The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power


Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publish Date
August 02, 2016
6.14 X 9.21 X 0.96 inches | 1.45 pounds

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About the Author

Leah Wright Rigueur is assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


"[B]lack Republicans are perceived to be the token black person in a group of Republicans, and the token Republican in a group of black people. This sense of isolation has shaped the black Republican experience for decades. Their plight is chronicled exceptionally well in The Loneliness of the Black Republican by Harvard Kennedy School professor Leah Wright Rigueur. Her thorough examination traces the winding journey of black Republicans from the inception of the New Deal to the election of Ronald Reagan."---Theodore R. Johnson, The Atlantic
"The Loneliness of the Black Republican is meticulous, well-crafted, and consistently astute about the fractious recent history of the Grand Old Party."---Artur Davis, Weekly Standard
"Leah Wright Rigueur's book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican, provides an intellectual and thought-provoking voice to this intriguing debate. . . . [H]er well-researched work is evenhanded--and, at times, sympathetic. In many ways, it's the most significant book ever written about the collapse of black support in the Republican party."---Michael Taube, Washington Times
"This book adds much needed depth to the understanding of the diversity of black politics during these years (1930s to 1980)."--Choice
"Meticulously researched . . . . Rigueur . . . gives us one of the first attempts at understanding who black Republicans were, the values they held, and how they engaged in party politics."---James Wolfinger, Journal of American History
"Rigueur provides a powerful addition to wider scholarship on black political behavior."---Corey D. Fields, Political Science Quarterly
"There is much to be admired in Leah Wright Rigueur's groundbreaking work and her bravery in tackling a topic that has been dismissed as insignificant by historians for decades."---Joshua Farrington, H-Net Reviews
"African American Republicans! An absurd contradiction in terms? Not so, as historian Leah Wright Rigueur tells us in her riveting, splendidly well-researched, and illuminating book. She finds many black conservatives and explains how and why they became such political contrarians."--Donald T. Critchlow, Arizona State University
"While this book offers the definitive history of African Americans in the twentieth-century Republican Party, it also tells so much more. It provides a fresh and fascinating account of activists who frequently failed to influence their own party's trajectory, but helped chart out the broader path of black neoliberalism, which continues to have a profound impact in the Obama era."--Paul Frymer, Princeton University
"No previous book has analyzed the role of African Americans in the Republican Party in such a thematically and chronologically diverse manner, and it challenges us to rethink the party's history. Developing a distinctive and interesting argument, this book is important not only for historians, but for Americans generally."--Robert Mason, University of Edinburgh
"Wright Rigueur has produced an extraordinary political and social history of the experiences of African Americans in the modern Republican Party and her book is the first to take seriously the role black elites played in the party's internecine politics. With impressive archival research and rich accounts, this book makes a major contribution to history, African American studies, and political science."--Alvin B. Tillery, Jr., Northwestern University
"James P. Hanlan Book Award, New England Historical Association"
"Winner of the 2017 Crader Family Book Prize in American Values, Crader Family Endowment at Southeast Missouri State University"