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African Americans in Global Affairs

Contemporary Perspectives

Michael L. Clemons

Publication Year: 2010

The repression historically faced by African Americans has had an important effect on the nature of the group's participation in foreign affairs. This book offers a much-needed and long-overdue survey of the field, setting the stage for further exploration and analysis.

Chapters discuss the Congressional Black Caucus and TransAfrica Forum; African American political organizations and Africa; Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice; the evaporation of strong black voices in events such as those in Rwanda and Darfur; and self-critical Pan Africanism. A prologue by Michael L. Clemons and introductory chapter by Ronald W. Walters provide new ways to conceptualize these international perspectives, while Clemons's epilogue speculates on the opportunities and challenges offered by the presidency of Barack Obama.

Published by: Northeastern University Press

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. ix-x

Th is book reflects my ongoing struggle to understand the nature and meaning of African American participation in global affairs. Th is work raises at least as many questions as it addresses. Th e chapters herein point to the growing dimensions and increasing complexity...

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pp. xi-xv

Th is volume crystallizes the notion that African Americans have long been cognizant of the racial, cultural, ideological, and political nexus of domestic and international politics. It shows that black participation in foreign aff airs and foreign policy has achieved mixed results with a ray of optimism. Presented herein is a unique...

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1: Racial Justice in Foreign Affairs

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pp. 1-30

This book is an ambitious undertaking in updating and reconceptualizing so much of African American interests in international politics and foreign policy, but it initially begs at least two essential questions: what is the character of black interest in foreign affairs, and why does it matter? The manner in which blacks came into U.S. citizenship,...

Part I: African American Foreign Affairs Participation: Nature and Dynamics

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2: Conceptualizing the Foreign Affairs Participation of African Americans: Strategies and Effects of the Congressional Black Caucus and TransAfrica

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pp. 33-64

Th e general exclusion of African Americans from the formal arena of foreign policymaking has historically been a prominent reflection of the significance of race in global politics. It was not until the end of World War II that government officials and those in pursuit of elected office finally took seriously the implications of the domestic...

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3: From Anticolonialism to Anti-Apartheid: African American Political Organizations and African Liberation, 1957–93

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pp. 65-89

African Americans have always had an interest in Africa. Th is awareness can be traced back to the arrival of the first slave ships in the New World in the early seventeenth century. Considering the migratory conditions of this culturally and geographically displaced population, it is no surprise that this group would feel some attraction...

Part II: Rise to Institutional Global Power Positions

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4: Congress and Africa’s Constituency: Th e Development of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and the Intersection of African American and Business Interests

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pp. 93-117

Africa’s prominence as a key region in U.S. foreign policy continues. In February 2008 President George W. Bush made a trip to Africa to highlight his administration’s commitment. In March 2006, the Bush administration announced the first regional military command...

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5: The Making of African American Foreign Policymakers: Senate Confirmation Hearings on Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice

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pp. 118-143

The African American experience in the New World was born before both colonial America and the United States of America, but as a product of foreign and international affairs.1 African Americans began as part of the slave trade and long before they could speak in their own behalf. Nevertheless, their protest against and resistance...

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6: Colin L. Powell and the Iraq War: Bureaucratic Actor and Foreign Policy Dissenter

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pp. 144-168

Although race, ethnicity, and culture have been substantial motivating forces in the arena of U.S. foreign policymaking, only recently have African Americans penetrated the upper echelon of the foreign policy establishment. The harsh reality of African American exclusion from institutional participation is a reflection of the...

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7: Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright: The Changing Face of High-Profile U.S. Foreign Policy Leadership

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pp. 169-191

Women have long been on the sidelines of institutional decisionmaking in the United States, and only recently have they as a group begun to break ground, or as some might say, to shatter the proverbial “glass ceiling.” The social exclusion and deprivation of women parallels that experienced by African Americans who suffered...

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8: The Rise and Fall of Black Influence on U.S. Foreign Policy

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pp. 192-221

As I write, U.S. foreign policy is being constructed and implemented by its second consecutive black American secretary of state. While Condoleezza Rice is known for her extraordinary access to President George Bush, her predecessor, Colin Powell, was a widely respected military leader. Although both have linked their racial experiences...

Part III: Transnational Activism and Globalization

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9: The Looming Quest for Global Reparations: African Americans and the World Conference against Racism

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pp. 225-248

Ever since the first African was ripped from the shores of the continent, the global aspirations of people of African descent have been characterized by two perennial themes: returning to a pre-holocaust state and unification of all Africans who underwent a similar fate. At...

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10: The Emergence of a Legislative Caucus of Afro-Descendant Legislators in the Americas: Context, Progress, and Agenda Setting

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pp. 249-282

This chapter provides an update and contextual setting for the organization of Afro-descendant legislators. The group had its organizational meeting in 2003 with the major goal of bringing together all elected legislators of African descent in the Americas and the Caribbean. Its target membership therefore is those representatives...

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11: African Americans, Transnational Contention, and Cross-National Politics in the United States and Venezuela

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pp. 283-312

On September 1, 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Rev. Jesse Jackson, the founder and president of the Rainbow/push Coalition, held a press conference at the Baton Rouge command center. Accompanying Jackson were Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco and...

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12: The Assault of the Monkey King on the Hosts of Heaven: The Black Freedom Struggle and China—The New Center of Revolution

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pp. 313-344

In the Fall of 1949 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established the People’s Republic of China (PRC), an act that challenged U.S. visionary globalism and shifted the Cold War to East Asian terrain.3 The CCP’s model of revolution blended communism and radical nationalism, a standpoint that presented a stark contrast to the bipolar...

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Epilogue: Toward Foreign Policy Justice in the Post-Bush Era

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pp. 345-363

This volume has confronted a variety of contemporary issues dealing with the nature, quality, and consequences of African American participation in foreign policymaking and foreign affairs. At this critical juncture in U.S. and world history, the unanticipated election of Barack Obama to the office of president of the United States presents...

About the Contributors

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pp. 365-368


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pp. 369-385

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781555537319
E-ISBN-10: 1555537316
Print-ISBN-13: 9781555537197

Page Count: 408
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Politics and government.
  • African American politicians.
  • African American legislators.
  • Political participation.
  • World politics
  • International relations.
  • United States -- Politics and government.
  • United States -- Foreign relations.
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