Black, Earl 1942-
BLACK, Earl 1942-
PERSONAL: Born February 1, 1942, in Madill, OK; son of Penny Earl and Dorothy (Owen) Black; married Sena Hoosenally, August 30, 1970; children: Stacey. Education: University of Texas, B.A., 1964; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1968.
ADDRESSES: Home—4902 Fern St., Bellaire, TX 77401-5018. Office—Department of Political Science, Rice University, P.O. Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251-1892. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: University of South Florida, Tampa, assistant professor, 1968-73, associate professor of political science, 1973-74; University of South Carolina, Columbia, associate professor, 1975-79, professor, 1979-86, Olin D. Johnston professor of political science, 1986-93, and chair of Department of Government and International Studies; Rice University, Houston, TX, Herbert S. Autrey professor of political science, 1993—.
MEMBER: American Political Science Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Ralph Bunche Award and V. O. Key Award, both 1988, both for Politics and Society in the South.
Southern Governors and Civil Rights: Racial Desegregation As a Campaign Issue in the Second Reconstruction, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1976.
(With brother, Merle Black) Politics and Society in the South, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1987.
(With Merle Black) The Vital South: How Presidents Are Elected, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1992.
(With Merle Black) The Rise of Southern Republicans, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2002.
Contributor to political science and social science journals.
SIDELIGHTS: Earl Black is professor of political science at Rice University; his brother, Merle Black, is professor of government and politics at Emory University. Together the brothers have produced a series of books covering a particular aspect of U.S. politics. One such volume, The Vital South: How Presidents Are Elected, gained a wide critical reception. The work was praised by Dianne Pinderhughes in the Journal of Interdisciplinary History as "an unusually lucid and accessible examination of the role of the South in party politics, national issues, and presidential elections." Playing off the line "the South shall rise again," American Political Science Review contributor Charles Bullock III noted that in the Blacks' view, "the South has indeed risen. The region has enjoyed unprecedented economic growth accompanied by population increases sufficient to make the South the nation's most heavily populated region." A byproduct of this growth, according to the authors, is that the South now plays a central role in the nomination of presidential candidates.
The South was not always such a political powerhouse. For decades following the U.S. Civil War, "the South was so out of step with the nation that its preferences were rarely elected," as Bullock noted. Subsequent generations of more "mainstream" Southern choices further diluted the South's electoral power. Once dismissed as the "Bubba vote," in the words of Washington Monthly contributor Jon Meacham, the South in more recent years has seized control of 54 percent of the winning electoral majority. The eleven states comprising the South vote in large Republican blocks. "The Blacks' most important point here is that Bubba—a white voter with patriotic sympathies and a distrust of Washington—is everywhere, and the Democrats had better pay attention to him," Meacham added. Pinderhughes acknowledged the Bubba vote, but also felt that the authors "do not consider the political dynamics among the black population to the extent that they do the white."
The rising influence of the South in politics was clear to presidential candidates by the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan's "call for lower taxes and reduced government spending appealed to Southern whites while alienating African Americans," as Library Journal reviewer Karl Helicher maintained. In The Rise of Southern Republicans, the Blacks examine how Southern politics evolved from the predominately Democratic territory it was during the Depression-era 1930s. Democrats continued to exert their influence in the South through the 1970s. The authors "illuminate the economic, racial and political dynamics that gradually moved the South toward the Republican Party," explained Kevin Sack in a New York Times Book Review piece, "while also warning that the Republicans do not by any means own the region in the way the Democrats once did."
Ralph Reed, assessing The Rise of Southern Republicans in National Review, said that the book is "a marvelous chronicle of this remarkable shift." The Blacks, he continued, "are perhaps the most respected academic experts on the topic; they make a persuasive case that the emergence of the Republican party in the South is the primary reason for the modern Republican ascendancy at the national level, and also for the existence today of the most competitive national political environment since the 1880s."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, June 1988, Gail O'Brien, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 790.
American Political Science Review, September, 1990, James Guth, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 985; March, 1993, Charles Bullock III, review of The Vital South: How Presidents Are Elected, p. 206.
American Spectator, July, 1992, review of The Vital South, p. 58.
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, May, 1988, Fred Siegel, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 195; May, 1993, Eugene Schneider, review of The Vital South, p. 190.
Choice, December, 1992, L. L. Duke, review of The Vital South, p. 697.
Christian Science Monitor, August 7, 1992, Everett Carl Ladd, review of The Vital South, p. 10.
Chronicle of Higher Education, October 14, 1992, review of The Vital South, p. A8.
Contemporary Sociology, January, 1998, Perry Howard, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 51.
History, spring, 1993, review of The Vital South, p. 105.
Houston Chronicle, July 21, 2002, James Fairbanks, "The GOP in Dixie," p. 49.
Journal of American History, March, 1988, David Goldfield, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 1385; March, 1993, Bruce Schulman, review of The Vital South, p. 1688.
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, autumn, 1994, Dianne Pinderhughes, review of The Vital South, p. 354.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, summer, 1993, James Glaser, review of The Vital South, p. 619.
Journal of Politics, November, 1988, Alexander Lamis, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 1109.
Journal of Southern History, May, 1988, Numan Bartley review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 365; August, 1993, Robert McMath, Jr., review of The Vital South, p. 589.
Library Journal, March 15, 1992, review of The Vital South, p. 104; February 15, 2002, Karl Helicher, review of The Rise of Southern Republicans, p. 164.
National Review, July 15, 2002, Ralph Reed, "Southern Comfort," p. 49.
New York Review of Books, June 11, 1987, C. Vann Woodward, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 7.
New York Times Book Review, April 21, 2002, Kevin Sack, "Carpetbaggers' Children," p. 49.
Nieman Reports, summer, 1992, Roy Reed, review of The Vital South, p. 65.
Perspectives on Political Science, fall, 1993, review of The Vital South, p. 168.
Political Science Quarterly, spring, 1988, Alexander Heard, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 180; summer, 1992, Frank Sorauf, review of The Vital South, p. 349.
Progressive, August, 1992, Matthew Rothschild, review of The Vital South, p. 38.
Publishers Weekly, April 1, 2002, review of The Rise of Southern Republicans, p. 68.
Reason, October, 1992, John Hood, review of The Vital South, p. 58.
Review of Politics, spring, 1993, M. Margaret Conway, review of The Vital South, p. 373.
Social Forces, March, 1989, Dwight Billings, review of Politics and Society in the South, p. 811.
Social Science Quarterly, March, 1993, Marcy Stuckey, review of The Vital South, p. 226.
Washington Monthly, June, 1992, Jon Meacham, review of The Vital South, p. 58.
Washington Post Book World, March 8, 1992, review of The Vital South, p. 3.*
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