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686 Rhetoric & Public Affairs material white flight he observed happening in our society three decades ago, Matthew Frye Jacobson exhibits a similar willingness to expose and critique the symbolic flight from whiteness that has become all too common in post-civil rights America. This is a book that is impressive in both depth and breadth, that draws from a diversity of sources to address in a thoughtful and honest manner what W. E. B. Du Bois defined as "the problem of the twentieth century." Invoking Du Bois, Jacobson offers a sanguine commentary on the problems and possibilities of interrogating and confronting the social and symbolic realities of racial identity, concluding that "it is my hope that in recognizing the historical fabrication, the changeability, and the contingencies of whiteness, we might begin to look in a new way upon race, the power relations it generates, and the social havoc it wreaks. Only then might we find our way to that political realm beyond racism that W. E. B. Du Bois significantly called transcaucasia" (280). Mark Lawrence McPhail University of Utah We Have No Leaders: African Americans in the Post-Civil Rights Era. By Robert C. Smith. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996; pp. ix + 396. $46.50 cloth; $16.95 paper. Dr. Robert Smith's We Have No Leaders offers an insightful yet disturbing look at the historic relationship between African Americans and the political system in the United States. Despite the many political gains made over the past four decades, Smith's analysis reveals that as a people, African Americans have not come as far politically or economically as hoped by the leadership of the civil rights movement of the 1950s-60s. In fact, Smith argues that in a number of ways, gains made by African Americans during the civil rights era have been greatly eroded, partly due to a void in leadership within the African American community. As he assesses the shortcomings of leadership within the African American community , Smith is direct and open about his political bias, stating that "I believe that blacks in America must engage in militant political action and rely on nationalist principles of self help, self reliance, and group solidarity" (xvii). He assesses current leadership efforts within the African American community from this perspective, and concludes that as a result of an over-reliance on the existing two party system, African Americans and their interests are becoming increasingly irrelevant and obsolete on the political scene. While not a book solely on the origins of political leadership within the African American community, Smith does a good job of providing a historical perspective of such leadership, particularly as it relates to the formative years of the NAACP, the civil rights movement under the leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the National Black Political Convention movement to name a few. Primarily, Smith's Book Reviews 687 analysis is concerned with the outcomes of political leadership within the African American community. Specifically he identifies three objectives for his research: to gain a better understanding of the systemic responses towards the civil rights movement as a protest movement, to chart the development of black politics in the time period following the civil rights movement, and ultimately to assess the outcomes of the dynamic between race and politics in American democracy (xv). To achieve these objectives the text is divided into five major parts, each dealing with a specific phase of African American political involvement. Part I is dedicated to the presentation of the theoretical framework which guides Smith's analysis of post-civil rights era leadership in the African American community and how it functions within the existing political system. Based on the work of Easton and Scoble, Smith presents a "process model" as a means for analyzing the relationship between emergent social movements and existing political structures. As it is the goal of all political systems to maintain stability, Smith focuses on how systems choose to deal with emergent movements which can threaten system stability and growth. Smith concludes that the civil rights movement of the 1950s-60s, led by Dr. King and others, while opening many doors through the vehicle of protest politics...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5238
Print ISSN
1094-8392
Pages
pp. 686-689
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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