Associate professor in American Studies Roger House wrote an opinion piece in The Hill about why former President Jimmy Carter deserved his vote, and from other Black Americans.
House writes how Carter came to prominence as a candidate for governor in Georgia, and that Carter took steps to advance racial democracy in Georgia by opposing election laws devised to undercut the Black vote. Carter increased the number of Black executives appointed to state agencies. He also supported affirmative action policies to hire Black workers for government jobs. House adds that while those practices seem token to today’s standards, in the 1970s in Georgia, those initiatives were regarded as far-reaching, and earned him a following in the national Black community.
Carter envisioned a racially diverse coalition of rural white evangelical Christians, business leaders, moderate urban whites, and enfranchised Black voters in Georgia. He displayed an early appreciation for the emerging role of Black citizens in American politics. His vision of racial democracy in the South belied his upbringing in the culture of white supremacy; the state’s history bridged slavery, expulsion of Indian nations, Confederate rebellion, Jim Crow politics, and violent resistance to civil rights.
Read House’s opinion piece in The Hill.