Pearl Dowe Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Political Science and African American Studies

Headshot of Pearl Dowe 1x1  @PkDPhD

Areas of Expertise

  • Elections
  • African American political behavior
  • Gender and politics
  • African American political leadership


Pearl Dowe, PhD, a Georgia native, is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Political Science and African American Studies. Her research includes African American political behavior, gender and politics, and African American political leadership. Most recently, she has focused on political ambition and public leadership in African American women. She is co-author of Remaking the Democratic Party: Lyndon B. Johnson as Native-Son Presidential Candidate (2016) and editor of African Americans in Georgia: A Reflection of Politics and Policy Reflection in the New South (2010). She has published numerous articles and book chapters, presented widely at professional conferences and gives frequent media interviews.


Democratic National Convention (Aug. 21, 2020)

Overall, the DNC this week showed moving forward Biden and his campaign really see an opportunity for victory based on black voter turnout. It was apparent, particularly last night within the first hour. The ques were not subtle. The little black boy, Cedric Richmond Jr., reciting the pledge of allegiance in front of the “I am Man” backdrop, Biden’s first statement, the tribute to John Lewis to name a few. The whole night consisted of very obvious ques to black voters, “You matter.” From references to Ella Baker to Keisha Lance Bottoms’ speech, these were not just symbols but real leaders who value community engagement. I’m curious to see if and when the DNC will put resources against their efforts to reach black voters. It needs to happen now and early, not in late October.

Fifth Democratic Debate (Nov. 21, 2019)

The recent Democratic Party Debate was one of the more engaging debates and candidates. The significance of the host city was not lost on the candidates who attempted to interject issues concerning  African Americans and women throughout the evening. However, the issue of voter suppression was not raised until very late. This issue should be one of the most pressing for each candidate and the Democratic Party. The challenges that voters face to register and cast ballots are a direct challenge to representative democracy. The communities that are often plagued with purges, voter ID laws, long lines and faulty machines consist of those that are more likely to vote Democratic and turn out when mobilized. Not only should the candidates speak to this issue, its origins and mechanisms to end disenfranchisement they need to address the complexity of the economic and societal issues that these voters face. If the candidates and the ultimate nominee do not continue to earnestly discuss voter suppression along with policy solutions for the concerns of African Americans, Democrats will face an uphill climb to be successful in the fall.

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