Contours of African American Politics chronicles the systematic study of African American politics and its subsequent recognition as an established field of scholarly inquiry. African American politics emanates from the demands of the prolonged struggle for black liberation and empowerment. Hence, the study of African American politics has sought to track, codify, and analyze the struggle that has been mounted, and to understand the historic and changing political status of African Americans within American society.
The notion of a post-racial America is one that was birthed by the election of Barack Obama as the first African American president of the United States. However, another reality is equally compelling: that for some time now, many African American aspirants for elective office have run against race-specific issues, putting individual desires to win office above the conventionally defined collective interests of black folk.
Clearly, the Obama presidential election crystallized a complexity of change that had been underway in America prior to his election. Indeed, did the Obama election signal the end of black politics? Does race remain a useful construct for framing the collective interests of African Americans? Volume III of Contours of African American Politics examines all of these questions in an effort to understand the more poignant question of the future of that which we have known as black politics.