The Newberry Library American History Dissertation Seminar presents:
"A New Era in the Political Life of the Nation: William Dawson's Effort to Make African-Americans an Integral Part of the Democratic Coalition, 1944-1960"
Christopher Eugene Manning, Northwestern University
Wednesday, November 29, 2000, 3:30 - 5:00 P.M., Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton Street, Chicago
This essay is the second chapter of a dissertation examining the political career of William L. Dawson, a black congressman from the South Side of Chicago from 1942-1970 and arguably the nation's most powerful black electoral leader. While the dissertation itself examines Dawson's career towards understanding the development of modern black electoral politics, this chapter focuses on the courtship between blacks and the Democratic party in the postwar period. Contrary to existing scholarship, this essay argues that blacks were not wed to the Democratic party in the Depression era. Rather Dawson's career indicates that blacks and the Democrats were engaged in a tenuous relationship throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Until the party made up its mind as to whether it would promote civil rights or southern segregationist policies, black voters would not commit to the Democrats. More than any other individual Dawson worked to bring blacks into the party, while reminding the party, though not always successfully, of its obligations to black voters.
If you plan to attend, please request a copy of the seminar paper by sending an e-mail to Adam Stewart, firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling the Newberry Library at (312) 255-3524.
In addition, please indicate if you are interested in presenting a dissertation chapter, article, or dissertation proposal to future seminar meetings.
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