Devolution and Black State Legislators

Challenges and Choices in the Twenty-first Century

By Tyson King-Meadows & Thomas F. Schaller

Subjects: State And Local Politics
Series: SUNY series in African American Studies
Paperback : 9780791467305, 302 pages, June 2007
Hardcover : 9780791467299, 302 pages, July 2006

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
1. The State Link in the Chain

2. Race and Representation in State Legislatures

3. The Black Electoral Connection

4. When Identity and Constituency Collide at Roll Call

5. The Institutionalization of Black State Legislative Power
6. Black Legislators, Black Constituents, and the Devolution Revolution
7. Nationalizing Black State Interests
8. Devolutionary Dangers
Appendix A: Underlying Data for Figures 3. 2a and 3. 2b
Appendix B: Trends in AFDC/TANF Recipient Characteristics
Appendix C: Methods for Reexamining Sticks and Carrots

Comprehensive study of the state of black state legislative politics.


Devolution and Black State Legislators examines whether black state legislators can produce qualitative gains in the substantive representation of black interests. Once a battle cry by southern conservatives, "new federalism" has shifted power from Washington to the respective state governments and, ironically, has done so as black state legislators grow in number. Tyson King-Meadows and Thomas F. Schaller look at the debates surrounding black political incorporation, the tradeoffs between substantive and descriptive representation, racial redistricting, and the impact of black legislators on state budgetary politics. They situate contemporary constraints on black state elites as the union of macro- and micro-level forces, which allows for a reconsideration of how the idiosyncrasies of political, economic, and geographic culture converge with the internal dynamics of state legislative processes to produce particular environments. Interviews with black legislators provide valuable insights into how such idiosyncrasies may deprive institutional advancement—committee assignments, chairmanships, and party leadership positions—of the influence it once afforded.

Tyson King-Meadows is Assistant Professor and Thomas F. Schaller is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.