Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

In the Balance of Power
Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States

By Omar H. Ali
Foreword by Eric Foner
Afterword by Jacqueline Salit

In the Balance of Power: Independent Black Politics and Third-Party Movements in the United States by Dr. Omar Ali is as relevant today as is the long struggle to dismantle systemic racism in America. The book is about Black people’s resistance to barriers to full democracy and inclusion and the variety of tactics inside and outside of the major parties that were used to pursue voting rights, racial justice, and equality. Reading this book is a lesson and an inspiration to continue forward the building of the independent multiracial democracy movement of today.”

Dr. Jessie Fields, Harlem physician and board member at Independent Voting and Open Primaries

“Ali’s profound scholarship has finally given the disciplines of political science, history, sociology, and African American studies a holistic political portrait. It is a landmark work.”

National Political Science Review

“Impressively informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking … provides invaluable insights into the current political divisions of American politics on a national level with profound implications for the near term and long term political climate. In the Balance of Power is a deftly crafted work of meticulous scholarship and unreservedly recommended for both community and college/university library contemporary political science collections and supplemental curriculum studies lists. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students, academia, political activists, and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject that [the book] is also readily available in a digital book format.”

Midwest Book Review

“One of the many virtues of Omar Ali’s account lies in highlighting the variety of political structures and strategies blacks have chosen over the course of American history in pursuing the goal of racial justice. Independent politics… has a long history, which, as Ali shows, has at many points energized the black community and helped to make America a better place for all its people.”

Eric Foner, from the foreword

Reveals the multiple independent political tactics and strategies that African Americans have used to expand democracy and uphold civil and political rights since the founding of the nation.

This new edition of Ali’s groundbreaking narrative includes an epilogue by independent political analyst and leader Jacqueline Salit. New material addresses the historic presidencies of both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, as well as the rising tide of independent and anti-party sentiments.

Omar H. Ali is dean of Lloyd International Honors College and professor of global and comparative African diaspora history at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he received his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University and was named the Carnegie Foundation North Carolina professor of the year.   More info →


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Permission to reprint
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Retail price: $29.00, S.
Release date: August 2020
1 illus. · 304 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Release date: August 2020
1 illus. · 304 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for In the Balance of Power

“Captures the most important nuances of the ways that African Americans have fought for their own political and economic interests.”

Journal of African American Studies

“Ali shows that there are competing ideological traditions in black thought and that black voters will use other means to advance their interests when they are shut out by the two major parties.”

Journal of American Ethnic History

In the Balance of Power makes important contributions to the field of third-party politics.“

Journal of African American History

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