This article provides a broad review of research around black political representation in Congress and state legislatures. We begin by exploring trends in black representation in legislative bodies from Reconstruction until 2018. We then discuss controversies around the creation of majority-minority districts and the advantages and disadvantages of these districts for African Americans. Our investigation considers the legislative and empowerment benefits that blacks gain from being represented by someone who looks like them. We conclude by discussing potential areas for future research around descriptive representation and assess how growing diversity in the 116th Congress may matter for the numerous challenges the black community faces.
Does Black Representation Matter?: A Review of Descriptive Representation for African Americans in Legislative Offices
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Christopher T. Stout, Katherine Tate, Meghan Wilson; Does Black Representation Matter?: A Review of Descriptive Representation for African Americans in Legislative Offices. National Review of Black Politics 1 January 2021; 2 (1): 2–21. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nrbp.2021.2.1.2
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