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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Woes of governor, Rangel mark end of Harlem 4 era

We close out Black History Month with a political history story from Harlem, NYC.

You know I didn't mark Black History Month this time, but then it seems I don't do enough Black History stuff during the month. But there are always things worth nothing not just during February. Let's not forget that everyday we can look at Black History. Why wait until February?

Anyway this article from the AP posted at the blog Black Politics on the Web, takes a look at influential politicians that reside in that famed New York City neighborhood:
They ran the city, represented Malcolm X and were black pioneers who put Harlem on the political map. The “Gang of Four” were kingmakers who built Harlem’s political dynasty into an empire. But with high-profile body blows this week to one member and the son of another, the group’s legacy is in disarray.

It seems unlikely that Gov. David Paterson could have become the state’s first black governor without the groundwork laid by the group - and the connections that came with being the son of Basil Paterson, one of the quartet along with Rep. Charles Rangel, political power broker Percy Sutton and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

But with the younger Paterson ending his election bid following a scandal over an abuse complaint against his aide, Rangel facing accusations of breaking House rules, the death of Sutton in December and the aging Dinkins fading from public view, the power base that made Harlem a launching pad for the state’s black leadership seems to be dissipating.

“In a sense, their day has passed,” Baruch College politics professor Doug Muzzio said of the elite group who led Harlem’s political heyday. “It has not gone on to a second generation. … You will no longer have such geographically and personally concentrated influence within the black community.”

Sutton was a civil rights trailblazer who represented Malcolm X and a media mogul who served in the New York State Assembly and as Manhattan borough president. Dinkins became the city’s first black mayor.
And their influence may not likely be replicated anytime soon. Black leadership in our nations largest city, in population, are coming from other city neighborhoods.

Another aspect of this article is discussing who amongst the younger generation may emerge to positions of political influence. Also who says Charles Rangel, whether or not he doesn't have his ethics challenges as portrayed in this article, should be replaced by a more youthful voice in Congress. Surely one day someone else will emerge as an influence.

We shall see!

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