Detroit May Send No Blacks to Congress for First Time Since 1955 [View all]
By Chris Christoff - 2012-06-14T04:01:00Z
Detroitís population loss may leave Michigan without a black representative in Congress for the first time since 1955, a shift that would punctuate the erosion of African-American power in a region with a history of racial friction.
New boundaries pushed Detroitís two congressional districts deeper into the suburbs because the city of 713,000 lost one- quarter of its population since 2000. As a result, U.S. representatives John Conyers Jr. and Hansen Clarke may be ousted by white Democratic challengers in districts where blacks are a smaller majority than before.
ďItís a more than 50 percent likelihood it will happen,Ē said Eric Foster, 40, a political consultant in Troy, Michigan, whose clients are mostly Democrats. He said many black voters who moved from Detroit to suburbs care more about economic issues than about keeping blacks in office.
A city that in 1973 elected Coleman Young as its first black mayor amid simmering anger after a devastating 1967 race riot -- and that has had black mayors ever since -- is losing its place as Michiganís center of African-American influence, Foster said.