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The Obama PhenomenonToward a Multiracial Democracy$
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Charles P. Henry, Robert L. Allen, and Robert Chrisman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036453

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036453.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Legacy of the Obama Era

The Legacy of the Obama Era

A New Electoral Majority?

(p.311) Epilogue The Legacy of the Obama Era
The Obama Phenomenon

Robert L. Allen

University of Illinois Press

This chapter argues that African Americans, despite being critical to Obama's election, will not get specific attention to issues of discrimination and equity unless they unite in a social movement that compels the president and Congress to take up these issues. Whether Obama is avoiding “race” issues from a desire not to alienate white voters or he is motivated by commitment to a “colorblind” approach to policy, African Americans will get the president's attention only to the extent that there is an independent social movement that can bring political pressure to bear. The chapter goes on to discuss three occasions in U.S. history that stand out as historical moments when African Americans, independently organized and mobilized and with militant, progressive leadership, made successful interventions with U.S. presidents that resulted in major civil rights gains, and sometimes economic and political gains: Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation; Franklin Roosevelt and Executive Order 8802; and the Kennedy–Johnson administration and civil rights legislation.

Keywords:   Barack Obama, discrimination, equality, African Americans, race, social movement, Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation, Franklin Roosevelt, Executive Order 8802

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