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, including the Christian right.[1] Black conservatism emphasizes social conservatism, traditionalism, patriotism, capitalism, and free markets.

Influential Black conservatives in the early 21st century who held office include Senator Tim Scott, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Cabinet secretaries Ben Carson, Condoleezza Rice, and Colin Powell. Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, Armstrong Williams, Walter Williams and Candace Owens are among the most influential black conservative political commentators.[2]



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.[3] 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.[4]

Black conservatives typically oppose affirmative action and 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 that they believe have created poverty and dependency.[5]

Black conservatives—especially black Republicans—are often accused[by whom?] of being Uncle Toms.[citation needed] 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.[6]

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 free trade and tax cuts.[citation needed]

According to a 2004 study[by whom?], 14% of blacks identified as "Conservative" or "Extremely Conservative"with another 14% identifying as slightly conservative. However, the same study indicated that less than ten percent identified as Republican or Republican-leaning. [7][dead link][original research?] Likewise, a 2007 Pew Research Center survey showed that 19% of blacks identified as Religious Right.[8] In 2004, though, the Pew Research Center indicated only 7% of blacks identified as Republican.[9]

A National Election Pool poll showed that support for California Proposition 8 (2008) (a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as an opposite-sex union) was strong among African-American voters; 70% of those interviewed in the exit poll—a higher percentage than any other racial group—stated that they voted in favor of Proposition 8.[10] Polls by both the Associated Press and CNN mirrored this data, reporting support among black voters to be at 70%[11] and 75%,[12] respectively. African American support was considered crucial to the Proposition's passage because African Americans made up an unusually large percentage of voters in 2008; the presence of African American presidential candidate Barack Obama on the ballot was believed to have increased African American voter turnout.[13]

Historical basis[edit]

From Reconstruction up until the New Deal, the black population tended to vote Republican. During that period, 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[14] and continued with the election of John F. Kennedy. Among Truman Administration officials, the publication of Henry Lee Moon's Balance of Power spurred Democratic partisan support for African-American constituencies.[15] 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.[16] This can be considered an early example of a set of Republican Party methods that were later termed the Southern Strategy.[17][better source needed]

Timeline of events[edit]

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

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


African American Conservative politicians[edit]
























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. ^ Diamond, Sara (1996). Facing the Wrath: Confronting the Right in Dangerous Times. Common Courage Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-56751-078-2. Christian Right activists allied with black conservatives to make their causes appear more mainstream across racial and class lines. In this vein, the Family Research Council (the lobbying affiliate of Focus on the Family) recently named as vice-president Kay Cole James, a black anti-abortion activist.
  2. ^ "Lexington: The school of very hard knocks". The Economist. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  3. ^ Wright Rigueur, Leah (15 February 2015). "The Forgotten History of Black Republicans". The Daily Beast. New York City. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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 (2008). Social History of the United States [10 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 360. ISBN 978-1-59884-128-2.
  6. ^ "Lexington: The school of very hard knocks". The Economist. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  7. ^ "Quick Tables". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  8. ^ Pew Forum: Many Americans Uneasy with Mix of Religion and Politics Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Part 1: Party Affiliation: The 2004 Political Landscape Archived April 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "70% of African Americans backed Prop. 8, exit poll finds". 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  12. ^ "Local Exit Polls – Election Center 2008 – Elections & Politics from". Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  13. ^ Morain, Dan; Garrison, Jessica (2008-11-06). "Focused beyond marriage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2013-11-01.
  14. ^ "American President: Franklin Delano Roosevelt: The American Franchine". Archived from the original on 2010-11-27. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  15. ^ Gilmore, Glenda Elizabeth (2016). These United States: A Nation in the Making, 1890-Present (First ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co. p. 24. ISBN 9780393283075.
  16. ^ Dawson, Michael C. (1995). Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics. Princeton University Press. p. 102. ISBN 0691025436. herbert hoover fired black republicans.
  17. ^ "How the party of Lincoln won over the once democratic south". September 3, 2021.
  18. ^ "Meet Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll". Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  19. ^ "'Blessed and highly favored' Byron Donalds wins election for U.S. Congressional District 19, pledges water quality No. 1 priority".
  20. ^ Moseley, Brandon (2021-07-12). "Kenneth Paschal in HD73 special election on Tuesday". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  21. ^ "chastang". Mobile Bay Times. Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  22. ^ "Sharon Jackson For Alaska". Sharon Jackson For House (24). Retrieved 2022-07-25.
  23. ^ Seipel, Brooke (July 12, 2021). "Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder enters California recall election against Newsom". The Hill. Retrieved July 12, 2021.
  24. ^ "Peter Boulware". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-08-28.
  25. ^ "Former Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris Named as New Member of State Planning Commission". Chatham TapInto. February 27, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "'Ricochet' Goes Behind Scenes of Gun Lobby". National Public Radio. 2007-11-15. Retrieved 2007-11-15.
  27. ^ "Roy Innis re-elected to NRA Board", Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Fletcher, Michael A. (2006-08-17). "Lynn Swann, Happy to Be on the President's Team". Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  29. ^ "Judge Lynn Toler: Yes, I'm Republican". 24 September 2012.
  30. ^ "CNN TV - Anchors/Reporters:Amy Holmes". CNN International. Retrieved 2021-09-14.
  31. ^ , [[National Association [1][dead link]
  32. ^ "April 11, 2005". The Nation. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  33. ^ "Larry Elder – Conservative Columnist and Political Commentator 2003 Column Archive". Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  34. ^ "WVON 1690 AM – The Talk of Chicago | Weekday Line-up". Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-05-17.
  35. ^ Folkenflik, David (20 September 2016). "Trump Calls NBC News Anchor And Fellow GOP'er Lester Holt A Democrat". NPR.
  36. ^ Sotomayor, Tommy (6 August 2015). "How Democrats & White Liberals Are Destroying The Black American People!". Archived from the original on 2015-08-07 – via YouTube.
  37. ^ "Brigadier General Mary J. Kight". Archived from the original on 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  38. ^ "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.
  39. ^ Rothfeld, Michael (2010-02-01). "Mary J. Kight continues to be a trailblazer". Los Angeles Times.
  40. ^ General Russell Honore To Run Vs David Vitter In Louisiana US Race? Archived 2009-09-01 at the Wayback Machine
  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". The 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 Archived 2013-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. Capitol Tonight. Retrieved 2010-09-16.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]