Synopses & Reviews
In this incisive book Carol Swain explores what strategies are most likely to lead to greater representation of black political interests. She studies the constituency relations and roll-call voting of black members of Congress from a variety of districts--historically black, newly black, heterogeneous, and primarily white--and of white members from districts with either a black majority or a significant black minority. She challenges the proposition that only African Americans can represent black interests effectively, and argues that blacks must form coalitions with white representatives to serve black needs. Swain has updated this edition with a new chapter entitled "Black Congressional Representation since 1992."
Black Faces, Black Interests is an interesting and timely examination of African-American representation in the United States Congress...This is a significant book that boldly broaches issues that have seriously divided the black community. Not only does it draw our attention to an overlooked topic in political science (the representational styles of African-American members of Congress), it also challenges the orthodox view that black political interests can best be represented by the creation of heavily packed, racial gerrymandered districts likely, if not certain, to elect minority MCs. Swain rejects this conclusion, arguing forcefully and optimistically not only that black interests can be represented well by white legislators, but also that black politicians can be elected from and serve well majority white districts. American Politics Review
Swain's commendable book raises fundamental questions...This is impressive work. Lee A. Daniels
[Swain's] book offers a critical counterpoint to the traditional arguments of voting rights advocates. Washington Post Book World
An important analysis in an area of growing scholarly debate and political controversy. Political Science Quarterly
About the Author
Carol M. Swain is Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.