Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has picked William “Mo” Cowan, his former chief of staff, to serve as the state’s interim US senator until a successor to John F. Kerry is chosen by the voters in a June 25 special election. For the first time ever, the Senate will include more than one black member at the time: Mr. Cowan of Massachusetts and South Carolina’s Tim Scott.
The only time multiple Blacks served was during the Reconstruction era, which produced multiple black senators but they served a few years apart. The first two elected black senators were Hiram Rodes Revels and Blanche Kelso Bruce. Respectively, both of Mississippi were elected during the reconstruction period. Revels a minister in the AME church and Bruce though born a slave had received a formal education and later attended the Oberlin College. This means voters elected only three of the eight black senators, President Obama being one.
I love the fact that history is being made, but does it bother you that only neither black senator were not elected to their offices? I mean it deserves an asterix at least right. Although, Black members of Congress wield great personal and committee power, little of it generates gains for their predominately-Black districts. Is it because they adhere to racist institutional polices to keep their place in the power structure and get endorsements which results in their re-elections. NAACP President Benjamin Jealous stated on Tuesday that Black people are worse off under Obama. “The country’s back to pretty much where it was when this president started,” said Jealous on MSNBC. “White people in this country are doing a bit better. Black people are doing far worse.” Yet we have more CBC members than ever, additionally our Black first family occupies the White House while the lowest net worth of Black America persists. Shouldn’t there be some benefit to Black Americans for their support in electing people of color to these posts?
The challenge of diversifying the Senate begins at the local and state level. Senate candidates tend to be individuals who have previously served in a statewide-elected office, or members of the House of Representatives who represent politically diverse districts or have high name recognition, or individuals who have become well known in another way. Sounds like the pathway developing here in Nevada in the form of now Congressman Horsford. I am confident that having two black senators will be completely unremarkable one day; instead, I hope that new circumstances will come to Blacks regardless of who is in Washington.