From the May issue of Focus, the magazine of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies:

The 20th anniversary edition of Black Elected Officials: A National Roster ... shows continued growth in the number of our nation's black elected officeholders (BEOs). As of Jan. 31, 1990, there were 7,370 black elected officials in the United States -- an increase of 144, or 2 percent, compared to 5.8 percent in 1989.

As in 1989, the distribution of these officials parallels the geographic distribution of the black population. The South predominates, with 60.2 percent of the country's black population and 67.5 percent of its BEOs. The Midwest has the second largest concentration of BEOs, 17.7 percent, where 16.5 percent of the black population lives. The Northeast, by comparison, is somewhat underrepresented, since it has 15.7 percent of the black population but only 9.9 percent of the BEOs. ...

Some of the new entries in the roster represent breakthroughs in black electoral progress. Election victories in several majority-white jurisdictions signaled shifts in the attitudes of white voters toward black candidates. Perhaps the most prominent example is L. Douglas Wilder, who was elected governor of Virginia, the birthplace of American slavery. ... Meanwhile, David Dinkins was inaugurated mayor of New York City, the nation's largest and most ethnically diverse metropolis, and Norman Rice was elected mayor of Seattle, which is only 10 percent black. ...

Other black mayoral candidates who won in predominantly white cities are: John Daniels Jr. in New Haven, Conn.; Cynthia Moore Chestnut in Gainesville, Fla.; and Charles Box in Rockford, Ill. They were among the seven new mayors elected in cities with more than 50,000 residents. There are now 33 such black mayors.