“The 1964 election was a watershed moment in black politics.”
In the SNL piece, a Jim Fowler–type zoologist braves the “savage” landscape of a tony Manhattan cocktail party in search of an elusive subject: the Negro Republican. Tracking the “migratory patterns” of African Americans “fleeing the liberal lake wastelands” for the “fertile promised land of the GOP,” the scientist stumbles badly—a hilarious case of mistaken identity—when he assumes that a black funeral parlor director must be a member of the GOP.
Undeterred, he spots another black man nearby—a thorough examination of speech patterns, clothing, musical tastes, and economic interests confirms that the subject is indeed the evasive Negro Republican. With great care, the zoologist sedates the “exotic creature,” attaching a blinking transmitter disguised as an American flag pin to the man’s lapel. As the disoriented man awakens, the scientist quickly hides, emerging to take notes on his subject from afar once the Negro Republican has wandered back into the “wild.”
The Loneliness of the Black Republican is meticulous, well-crafted, and consistently astute about the fractious recent history of the Grand Old Party.”–Artur Davis, Weekly Standard
“Black Republicans are perceived to be the token black person in a group of Republicans, and the token Republican in a group of black people. This sense of isolation has shaped the black Republican experience for decades. Their plight is chronicled exceptionally well in The Loneliness of the Black Republican by Harvard Kennedy School professor Leah Wright Rigueur. Her thorough examination traces the winding journey of black Republicans from the inception of the New Deal to the election of Ronald Reagan.”–Theodore R. Johnson, The Atlantic
“Leah Wright Rigueur’s book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican, provides an intellectual and thought-provoking voice to this intriguing debate. . . . Her well-researched work is evenhanded–and, at times, sympathetic. In many ways, it’s the most significant book ever written about the collapse of black support in the Republican party.” ~ Michael Taube, Washington Times
“Meticulously researched . . . . Rigueur . . . gives us one of the first attempts at understanding who black Republicans were, the values they held, and how they engaged in party politics.” James Wolfinger, Journal of American History