Tuesday, January 30, 2007

black presidents (part four)

More on black presidents... to be honest I've been a little too busy to get all eloquent about the subject so this might seem more like a link dump. But ver since I started this series I was actually surprised by how many different models of leadership were out there... the Badass, the Bootlick, the Civil Rights activist, the Idealist, the Independent and the Insider. In the future I might pick this subject again (for example I've recently been catching up on old seasons of 24 and have been thinking a lot about how race and religion are portrayed on the series, including David Palmer's presidency) but for now this last post is something of a survey and a wrap-up

First some general comments:
GBN: The First Black President? by Ron Mwangaguhunga
NPR: Black Presidents Elected Regularly on TV, in Movies

One of the most extreme presidential candidates I want to consider is Eldridge Cleaver. He was an admitted rapist, former Black Panther, car thief who ran for president on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket in spite of the fact that he was too young to qualify at the time. When he ran for President it was more about giving a symbolic defiant middle finger to the Man than anything else. Eventually Cleaver would become a Reagan Republican, Mormon and crack-head. He is definitely someone who has gone through some changes in his life.

See also ChickenBones: An Eldridge Cleaver Bio-Chronology

At the other extreme you have someone like Alan Keyes; a Regan Republican who seems to have run for president as a symbolic "Yassah, Mr. Boss." to the Man than anything else.

Then you have a number of past candidates who have been associated with the mainstream civil rights establishment like Al Sharpton , Shirley Chisholm and Jesse Jackson.

But of course nowadays, much of the media's attention is being placed on Barack Hussein Obama. A lot of the excitement about Obama's possible candidacy dates back to The Audacity of Hope Barack Obama's Address at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

other reflections and thoughts on Obama's candidacy:
The Times Online:Obama's charm lost on America's black activists looks at some of the wrinkles between Obama in the civil right's establishment.
NPR: Obama, or a History of Black Presidents of the U.S.

One of the more interesting characters in this subject area is Dr. Lenora Fulani. Fulani ran for President in 1988 as the candidate of the New Alliance Party. She received 0.2% of the vote, or almost a quarter of a million votes, and was the first African American independent on the ballot in all 50 states. She's been one of the strongest voices in favor of Black political independence (from the two-party system) and has been willing to work with everyone from Al Sharpton to Pat Buchanan.

If you want to get a taste of her perspective on the last presidential race check out
Black Electorate: "The Real Al Sharpton" by Dr. Lenora Fulani.

And you can get more of an overview of her organizing activities at:

Finally, in the musical world we have:
South African singer Brenda Fassie's rather prophetic song "Black President" about Nelson Mandela (several years before Mandela became South Africa's first President elected in free and open elections. (I wish I could find the actual song in a downloadable form. I have the single on tape and it is actually really good song).

And of course in hip-hop we have:
Dead Prez's Website
Original Hip-Hop Lyrics Archive: Dead Prez
Wikipedia: Dead Prez

Grenada's past:
if al gore was president aka black presidents (part three)
black presidents (part two)
black presidents (part one)


Hood said...

Funny for some reason I remember eldridge cleaver dieing as a Shaker or a Quaker. I got this impression from notes on the back cover to Soul of fire.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

Maybe it is because he was in the Peace and Freedom party?!?