Cover image for Encyclopedia of African-American politics
Encyclopedia of African-American politics
Smith, Robert C. (Robert Charles), 1947-
Publication Information:
New York : Facts On File, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 418 pages : illustrations, map ; 29 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E185 .S58155 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
E185 .S58155 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Black History Non-Circ
E185 .S58155 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



An A-to-Z volume examining the role of African Americans in the political process from the days of the American revolution to the present. Focusing on political ideas, laws, ideologies, institutions and political processes, the book covers all facets of African Americans in American government.

Author Notes

Robert C. Smith is currently a professor of political science at San Francisco State University.

Reviews 4

Choice Review

Smith (San Francisco State Univ.) describes important people and events associated with the African American political experience. He includes biographical entries about African American politicians and activists, political movements and events, and Supreme Court decisions shaping the African American experience. Entries for white politicians (since US politics is driven by whites), including Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, illustrate their role in developing laws that affect African Americans. Terms are defined to show their relation to the African American political experience (e.g., "litigation," "media," "quotas"). Smith does not ignore the role of women in the black political experience; he includes several entries on politically active women. The brief section "Documentary Sources in African American Politics" annotates eight key book-length resources. Entries are well written and easy to understand. Libraries should also consider Encyclopedia of Minorities in American Politics, ed. by Jeffrey D. Schultz et al. (CH, Jun'00), whose first volume covers African Americans. Schultz's book highlights court cases, biographical sketches, and terminology; includes a chronology of important political events (which would have improved Smith's work); and supplies a bibliography at the end of every entry. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General and undergraduate collections. C. L. Young Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

Booklist Review

Politics has always been a prime component of the history of African Americans in the U.S. Seeking to clarify the issues in African American politics, this volume will be useful for students as a handy source of information as well as a starting point for further research. The 462 entries cover events, people, laws, government policies, court cases, and concepts, such as Affirmative action; Chisholm, Shirley; Civil Rights Act of 1964; Culture of poverty; Globalization; Kwanza; Lynching; Plessy v. Ferguson; and Slavery in Western thought. Occasional black-and-white illustrations enhance understanding of the topics discussed. Most entries are one or two pages, with the longest (Affirmative action) being seven pages. Each entry concludes with a list of resources for further reading. The book also includes eight "Documentary Sources in the Study of African-American Politics," an 11-page bibliography, and a detailed index. Though there is considerable overlap with other reference tools on African Americans, this volume's emphasis on the purely political aspects of topics such as the abolitionist and civil rights movements and historically black colleges and universities, as well as the dynamic between African Americans and concepts such as capitalism and leadership, make it unique. For public and academic libraries that need materials with this perspective, it will be a welcome addition to the reference collection. -- RBB Copyright 2003 Booklist

Library Journal Review

This attractive, coffee table book-like presentation of more than 400 entries on African American politics ranges from basic concepts, institutions, and processes to broad impacts on U.S. political development and history. Employing an A-to-Z format, Smith (political science, San Francisco State Univ.) starts with the abolitionist movement and ends with Whitney Young, the Urban League executive director from 1961 to 1971, who died in a drowning accident. In relatively clear, jargon-free writing, Smith's entries offer factual, philosophical, and historical background on familiar and unfamiliar political dimensions and phenomena that have figured in blacks' subordination, resistance, and success in forming and using bases of power to get their political will done. A choice reference tool for school libraries and others serving students, this may disappoint advanced researchers, who will find too many entries lacking directions to sources or readings, although such feeling may be at least partly assuaged by the general bibliography and notes on documentary sources. A distinctive work with no close competitors, this is recommended for public and academic libraries.-Thomas J. Davis, Arizona State Univ., Tempe (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-This title focuses on more than 450 events, people, organizations, and policies that have affected the political history of African Americans from the Revolutionary War to the present day. The major theme is one of relationships between African Americans and whites and how gaining, maintaining, and using power determines political effectiveness. Alphabetically arranged essays cover the principles guiding the structure of the U.S. Constitution and their impact on African Americans; on African-American political thought, leadership, ideologies, organizations, and movements; and on important political personalities and events. The clearly written essays vary in length from two paragraphs to three pages; cross-references and suggestions for further reading are included for most entries. The topics covered are listed alphabetically in the front of the book. Seventy-five average-quality, black-and-white photographs and reproductions, an extensive index, and a lengthy bibliography are included. More comprehensive information appears in Jack Salzman's five-volume Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (Macmillan, 1995). Smith's volume can be used in conjunction with The African American Almanac (Gale, 2003).-Ann Joslin, Erie County Public Library, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



For many years, African Americans were excluded from participation as voters and as candidates in the American political system. With the Civil Rights movement and the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, African-American political participation has increased substantially. Now students, researchers, journalists, and policymakers can turn to the Encyclopedia of African-American Politics for a wealth of objective, accessible information concerning the events, people, organizations, and policies that have figured in the political history of African Americans. This A-to-Z volume examines the role of African Americans in the political process from the early days of the American Revolution to the present. Focusing on basic political ideas, court cases, laws, concepts, ideologies, institutions, and political processes, this book covers all facets of African Americans in American government. Written by a nationally renowned scholar in the field, the Encyclopedia of African-American Politics will enlighten readers to the struggles and triumphs of African Americans in the American political system. Entries include: Abolitionist Movement Black Cabinet Black Panther Party Civil Rights Act of 1964 Emancipation Proclamation Forty Acres and a Mule Freedmen's Bureau Institutional racism Integrationism Lynching Malcolm X Million Man March National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Nation of Islam Pan Africanism Plessy v. Ferguson Religiosity and the Church Reparations White supremacism. Excerpted from Encyclopedia of African American Politics by Robert C. Smith All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

List of Entriesp. v
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Entries A to Zp. 1
Documentary Sources in the Study of African-American Politicsp. 395
Bibliographyp. 397
Indexp. 409