Black Party Affiliation

African Americans have played a significant role in both major political parties in the United States. After the Civil War, most African Americans identified as Republicans because the party was founded by abolitionists and was led by President Abraham Lincoln. In contrast, Southern Democrats were against granting rights to African Americans and didn’t allow them to officially attend the Democratic convention until 1924.


During the Great Depression in the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program helped disadvantaged communities, including some minorities, find work. As a result, 71% of African Americans voted for a Democratic president, although only 44% considered themselves members of the Democratic Party. In 1948, President Harry Truman, a Democrat, ordered the desegregation of the military and issued an executive order against racial discrimination in federal employment, which won over many African American voters. By this time, 56% of African Americans were Democrats.. cont below chart…


The civil rights legislation of the 1960s further cemented African American loyalty to the Democratic Party. President John F. Kennedy proposed, and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited public discrimination. Johnson’s Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater, opposed the act, leading to Johnson receiving a record 94% of the African American vote. Johnson also signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

From this point on, the majority of African Americans became Democrats. By 2016, only 8% identified as Republicans. While 88% of African Americans voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, only 70% considered themselves Democrats. Over the past four decades, African Americans have consistently voted for Democratic presidential candidates in large numbers. Since 1968, the highest percentage of African American votes received by a Republican candidate was 15% for Gerald Ford in 1976.

Source: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies New York Times

NOTE: Voting statistics are driven by polls and/or surveys which are conducted by several different news agencies and political organizations. This is why results of polls may differ depending on source used. 

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