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Sharon Austin - University of Florida. Gainesville, FL, US

Sharon Austin

Professor | University of Florida

Gainesville, FL, UNITED STATES

Sharon Wright Austin’s teaching and research interests are in American government, urban politics and African American politics.


Sharon Wright Austin’s teaching and research interests are in American government, urban politics and African American politics with emphasis on mayoral elections, rural political activism, American voting and political behavior, African American women's politics, the presidency, congressional elections, and gender and politics. She has written three books: Race, Power, and Political Emergence in Memphis, The Transformation of Plantation Politics: Black Politics, Concentrated Poverty, and Social Capital in the Mississippi Delta, and The Caribbeanization of Black Politics: Race, Group Consciousness, and Political Participation in America. Her fourth book, Political Black Girl Magic: The Elections and Governance of Black Female Mayors, will be published in 2023 by Temple University Press.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Southern Politics

African American Politics

Urban Politics

Media Appearances (6)

Ketanji Brown Jackson’s path to Supreme Court nomination was paved by trailblazing Black women judges

The Conversation  online


Just five women and two African Americans, both men, are among the 115 people who have served on the United States’ highest court over more than two centuries. Both of those numbers may change in 2022, with President Joe Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, a 51-year-old Washington, D.C., native raised in Miami, to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

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Examining the end of bipartisanship

WCIV  online


“The last time I remember true bipartisanship was when President Clinton was in office back in the 90's.. and there was cooperation on welfare reform.. that was when the Republicans took both houses and Newt Gingrich was speaker of the house and Contract with America” says Dr. Sharon Austin, a professor of Political Science at the University of Florida to the national Desk’s Angela Brown.

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University of Florida Political Science Professor says Biden's speech spoke to Floridians

Fox 4 In Your Corner  online


Political Scientist Sharon Wright-Austin sees education and police reform as hot-button issues in our state. President Biden's speech to Congress spoke directly to Floridians according to a UF political scientist we interviewed about it.

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Refusing to be Silenced: The Political History and Future of Black Women in Florida

Florida Humanities  online


The passage of the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. Despite the constitutional security granted by the amendment, Black women–and Black men–were not able to exercise voting privileges. This did not prevent Black women from engaging in political organizing and registering others to vote. When Black women were finally able to vote with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Black women began to enter national politics in force.

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From One Milestone to the Next: African American Studies at UF

UF CLAS News  online


Throughout a two-day event, the 50th-anniversary celebration took a comprehensive look at the program’s past, present and future. After a day of panels that highlighted academic work, civic engagement and alumni perspectives, the event closed with a community celebration that brought together a wide representation of those who have contributed to the endurance of African American Studies at UF: alumni who first pushed for the program’s creation; the faculty and administrators who have shepherded the program from its founding to today, including SHARON WRIGHT AUSTIN, the political science professor who directed the program from 2011-19; the current students and recent graduates who continue its legacy; and members of the greater Gainesville community with whom the program has long fostered connection.

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How new voters and Black women transformed Georgia’s politics

The Conversation  online


In July 1964, Georgia restaurateur Lester Maddox violated the newly passed Civil Rights Act by refusing to serve three Black Georgia Tech students at his Pickrick Restaurant in Atlanta. Although this new federal law banned discrimination in public places, Maddox was determined to maintain a whites-only dining room, arming white customers with pick handles – which he called “Pickrick drumsticks” – to threaten Black customers who tried to dine there.

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Articles (5)

Does the Cooking Matters Curriculum Improve Participant Food Security?

Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

Mike Swain, et al.


Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) has demonstrated improvement in nutrition behavior among participants. Food insecurity affects many SNAP-Ed participants, and questions remain about solutions. Further, disparities in food security are known to exist among racial groups.

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Society and Sickle Cell


Sharon Austin and Jireh Davis


The affects of Sickle Cell in the black community are far-reaching into the social, economic, medical and educational parts of the community. During my time in the University of Florida Shands Streetlight Volunteering Program I have been able to directly see how this disease affects of the lives of young people. My patients, who have become my friends, express to me their dire need of understanding by their healthcare providers and awareness by their peers.

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Examination of Voting Rights Restoration in the State of Florida


Sharon Austin and Taisha Saintil


The research examines Amendment 4 and efforts for voting rights restoration in Florida. Politically, Florida has history of being a swing state. The disenfranchisement of felons was most likely the driving force behind Al Gore losing the 2000 presidential election. In a controversial election vote that took five weeks to sort out, Republican George W. Bush won Florida by 537 votes. In the 2016 election, it can be concluded that without this policy, the outcome would have been different.

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Afro-Cuban Group Consciousness and Political Participation in Miami-Dade County

2019 National Conference of Black Political Scientists (NCOBPS) Annual Meeting

Sharon Austin


For several decades, Cuban immigrants and Americans have been said to live in a "Golden Exile" in Miami and Miami-Dade County. Although many white Cubans have achieved economic and political successes in South Florida, black Cubans are disproportionately poor and politically powerless.

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African American, Black Ethnic, and Dominican Political Relations in Contemporary New York City

Black Politics in Transition

Sharon D. Wright Austin


This chapter examines the political relationships among native-born African Americans, Dominicans, Haitians, and West Indians in New York City. It argues that African American political figures have had to find ways to develop coalitions with Dominicans, Haitians, and West Indians; yet, these relationships have been more conflictual than collaborative. The earliest African American elected officials had several things in common.

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Sharon Austin Publication Sharon Austin Publication Sharon Austin Publication



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Refusing to be Silenced: The Political History and Future of Black Women in Florida