Black conservatism in the United States

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Black conservatism in the United States is a political and social movement rooted in communities of African descent that aligns largely with the American conservative movement. Since the Civil Rights Movement, the black community generally has favored the left of the political spectrum, and predominantly has placed itself on the side of liberalism and civil rights progressives. Black conservatism emphasizes traditionalism, patriotism, capitalism, free markets, and sometimes social conservatism.


Booker T. Washington


One of the main characteristics of black conservatism is its emphasis on personal choice and responsibilities above socioeconomic status and institutional racism. In the tradition of African American politics and intellectual life, black conservatives tend to side with Booker T. Washington as contrasted with W. E. B. Du Bois.[1] For many black conservatives, the key mission is to bring repair and success to the Black community by applying the following fundamental principles:

  • The pursuit of educational and professional excellence as a means of advancement within the society;
  • Policies that promote safety and security in the community beyond the typical casting of a criminal as a "victim" of societal racism;
  • Not using the lens of race and the country's history of discrimination as justifications for not excelling to the best of your abilities;
  • Local economic development through free enterprise rather than looking to the federal government for assistance;
  • Empowerment of the individual via self-improvement (virtue), conscience, and supernatural grace.[2]

Black conservatives may find common ground with black nationalists through their common belief in black empowerment and the theory that black people have been duped by the welfare state.

On the other hand, some of the policies advocated by Black conservatives are in conflict with some of the key points in the common social, economic, and political positions that a high percentage of African-Americans favor. For example, black conservatives typically oppose affirmative action, which is supported by the vast majority of African American communities. They tend to argue that efforts to obtain reparations for slavery are either misguided or counter-productive. Black conservatives tend to be self-critical of aspects of African-American culture which has created poverty and dependency.[3] Moreover, black conservatives – especially black Republicans – are often accused of being Uncle Toms. Ebony in their May 2001 "100+ Most Influential Black Americans" issue, did not include a number of influential African Americans such as Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Armstrong Williams, Walter Williams and, most notably, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The Economist described the exclusion of Justice Thomas from the list as spiteful.[4] Black conservatives favor integration of African Americans into mainstream America and, consequently, disagree with black nationalism and separatism. Black conservatives are more inclined to support economic policies promoting globalization, free trade and tax cuts.

According to a 2004 study, 13.7% of blacks identified as "Conservative" or "Extremely Conservative"[5] with another 14.4% identifying as slightly conservative. However, the same study indicated less than ten percent identified as Republican or Republican leaning in any fashion. Likewise, a 2007 Pew Research Center survey showed that 19% of blacks identify as Religious Right.[6] In 2004, the Pew Research Center indicated only 7% of blacks identify as Republican.[7]

The National Election Pool poll showed that support for Proposition 8 was strong amongst African American voters, interviewed in the exit poll with 70% in favor, more than any other racial group.[8] Their support was considered crucial to the proposition's passing, since African Americans made up an unusually larger percentage of voters that year, due to the presence of Barack Obama on the ballot.[9] Polls by both the Associated Press and CNN mirrored this data, reporting support among black voters to be at 70%[10] and 75%,[11] respectively.

Historical basis[edit]

From Reconstruction up until the New Deal, the black population tended to vote Republican as the Republican Party, particularly in the Southern United States, was seen as more racially liberal than the Democratic Party, primarily because of the role of the southern wing of the Democratic Party as the party of racial segregation and the Republican Party's roots in the abolitionist movement (see Dixiecrats). Blacks started to shift in significant numbers to the Democrats with the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt,[12] whose New Deal particularly benefited economically disadvantaged minority communities and helped forge the New Deal coalition which dominated American politics for the next 30 years, and continued with the election of John F. Kennedy. This shift was also influenced by Herbert Hoover's practice of firing loyal African-Americans from positions within the Republican Party, in order to increase his appeal to Southern white voters.[13] This can be considered an early example of a set of Republican Party methods that were later termed the Southern Strategy.


Another case study of differences between Black conservatives and Black Republicans is an emphasis on personal empowerment versus theological perspectives. Black Republicans like Colin Powell hold to the social ideas articulated by the early Radical Republicans like Frederick Douglass while at the same time supporting the self-empowerment message of Booker T. Washington. Many social conservatives who are black and Republican hold to a biblically based empowerment although they also appreciate Booker's emphasis on personal accomplishment. Conservatives like the Texas minister T. D. Jakes are evangelical African Americans who support policies more in common but not totally in line with many white Evangelicals.

The African-American church has traditionally been an important element of social and political movements in the Black community. These generally have been identified with persons of the Left or liberalism, like Jesse Jackson, but this is not always true. On issues concerning homosexuality, Black Protestants are more socially conservative than other groups, excepting White Evangelicals.[14] Their view on the issue of homosexual teachers changed less than any other segment based on religion or race.

Timeline of events[edit]

Tim Scott
Condoleezza Rice
Colin Powell
Alphonso Jackson
Rod Paige
Clarence Thomas
Mia Love
Allen West
Herman Cain

This is a timeline of significant events in African American history which have shaped the conservative movement in the United States.



