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Herman Cain and the Rise of the Black Right

Abstract

There have always been Black conservatives. Some of the most prominent Black political figures in this country's history from Booker T. Washington to Condoleezza Rice may be termed conservatives. However, these conservatives were not elected officials. They served in either unofficial roles or were appointed. The rise of conservative Black politicians with an electoral base such as Herman Cain and Allen West is a new phenomenon. At least in theory, such Black conservatives might find a base in the Black community among three constituencies-the Black church, the military, and African and West Indian immigrants. This article explores the likelihood of a mass base among Blacks for the rise of a Black Right. It contrasts the varieties of Black conservatism and gives special attention to the religious views of Herman Cain and Clarence Thomas contrasting them with the prophetic tradition in Black religion of such figures as Martin Luther King and Jeremiah Wright. Ultimately, the extreme individualism and absence of the notion of a linked racial fate distinguish them from the vast majority of Blacks. © The Author(s) 2013.

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