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Bill Clinton and Black America

Dewayne Wickham

10 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0345450329 / ISBN 13: 9780345450326
Published by One World/Ballantine, 2002
Used Condition: Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Bill Clinton and Black America

Publisher: One World/Ballantine

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Good

Edition: 1st - may be Reissue.

About this title

Synopsis:

While white Americans were evenly divided about Bill Clinton’s impeachment ninety percent of African-Americans opposed it. Now from a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists comes a groundbreaking new book that explores the deep and unique connection between the former president and the black community–in the words of journalists, celebrities, academics, and other thoughtful Americans.

Going well beyond mere TV punditry, luminaries such as Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Bill Gray, Kweisi Mfume, and Alice Randall, as well as ordinary citizens, offer insight into why African-Americans for the first time saw themselves in the soul of a president–Whether it was the large African-American presence in his administration, his perceived legal persecutions, his personal style, or his lasting yet tumultuous marriage–and why that kinship has sweeping cultural implications. Bill Clinton’s actions, associations, and essence are all analyzed in light of their effect on and appeal to this crucial constituency.

Much-awaited and long overdue, Bill Clinton and Black America features fascinating, provocative interpretations of the special relationship between the black people and this extraordinary man who, when his presidency ended, moved his office from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue–White America’s most famous address–to Harlem’s 125th Street–the heart of Black America.

Review:

It's fitting that after he left the White House, Bill Clinton moved his office to 125th Street in Harlem--the most famous black district in the country--for African Americans have consistently been the most supportive segment of his constituency. Even during his impeachment and other difficult times, blacks stood with him; on better days, Clinton's approval rating among black Americans was often higher than that of Jesse Jackson. In Bill Clinton and Black America, USA Today reporter DeWayne Wickham conducts a series of interviews with African American politicians, pundits, journalists, activists, entertainers, and educators to explore Clinton's "special bond with blacks" as both governor and president. As these interviews make clear, their love and support goes well beyond mere allegiance to the Democratic Party; in many ways the African American community sees Clinton as one of them. Several of those interviewed even refer to him as the "black president" because he was so receptive to their needs and because he worked to include them in the political process more than any other president.

Reasons cited here for Clinton's popularity among blacks include his poor Southern upbringing and underdog status, the fact that he appointed more blacks to his cabinet and other federal posts than any other president, and good timing (he came into office after three consecutive Republican administrations). But perhaps the biggest factor discussed is the genuine ease with which Clinton relates to black Americans. Blacks trust him to consider their perspective and do not view him as just another white politician who appears only during election years. This is not to say that Clinton always did their bidding; he often disappointed them. But they also shared common enemies and a common outlook that brought them together. He may not be their president any longer, but a majority of blacks still see him as a friend--and now, a neighbor. --Shawn Carkonen

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