Black Leaders Feeling Eclipsed In Obama Era

03/28/2008 02:45 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Allison Samuels Newsweek

Jesse Jackson can still get a crowd going--when he can find one. He appeared at a Los Angeles restaurant this fall, primed to discuss school dropout rates and home foreclosures. But only eight people showed up, mostly reporters. It's no longer Reverend Jackson's day in the sun, or any other black leader's whose name isn't Barack Obama. So where does that leave the leaders to whom black America has long turned in times of crisis--Jackson, and the Revs. Andrew Young and Al Sharpton? At times they can seem like jealous, cranky old men, as in December when Young suggested Bill Clinton was "every bit as black as Barack." Or when Jackson said Obama was "acting white'' by skipping a giant rally for the Jena Six.

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