Going Home: Black Representatives and Their Constituents

Thirty years ago there were nine African Americans in the US House of Representatives. Today there are four times that number. In Going Home , the dean of congressional studies, Richard F. Fenno, explores what representation has meant -and means today - to black voters and to the politicians they have elected to office. Fenno follows the career of four black representatives - Louis Stokes, Barbara Jordan, Chaka Fattah and Stephanie Tubbs Jones - from their home districts to the halls of the Capitol. He finds that while these politicians had different visions of how they should represent their districts (in part based on their individual preferences, and in part based on the history of black politics in America), they shared crucial organizational and symbolic connections to their constituents. These connections, which draw on a sense of linked fates are ones that only black representatives can provide to black constituents. Fenno's detailed portraits and incisive analysis should be important for anyone interested in the workings of Congress or in black politics.