Part One: A Question of Perception.
"We must pursue a strategy that prohibits one party from taking us for granted and another party from writing us
Jesse Jackson, when addressing the Republican National Committee in 1978, said this about the black vote in America, but has
consistently proven himself to be the main violator of their spirit in the modern era. To him they were mere words. To others,
though, the singular truth they express still stands -- and has even begun to take shape.
1996 marks the end of the beginning of the rise of a conservative movement within the black community. A few years ago such
a phrase would have drawn nothing but chuckles, but now the movement is visible enough to be noticed by the politicos and
media outlets that are paying attention to such things. In a few years black conservatism will be a force to be dealt with by both
More and more individuals are stepping forward, more and more organizations are being formed, more and more voices are
being heard from blacks whose positions on issues match more closely with Ronald Reagan than Jesse Jackson. At the time
these choices are to go against the grain -- these people are saying things not in tune with many leaders in their community. And
they say them not to stand out, but to lead. Not to move against, but to move ahead.
Indeed, when former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Colin Powell finally announced he would not enter the political race in
1996 he took the opportunity of the limelight to announce that he was, that day, registering as a Republican. In his stances he
was an exception that proved a new rule.
Powell, after all, is moderate where many studies show the majority of blacks to be quite conservative. Powell said he was
pro-choice, but blacks tend to be more pro-life than whites according to research. Powell called himself a "progressiveaE...