The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark, and Post-Racial America

The New Black Politician: Cory Booker, Newark, and Post-Racial America

by Andra Gillespie


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At the beginning of the 21st-century, a vanguard of young, affluent black leadership has emerged, often clashing with older generations of black leadership for power. The 2002 Newark mayoral race, which featured a contentious battle between the young black challenger Cory Booker and the more established black incumbent Sharpe James, was one of a series of contests in which young, well-educated, moderate black politicians challenged civil rights veterans for power. In The New Black Politician, Andra Gillespie uses Newark as a case study to explain the breakdown of racial unity in black politics, describing how black political entrepreneurs build the political alliances that allow them to be more diversely established with the electorate.

Based on rich ethnographic data from six years of intense and ongoing research, Gillespie shows that while both poor and affluent blacks pay lip service to racial cohesion and to continuing the goals of the Civil Rights Movement, the reality is that both groups harbor different visions of how to achieve those goals and what those goals will look like once achieved. This, she argues, leads to class conflict and a very public breakdown in black political unity, providing further evidence of the futility of identifying a single cadre of leadership for black communities. Full of provocative interviews with many of the key players in Newark, including Cory Booker himself, this book provides an on the ground understanding of contemporary Black and mayoral politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814732458
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 09/01/2013
Pages: 324
Sales rank: 1,182,158
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Andra Gillespie is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Emory University.

Table of Contents

Part I: The Clash of Two Black Americas
? Black Political Entrepreneurship, Twenty-First-Century Style:
The theory of Elite Displacement
? Prelude: The Rise of Cory Booker
? Losing: The 2002 Mayoral Election
? Winning: h e 2006 Election
Part II: It’s Not Easy Being Elite: Governing Challenges in
Post-Racial Black America
? Policy Is Politics
? Perception Is Reality: Judging Cory Booker
? The Politics of Perception: Cory Booker in Local and State Affairs
? 2010: Electoral Politics Revisited
? Uncle Julius’s Cabin: Black Political Entrepreneurs and the
Future of Black Politics
Appendix A: Methodological Notes
Appendix B: List of Interviewees
Index 305
About the Author

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From the Publisher

While centered on Booker's political life (his 1998 election to the Newark Municipal Council, when he defeated incumbent George Branch; his defeat in his 2002 run against Mayor Sharpe James, who held the office for 20 years (1986-2006); his successful campaign in 2006; his re-election in 2010), Gillespie fleshes out her account through reviews of relevant contemporary political theory and scores of interviews with largely political figures whose opinions about Booker are quite varied. The illustrations of campaign posters enliven and enrich the text."-Publishers Weekly,

"The New Black Politician will be of interest to all who ponder [Cory] Booker's political future in New Jersey."-Kathleen Daley,Star-Ledger Entertainment Desk

"Anybody with an acute interest in the future of black politics in "postracial" America should absolutely read this book."-Nick Peruffo,The Trentorian

"The underlying study on which Andra Gillespie hangs this portrait of Booker is the phenomenon she labels the 'entrepreneurial black politician' who attempts to move out the old guard — the black officeholders who forged victories based on the fruits of the civil rights movement."-Newark Star Ledger,

"Gillespie has performed the difficult task of objectively evaluating her personal acquaintances in a way that adds to the understanding of urban politics in general."-CHOICE

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