Searching for the Promised Land: An African American's Optimistic Odyssey

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9780060391560: Searching for the Promised Land: An African American's Optimistic Odyssey

An analysis of black politics in contemporary America, Congress's first African-American conservative examines the flaws of the predominantly liberal Congressional Black Caucus and the NAACP. $35,000 ad/promo. Tour.

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A memoir by Gary Franks, the Connecticut Republican who in 1990 became Congress' first black conservative. Through sheer grit his poor family sent six children to college -- Franks graduated from Yale University and is the least educated -- and ingrained him with an ideology of self-reliance, evident in his political convictions. After a quick rise through corporate America, he turned to local politics and was chosen by a 90 percent white district for his blue collar roots and his tenacity. Here, Franks discusses his disapproval of racial gerrymandering and his opposition to the Million Man March, and outlines his limited support for affirmative action. His policies ring of individual responsibility, entrepreneurship, hard work and the competition that once epitomized Republicanism.

From the Publisher:

In 1990, Gary Franks became America's first black Republican to serve in Congress in sixty years. Now, in Searching for the Promised Land: An African American's Optimistic Odyssey, Congressman Franks gives us his singular outlook on such controversial topics as welfare reform, the Nation of Islam and race relations in the United States. As an outspoken black conservative, he has endured the wrath of traditional liberals, including Jesse Jackson, who staged a march and sit-in outside Franks' offices in 1995. From his childhood in working-class Waterbury, Connecticut, to his well-publicized clashes with the ultraliberal Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, DC, Congressman Franks chronicles the experiences that have defined his principles and shaped his politics.

The son of a former North Carolina sharecropper with a sixth-grade education, Franks graduated from Yale and -- defying all predictions -- won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. There, he has worked tirelessly to restore America's inner cities and encourage its struggling businesses by harnessing the power of private industry. A dedicated leader who is concerned for all Americans, he outlines rational alternatives to the current welfare system that has left entire families dependent on the government -- a system he feels is as crippling and controlling as slavery itself.

In 1993, Franks was blacklisted by his fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus when they changed the caucus' rules specifically to exclude him from weekly meetings. Franks courageously stood up to the small-minded intolerance the caucus showed him and fought to reinstate himself. This intolerance of differing opinions, Franks argues, has stifled black leadership and is hindering the progress of African Americans. He alone opposed the caucus' alliance with the Nation of Islam and defended Clarence Thomas' nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Throughout this memoir, Congressman Franks speaks eloquently and passionately about the social issues and debates confronting us all.

At a time when race baiting and mistrust too often define race relations in the United States, Congressman Franks calls for a renewal of the moral legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. Like Dr. King, Gary Franks is working toward the "Promised Land" -- the day when America truly becomes a color-blind society.

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Franks, Gary
ISBN 10: 0060391561 ISBN 13: 9780060391560
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Published by Harpercollins (1996)
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