Book Review by Kam Williams
Political Leaders Past and Present
by Gil L. Robertson, IV
Foreword by Myrlie Evers-Williams
Just Us Books
“The first African-American political leaders began to serve following the Civil War…Known as Reconstruction, this period represented a window of opportunity for African-Americans…
Many [Black] political leaders emerged during this period, using their political power and influence to push for equality and justice for all Americans… Unfortunately, the Reconstruction period was short-lived, lasting only from 1865-1877.
States in the South… passed laws that essentially took away the citizenship rights of African-Americans… These legislative measures were called Jim Crow laws.
It would take nearly 100 years and … the Civil Rights Movement before African-Americans would again be guaranteed the right to vote and hold elected office… A new generation of Black political leaders is active today.
[This book] will acquaint readers with leaders of the past and will introduce new ones… Through their stories, I hope others, especially young people, will be inspired to become leaders in their own right.”
— Excerpted from the Introduction (pages ix-x)
Despite the historic election of Barack Obama as the first African-
American president, the American Dream still eludes the majority of blacks. Meanwhile, plenty of TV pundits point to Obama as proof that the U.S. has arrived at a post-racial reality where skin color is irrelevant.
However, since millions of blacks continue to suffer from a host of woes associated with the inner city, they remain in critical need of political leadership.
That is the contention of Gil Robertson, author of Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present. His timely tome is composed of biographies of about four-dozen African-American icons who have served in the political arena over the past century and a half.
The enlightening opus’ aim is not only to educate but to inspire the next generation of selfless torchbearers.
Many of the luminaries profiled are household names, such as President Obama, Representatives John Lewis and Maxine Waters, and Senator Cory Booker. Others members of Congress are rising stars in their respective parties, ranging from Democrats Kamala Harris and Keith Ellison, to Republicans Tim Scott and Mia Love.
Along the way, we learn that Ellison converted from Catholicism to Islam while in college, and that Harris is of Jamaican and East Indian extraction. Some of the most fascinating entries are about little-known leaders from the Reconstruction Era, like Pinckney Pinchback who served as Governor of Louisiana for 15 days, and Hiram Revels who was elected to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate in 1870.
Overall, a priceless primer on the intrepid, political pioneers who have spearheaded the African-American fight for equality.
To order a copy of Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past and Present, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1933491213/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20