Forgotten Republicans: African Americans and the Party of Lincoln, 1948-1972

by Joshua Farrington

Jan 1, 2011
I was awarded a Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) grant-in-aid for my researcher dissertation. Despite the popular narrative that African Americans have voted solidly Democratic since the rise of the New Deal, I argue that the Republican Party remained a viable option for African American voters through the 1960s. Moreover, even after the Goldwater debacle of 1964, where over ninety percent of the African American vote went to Lyndon Johnson, many black Republicans became even more vocal in trying to reshape the image of their party. Rather than being statistical anomalies or naive supporters of a mythologized "Party of Lincoln" that does not warrant significant historical inquiry, African American Republicans throughout the 1950s and 1960s were pragmatists, and despite their partisan affiliation, were by-and-large within the mainstream of African American political thought.
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