Cynthia McKinney had been a veteran a member of the Democratic Party, serving six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Growing disillusioned with the Democrats, she later joined the Green Party. Along the way, McKinney, who was known for being outspoken and going against the grain, made an impact in politics.
McKinney was the first African-American woman elected to represent Georgia in the House
She left the Democratic Party and ran in 2008 as the presidential nominee of the Green Party. She ran for vice president in 2020 after the Green Party of Alaska formally nominated her and draft-nominated Jesse Ventura for president.
Recently, she reflected on the state of Black America–and it wasn’t pretty.
She called for a total “housecleaning” of people in office who are representing the Black community.
“So we got people that we are putting in office, and we go, and we vote for them. We need to get rid of all of them. We need a housecleaning, and people from the Nubian Leadership Circle need to be the ones we need to be running,” she wrote in an article for the blog Straight Words Wire, published on Sept. 25.
She argued that Black leaders who are promoted get corrupted and become anti-Black.
“What they have been able to do is to get Black people to be anti-Black, and then they promote those people, and we vote for them,” she wrote.
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She gave an example of one insider she knows. “Another sitting member of Congress, current member of Congress, told me, “Cynthia, you just have to accept when the leadership tells us to do something, we are going to do it.” So we think we’ve elected leaders, but they really are followers. And in many respects, they’re not even followers,” she shared.
She blasted U.S. foreign policy of being in “blackface,” seeming to mean the current circle of Black politicians are faking their “Blackness,” especially when they are representing the U.S. worldwide.
“I think it was the ’70s when the Iranians invaded the U.S. embassy and they held hostages at the embassy. They let the Black people go because they understood that Black people were in the United States were victims,” she recalled, and added, “Now because we support anti-Black Black political candidates, and they occupy positions of authority and office officially representing the United States government around the world, we are now complicit in the crimes of the United States government. I think it is abhorrent, is outrageous.”
She lamented that the goals of Black politicians have changed since her time in office.
“I was in Congress in hand-to-hand combat, trench warfare for 12 years, just trying to be there and trying to represent Black people. In many respects, I guess I could say we got tricked,” she wrote, adding that President Barack Obama when in office didn’t seem to have the backs of Black politicians who were trying to make change.
“I am very proud to be a Black Hawk, but Obama’s role was to put Black Hawks Down. And that is what’s wrong, according to Professor Ricky Jones, with Obamamania. Because there was no more political space for people who think like me, and now we who think like us, and now we have an entire Congress of people who don’t think like us,” she pointed out.
She called for “some kind of alternative society.” She wrote, “The society structures that have been destroyed by them; we have to recreate an alternative to everything. And that’s what I think the Nubian Leadership Circle is in the process of doing.”
She continued, “In 2008 or so, after my Green Party run, I basically declared the Black body politic comatose. What I’ve experienced here with the Nubian Leadership Circle tells me that while, maybe in the popular mass formation, the Black body politic is comatose, people have been working. You have come a very, very long way individually and with your separate organizations.”
McKinney added that Black America today is too complacent.
“But what I hear today is that now we are going to network; we are going to cooperate. We are going to coordinate,” she wrote.
New leadership is need, she added. “So the Nubian Leadership Circle proposes to organize us. You can’t; we can’t win this battle if we’re not organized. And then a cultural synthesis by creating a new culture, a new culture for liberation, a culture of liberation, rather than a culture of oppression. That is what the Nubian Leadership Circle is about. And I believe is our road to resurrection of the Black body politic,” she wrote.
McKinney concluded that Black voters must demand that those representing them do for them. “I’m saying that it’s about time now that every vote, on no matter what level, city council, school board, mayor’s office, county commission, it doesn’t matter, Congress and state legislative. Every vote needs to have a consequence if it’s against us,” she wrote.
McKinney is currently a professor in Political Science at North South University in Bangladesh.
McKinney’s political career goes back to 1992 election when she was elected in Georgia’s newly re-created 11th district. She was re-elected in 1994. Her district was later redrawn and McKinney was elected from the new 4th district in the 1996 election. She was re-elected twice more.
In 2002, McKinney was defeated in the Democratic primary. She was re-elected to the House in November 2004.
While in Congress, she unsuccessfully tried to get the FBI records on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the murder of Tupac Shakur unsealed.
In Congress, she served on the armed services and international relations committees. She was widely criticized for speaking out for justice for Palestinians and against human rights violations made by Israel.
She was defeated in the 2006 Democratic primary. On March 29, 2006, Capitol Hill police incident, she struck a Capitol Hill Police officer for stopping her to ask for identification. She claimed he was the first to touch her. She left the Democratic Party in September 2007.
She joined the Green Party and eventually won the Green Party nomination in the 2008 presidential election receiving 161,797 votes (0.12 percent of the votes cast nationwide).
Since exiting American politics, she has become an international human rights activist and educator.
Photo: Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney listens to a speaker during the 18th annual protest of the school at Fort Benning that trains Latin American soldiers, Nov. 18, 2007, in Columbus, Ga. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)