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The Great Migration and the Democratic PartyThe Great Migration and the Democratic Party

Black Voters and the Realignment of American Politics in the 20th Century

Keneshia N. Grant

W.E. B. DuBois Book Awardee, National Conference of Black Political Scientists, 2021

Narrated by Janice Acevedo

Available from Audible

Book published by Temple University Press

Examining the political impact of Black migration on politics in three northern cities from 1915 to 1965

Where Black people live has long been an important determinant of their ability to participate in political processes. The Great Migration significantly changed the way Democratic Party elites interacted with Black communities in northern cities, Detroit, New York, and Chicago. Many white Democratic politicians came to believe the growing pool of Black voters could help them reach their electoral goals—and these politicians often changed their campaign strategies and positions to secure Black support. Furthermore, Black migrants were able to participate in politics because there were fewer barriers to Black political participation outside the South.

The Great Migration and the Democratic Party frames the Great Migration as an important economic and social event that also had serious political consequences. Keneshia Grant created one of the first listings of Black elected officials that classifies them based on their status as participants in the Great Migration. She also describes some of the policy/political concerns of the migrants.

The Great Migration and the Democratic Party lays the groundwork for ways of thinking about the contemporary impact of Black migration on American politics.


“Keneshia Grant has authored a valuable contribution to the already rich body of scholarship on the Great Migration.... Grant’s claim that Black elected official(s) brought their constituents’ concerns to legislatures, urban machines, and the Democratic Party itself is persuasive.... (A)n informative book, which should be of value to both urbanists and African Americanists.”

Journal of Urban Affairs

“Grant’s book makes a compelling point and is easily readable. Especially interesting is her discussion around the African American balance of power in these places…. Scholarly and popular readers alike will welcome this study to better understand not only the partisan realignment of the twentieth century but the current state of Black urban and even national politics today.”

Journal of African American History

“A) useful and informative resource for a widely diverse audience. Above all, it reads like a novel.... Readers of The Great Migration and the Democratic Party will gain new insights about the evolution of the Democratic Party and thereby a greater understanding of why the party operates as it does today. Members of both major political parties who read this book will understand why and how political parties recruit, retain, and support African American voters. Finally, this groundbreaking book will spark debates about several important minority, urban, and partisan political issues."”

Perspectives on Politics

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University Press Audiobooks