Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Wright Rigueur
Harvard University
race, 2016 election, GOP, Republican Party, Democratic Party, civil rights, black voters, presidency, social movements
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

Leah Wright Rigueur is an author, historian, and Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Her expertise includes race and politics, US political and social history, modern African American history, and riots, backlash and campus unrest.

Leah’s book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (2015) offers a much-needed critical analysis of American political and social history and examines the ideas and actions of black Republican activists, officials and politicians, from more than 60 years. Her book provides a new understanding of the interaction between African Americans and the GOP, and the seemingly incompatible intersection of civil rights and conservatism. The book takes a long approach to American history and politics and not only tells an important story about race and the Republican Party, but also expands our understanding of the opinions and actions of African Americans that rejected and/or supported the GOP and the Democratic Party on a local, state and national level, between 1936 and present day.

Recent Publications

“Young Black People are Radically Reimagining What Political Activism Can Be,” The New York Times (2016)

“If Only Rich Men Like Bloomberg Can Save Us, It’s Not a Democracy,” The New York Times (2016)

“Do Republicans Really Want the Black and Latino Vote?” The Root (2015)

“What Explains Ben Carson? The Long History of Black Conservatism,” Washington Post (2015)

The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (2015)

“‘Breaking Bad’ in Black and White: What Ideological Deviance Can Tell Us about the Construction of ‘Authentic’ Racial Identities,” Polity (2015)

Conscience of a Black Conservative: The 1964 Election and the Rise of the National Negro Republican Assembly.” Federal History Journal (2009)


Media Coverage

“Drug Addiction Gets New Treatment on the Campaign Trail,” On Point with Tom Ashbrook, NPR (2016)

“Ben Carson and Black Voters,” All in With Chris Hayes, MSNBC (2015)

“The Loneliness of the Black Republican,” The Intersection, The New Republic (2015)

“Trump & Carson,” CBS News (2015)

“Black Lives Matter & Ben Carson,” CNN (2015)

“Race & The Republican Party,” Where We Live, NPR (2015)

“Black Republicans,” The Open Mind, PBS (2014)

Country Focus

Research Areas

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