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The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama

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The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

INTRODUCTION

I learned how to cover race riots by telephone. They didn't pay me enough at my first newspaper job to venture onto the grounds of South Boston High School when bricks were being thrown. Instead, I would telephone the headmaster and ask him to relay to me the number of broken chairs in the cafeteria each day. A white colleague dispatched to the scene would fill in the details for me.

I've spent 30 years in journalism since then chronicling stories like that – places where truth and consequences collide, rub up against each other, and shift history's course. None of that prepared me for 2008 and the astonishing rise of Barack Obama.

It is true that he accomplished what no black man had before, but it went farther than that. Simply as an exercise in efficient politics, Obama '08 rewrote the textbook. His accomplishment was historic and one that transformed how race and politics intersect in our society. Obama is the leading edge of this change, but his success is merely the ripple in a pond that grows deeper every day.

When people do something that they've never done before, I think that makes it easier to do it a second time, David Axelrod, the Obama campaign's chief strategist, told me just days after Obama won. So when people vote for an African American candidate, I think itmakes it easier for the next African American candidate.

The next African American candidates – and a fair share of those already in office, subscribe to a formula driven as much by demographics as destiny. When population shifts – brought about by fair housing laws, affirmative action and landmark school desegregation rulings – political power is challenged as well. It happened in Boston, New York, Chicago and every other big city reshaped by an influx of European immigration. It is happening again now in Miami and Los Angeles, in suburban Virginia and in rural North Carolina, where the political calculus is being reshaped by Latino immigrants. With African Americans, freighted with the legacy of slavery and the pushback from whites who refuse to feel guilty for the sins of their ancestors, the shift has been more scattered and sporadic – yet no less profound.

Boston was awash in the sort racial drama that foreshadows dramatic change when I began my journalism career at the Boston Herald American in 1977.

While I was attending Simmons College, the Federal courts demanded that the city's very political school committee fix the city's racially unbalanced education system.

The solution, imposed by U.S. District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity in 1974, seemed pretty straightforward. Send white children to black neighborhoods and black children to white neighborhoods. It came to be known as forced busing.

The idea was to impose balance where it no longer existed. The optimistic reasoning was that the resources — teachers, textbooks, shared experience — would follow. But history now shows us busing – moving 20,000 students to and fro in search of quality education was, in fact, a far more radical notion than originally envisioned. It struck at the heart of neighborhood and racial identity in cities all over the nation, most memorably so in Irish South Boston and black Roxbury.

White residents of insular neighborhoods railed – sometimes violently – against the incursion into their neighborhood schools. Black residents

Synopsis:

In a survey of American politics, a veteran journalist assesses the impact of Barack Obama's history-making presidential campaign, especially on the political power of African Americans, and profiles rising African-American politicians, including Newark mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. 60,000 first printing.

Synopsis:

GWEN IFILL is moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Before coming to PBS, she was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, and had been a reporter for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and Boston Herald American. She lives in Washington, D.C.

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. BREAKING THROUGH

2 . THE GENERATIONAL DIVIDE

3 . BARACK OBAMA

4. THE RACE-GENDER CLASH

5 . ARTUR DAVIS

6 . LEGACY POLITICS

7 . CORY BOOKER

8. THE POLITICS OF IDENTITY

9. DEVAL PATRICK

10. THE NEXT WAVE

CONCLUSION

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385529204
Subtitle:
Politics and Race in the Age of Obama
Publisher:
Doubleday
Creator:
Gwen Ifill
Author:
Gwen Ifill
Author:
Gwen Ifill
Subject:
History : United States - 20th Century
Subject:
History : United States - 21st Century
Subject:
Political Process - General
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Subject:
Presidents
Subject:
History
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
Presidents - United States - Election - 2008
Subject:
Political
Subject:
African American Studies-General
Subject:
Audio Books-Politics
Subject:
Ethnic Studies-Racism and Ethnic Conflict
Subject:
Politics - General
Subject:
Politics-United States Politics
Subject:
US History - 20th Century
Subject:
NEWARRIVAL-HIST/SOC
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20090120
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
277

Related Subjects

Biography » Political
Biography » Presidents and Heads of State
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » Racism and Ethnic Conflict
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » 20th Century » General
History and Social Science » World History » General

The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama
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Product details 277 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780385529204 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In a survey of American politics, a veteran journalist assesses the impact of Barack Obama's history-making presidential campaign, especially on the political power of African Americans, and profiles rising African-American politicians, including Newark mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. 60,000 first printing.
"Synopsis" by , GWEN IFILL is moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Before coming to PBS, she was chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, and had been a reporter for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and Boston Herald American. She lives in Washington, D.C.
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