Ken Blackwell

In addition to the persons listed above under "Timeline of events," the following black conservative politicians have been prominent in the U.S. state under which they are listed:
















  • Aris T. Allen – Maryland State Delegate (1967–1974 & 1991), Lieutenant Governor nominee (1978) and State Senator (1979–1982)








New Hampshire[edit]

New Jersey[edit]

New Mexico[edit]

New York[edit]

North Carolina[edit]





South Carolina[edit]

South Dakota[edit]






West Virginia[edit]

  • Caleb Hanna – West Virginia State Delegate (2018-present)
  • Jill Upson – West Virginia State Delegate (2014–2018)


Other people[edit]

United States judges[edit]


TV personalities, authors and journalists[edit]



Athletes and entertainers[edit]

Education and business[edit]

Civil rights, abolitionists and activists[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wright Rigueur, Leah (15 February 2015). "The Forgotten History of Black Republicans". The Daily Beast. New York City. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  2. ^ For an overview of these themes, see Stan Faryna, Brad Stetson, and Joseph G. Conti, Eds., Black and Right: The Bold New Voice of Black Conservatives in America, (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1997)
  3. ^ Brian Greenberg; Linda S. Watts; Richard A. Greenwald; Gordon Reavley; Alice L. George; Scott Beekman; Cecelia Bucki; Mark Ciabattari; John C. Stoner; Troy D. Paino; Laurie Mercier; Andrew Hunt; Peter C. Holloran; Nancy Cohen (23 October 2008). Social History of the United States [10 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 360. ISBN 978-1-59884-128-2.
  4. ^ "Lexington: The school of very hard knocks". The Economist. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  5. ^ "Quick Tables". Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  6. ^ Pew Forum: Many Americans Uneasy with Mix of Religion and Politics Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Part 1: Party Affiliation: The 2004 Political Landscape Archived April 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Exit Poll Shows Blacks, Hispanics Overwhelmingly Backed Prop. 8". KTVU. November 5, 2008. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  9. ^ Morain, Dan; Garrison, Jessica (2008-11-06). "Focused beyond marriage". Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  10. ^ "70% of African Americans backed Prop. 8, exit poll finds -". 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  11. ^ "Local Exit Polls—Election Center 2008—Elections & Politics from". Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  12. ^ "American President: Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The American Franchine". Archived from the original on 2010-11-27. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  13. ^ Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics.
  14. ^ "Part 8: Religion in American Life: The 2004 Political Landscape". The Pew Research Center. Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved December 14, 2008.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-03-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-08-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "'Ricochet' Goes Behind Scenes of Gun Lobby". National Public Radio. 2007-11-15. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
  18. ^ "Roy Innis re-elected to NRA Board", Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Fletcher, Michael A. (2006-08-17). "Lynn Swann, Happy to Be on the President's Team". Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  20. ^ "Judge Lynn Toler: Yes, I'm Republican". 24 September 2012.
  21. ^ "ODJFS Online - SEARCH the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame".
  22. ^ [1][dead link]
  23. ^ "The Hill". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  24. ^ Flows, Capital. "Why Republicans Lose In Places We Should Win". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  25. ^ Flows, Capital. "Entrepreneurial Prison Program Is An Example Of True Reform". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  26. ^ "Houston's W Hotel shouldn't come at taxpayer expense [Opinion]". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  27. ^ "Charles Blain, Author at Empower Texans". Empower Texans. Retrieved 2018-05-11.
  28. ^ "April 11, 2005". The Nation. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  29. ^ "Larry Elder – Conservative Columnist and Political Commentator 2003 Column Archive". Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  30. ^ "WVON 1690 AM – The Talk of Chicago | Weekday Line-up". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  31. ^ "Trump Calls NBC News Anchor And Fellow GOP'er Lester Holt A Democrat".
  32. ^ White, Chelsea (July 18, 2013). 'I was a 29-year-old virgin': Sister Sister's Tamera Mowry reveals she has only ever slept with her husband Adam Housley. Mail Online. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  33. ^ Sotomayor, Tommy (6 August 2015). "How Democrats & White Liberals Are Destroying The Black American People!" – via YouTube.
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2012-12-23.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ 010210, This story was written by. "Governor Schwarzenegger Appoints Brigadier General Mary J. Kight Adjutant General of the California National Guard". Archived from the original on 2015-05-30. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  36. ^ Rothfeld, Michael (2010-02-01). "Mary J. Kight continues to be a trailblazer". Los Angeles Times.
  37. ^ General Russell Honore To Run Vs David Vitter In Louisiana US Race? Archived 2009-09-01 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ "For The Record: Quick News On 50 Cent, Kanye West, Irv Gotti, Beyonce, Zack De La Rocha, Alice In Chains & More – Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV. 2005-11-23. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  39. ^ Waldo, Patrick (2008-02-05). "50 Cent Endorses Hillary Clinton, Fears A Black President Will Be Shot". Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  40. ^ Washington, The (2008-10-17). "Q&A With Cowboy Troy". Washington Times. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  41. ^ Did you know Ernie Banks was a Republican? Archived 2015-02-02 at the Wayback Machine. American Spectator. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  42. ^ Pareles, Jon (December 25, 2006). "James Brown, the 'Godfather of Soul', Dies at 73". New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  43. ^ Hulse, Carl & Loughlin, Sean (December 20, 1999), "Graham, Clinton agree to agree", Lakeland Ledger, p. A14
  44. ^ "Minnesota Public Radio". Minnesota Public Radio. 2006-06-13. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  45. ^ Romaine, Jenna (2017-02-12). "Joy Villa Unveils Donald Trump 'Make America Great Again' Dress on the Grammy Red Carpet". Retrieved 2017-02-12.
  46. ^ "NEWSMEAT ▷ Karl Malone's Federal Campaign Contribution Report". Archived from the original on 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  47. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth (2010-09-16). NFLer: Carl's no racist. Capitol Tonight. Retrieved 2010-09-16.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]