heat and gravity where Senator Obama is currently cool and light might help.

Still, Senator Obama is doing well so far. He is the favorite to win the Democratic nomination and leads John McCain in polls. 

Senator Obama is at this point successfully navigating uncharted waters.

   

May 5, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , , , | 5 Comments