Date of Award
Day, Christine L.
Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), the number of African- Americans competing for and holding state legislative offices has increased significantly. Their growth is most notable in southern state legislatures. A growing number of studies have been devoted to African-Americans in these state legislatures. Absent from previous studies is a comprehensive analysis of African-Americans in the Louisiana state legislature. In 2007 there were a total of 32 African-American legislators. Louisiana ranks among other states with the highest number, 32, and percentage, 22, of African-American legislators. Yet, despite their relatively large presence few scholarly studies have examined their legislative behavior. This study focused primarily on the substantive representation of African-Americans, especially during the post-Hurricane Katrina period. In this dissertation, the following questions were examined: Have the growing number of these legislators resulted in greater influence in state policy-making? Have they chaired any important, policy-relevant committees in the state legislature? Have they articulated and advocated a race-based legislative agenda for African-American constituents? Using a multi-methodological approach including the analysis of voting rights legislation introduced in the post-Hurricane Katrina legislative sessions and qualitative interviews, evidence was found to conclude that African-American House members have provided substantive representation to their constituents, obtained key institutional leadership positions, and campaigned in biracial terms, which has contributed to there ability to have a notable impact in the chamber.
Hoston, William T., "African-American Legislators Post-Katrina: Race, Representation, and Voting Rights Issues in the Louisiana House" (2007). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1083.