Black male voter turnout increased dramatically this year - probably in large part because of the Million Man March, the National Political Congress of Black Women said Thursday.
The group estimated that 1.7 million more black men voted in 1996, almost a 53 percent increase in turnout over the 1992 presidential election turnout.
“If anything, 1992 was the year of the woman and 1994 was the year of the angry male, and it seems like in 1996, we’ve seen the African-American male not become so angry but become active in a very special way,” said C. DeLores Tucker, chair of the group.
Meanwhile, a study by the group showed a 9.3 percent drop in voter turnout among black women. It also found a 14.2 percent drop among white women at the polls and a fall of 9.3 percent among white men.
On the whole, black voters increased to 10 percent of total turnout this year compared with 8 percent in 1992.
Both black men and women are overwhelmingly Democratic. The black vote went 84 percent for President Clinton.
The study was based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate and Voter News Service, a partnership of The Associated Press and five TV networks.
Overall turnout at the polls was down sharply this fall. A projection by Voter News Service suggested that only 49 percent of the voting-age population had cast ballots - the lowest in 72 years.
Yvonne Scruggs, executive director of the Black Leadership Forum, said the Million Man March and the adoption of its themes by churches and social organizations may have sparked the increase in black male turnout.
“One of the things about the black male vote is that it was really very low in 1992,” Scruggs said.”So there was room for growth.”