Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Can the G.O.P. Ever Attract Black Voters?

By JELANI COBB, NYT, AUG. 11, 2014

STORRS, Conn. — ON the morning of March 6, 1989, students began to gather at a flagpole on the campus of Howard University. Then they entered the administration building, chained doors shut, locked arms and announced that they would not leave until key demands were met. A dozen or so stragglers — I was one of them — climbed in through a second-story window to join the protest. By nightfall, more than 2,000 students occupied the building.

We had learned that Lee Atwater, the Republican National Committee chairman and the manager of George Bush’s presidential campaign — which had made use of race-baiting ads featuring Willie Horton, a black convicted rapist and murderer, to scare white people into voting Republican — had been appointed to the school’s board of trustees.

Inside the building, Ras Baraka, who is now the mayor of Newark but was then a third-year political science major, grabbed a bullhorn and shouted, “The problem isn’t Lee Atwater, it’s Lee Atwaterism!” After three days of protests, Mr. Atwater resigned from the board.

(More here.)

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