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Clay, William L.

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ISBN 10: 1567430007 / ISBN 13: 9781567430004
Published by Amistad Press, 1992
Condition: As New Hardcover
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Clay, William L. JUST PERMANENT INTERESTS: BLACK AMERICANS IN CONGRESS, 1870-1991. NY: Amistad Press, c1992. First printing. 412pp, b/w photos, appendix, index, 8vo, Signed by the author, As new hardbound in d/w,. Bookseller Inventory # 45821

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Bibliographic Details


Publisher: Amistad Press

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:As New

Dust Jacket Condition: As New

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


William L. Clay, one of the most important players in Congress, offers a candid, up-to-date history of black elected officials in the U.S. Congress.
As the senior member of the Missouri Congressional delegation and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, William L. Clay shares thirty-four years of experiences and insight into the political process and the roles that black elected officials have played in the process, from the post-Civil War era up to now. From the election of Senator Hiram R. Revels in 1870 to the election of Congresswoman Maxine Waters in 1991, Congressman Clay dispels the myths and misinformation about black politicians. He recounts their struggles, victories and losses, and sets the record straight about the enormous contributions they have made, which benefit not only other blacks, but Americans of all ethnicities.
Congressman Clay shows how "the business of effective government is neither fun nor games for elected officials. It is not easy work, short hours, and unending cocktail parties. It is a rough, tough business" and given pervasive unemployment, excessive numbers of women heading households without support, high rates of crime and teen-age pregnancies, and all the other tragic conditions that are part of the black community, citizens - activists and aspiring politicians alike - need to know how the system really works and can work to empower as well as suppress black people. Just Permanent Interests delivers a wealth of information on and analysis of American politics useful to students, professionals, and voters in general.
Congressman Clay documents black involvement in politics during the Reconstruction era, then brings the reader through the turmoil of the Civil Rights Movement. He reveals the racial dynamics of congressional politics and the events that led to the founding of the Congressional Black Caucus. He describes the relationship of the Caucus to Democratic and Republican administrations of the last two decades as well as the relationships between members of the Caucus - "the single most effective political entity we [black Americans] have had." He exposes the beauty marks and warts of the Black Caucus and provides a timely examination of how the current political policies of both the Democratic and Republican parties affect African-Americans.
The only chronicle of its kind-written by a political insider - Congressman Clay's account gives clarity and meaning to the official motto of the Congressional Black Caucus: Black people have/ No permanent friends,/ No permanent enemies,/ Just permanent interests.

From Library Journal:

Clay, a 12-term member of the House of Representatives, has written a partly historical, partly sociological, partly political study of the role of African Americans in Congress. From Reconstruction to the dramatic increase in their numbers in the 1980s, he traces the lives and political travails of black members of Congress. While professional historians and political scientists may find his book lacking in analytical rigor, it provides some valuable insights and interesting anecdotes. It is especially revealing of the development of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and its subsequent planning and tactics. Clay's treatment of the early years (1870-1940) tends to be sketchy; however, he more than compensates for this in the contemporary period. Also, his treatment of these congressmen is not completely objective, as his views of Adam Clayton Powell and Robert N.C. Nix demonstrate. Overall, this is an important book, one that makes readers realize the importance of traditional grassroots electoral politics to improve the political power of African Americans as opposed to the rhetoric and symbolism of street protests.
- Thomas Baldiono, Wilkes Univ., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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