Saturday, October 10, 2015  
Search By Keyword
Breaking News Alerts
Email Alerts
Email Address
Text Alerts
Mobile Number
 )  - 
Mobile Provider
standard messaging rates apply
Race Relations
Do you think that race relations in the United States will improve in 2015?
North Charleston Black Voters Have The Numbers To Elect A Black Mayor
10/9/2015 10:50:54 AM

Clifford Smith

John Singletary
By Barney Blakeney

Black voters in the City of North Charleston have the voting strength to elect the city’s first Black mayor, but will they?

In the city where nearly half its population is Black, registered Black voters outnumber their white counterparts almost 2:1. But in the city’s municipal elections, fewer than 25 percent of voters typically cast ballots. In one majority Black city council district, council Dist. 5, Black voters never have elected a Black representative.

North Charleston has had a Black majority population since its incorporation in 1972.
Still, Richard Ganaway, the city’s first Black city councilman was soundly defeated when he sought the mayor’s office in 1991. Fewer than one-sixth of the city’s registered voters cast ballots in 1999 when Freddie Whaley Jr. challenged Summey for the office. And In 2007 former Charleston County School Board Chairman Hillery Douglas got 33 percent of the vote compared to Summey’s 66 percent.

Today some 25,000 Blacks in the city are registered voters compared to about 16,000 white voters. Hispanic voters comprise the next largest ethnic group of registered voters, about 700 registered voters. Asians are the fourth largest group with about 500 registered voters.

Black voters have the opportunity to set a precedent for the region by electing a Black mayor in North Charleston. While Blacks have been elected mayor in neighboring regions such as Orangeburg and Columbia, no Black candidate has won the office in any major lowcountry municipality. Black candidates have been unable to motivate Black voters.

Matese Lecque, a former Charleston County School Board candidate who is active on various civic and cultural fronts in the metropolitan Charleston area said to find motivation to flex their voting strength Black residents in North Charleston need only consider how gentrification in the city is transforming previously blighted communities into spectacles reminiscent of the land of Oz. The city’s robust industrial development brings little to Black communities, she said.

Despite their voting strength, Blacks are in survival mode in North Charleston because voter registration has outpaced voter education, Lecque said.

But that’s changing. Pepperhill resident Dot Scott said more voters are showing up at candidate forums now than in the past. And they are demanding accountability from their representatives. North Charleston may not see political change with the November 3 municipal election, Scott said, but it will come with the next election.

Visitor Comments

Account Login  

  need help?  
Current Conditions
Charleston, SC
Radar & More >>
click ad below for details
Show All Ads