Louisville civil rights leaders are concerned that dwindling numbers in historically African-American neighborhoods will diminish minority representation in Metro Government.
There are currently six African-Americans on the council, and Louisville NAACP president Raoul Cunningham says the districts were first drawn to ensure that number. But the 2010 Census shows that while Louisville’s minority population increased, parts of the predominantly-black West End have shrunk over the last decade.
The Metro Council is preparing to redraw its districts for the first time since merger. Cunningham says he’s waiting for more detailed census information to see how diluted the black population in the new districts will be and whether that will change the racial makeup of the council.
“If we believe in one man, one vote—one person, one vote—then we have to accept that,” he says. “I think it points out another area that we were concerned with—that the African-American community has given up a lot for merger.”
Block-by-block census data is due this summer. Cunningham also says that since suburban neighborhoods have become more diverse, African-American candidates may have a better chance of being elected in traditionally-white districts.
“It is possible. I wouldn’t dare say it’s not possible. But, again, before I would start predicting or hoping I would want to see the figures,” he says.
Before merger, the old city of Louisville was more than one-third black. After merger, the African-American population dropped 18%. It’s project that will increase to as high as 22% once all the census data is released.