Last summer, the killings of two unarmed African American men - Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri - by white police officers reignited the national conversation about racial inequality in the United States. In both cases, grand juries declined to indict the officers involved. The rulings provoked a wave of protest marches, rallies, and road blockades across the country, as demonstrators of all skin colors proclaimed to the nation and to the world that “black lives matter.”
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The historical significance of Barack Obama's triumph in the presidential election of 2008 scarcely requires comment. Yet it contains an irony: He won a victory as an African American only by denying that he was the candidate of African Americans. Obama's very success, writes Fredrick Harris, exacted a heavy cost on black politics.
In The Price of the Ticket, Harris puts Obama's career in the context of decades of black activism, showing how his election undermined the very movement that made it possible.
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