Leah Wright Rigueur

Assistant Professor of Public Policy
Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
Office Address
Mailing Address
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 104
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-1462
Email: Leah_WrightRigueur@hks.harvard.edu
Gina Abbadessa (617-495-8217)
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Leah Wright Rigueur is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research interests include 20th century United States political and social history and modern African American history, with an emphasis on race, civil rights, political ideology, the American two-party system, and the presidency. Before joining the Kennedy School faculty, Leah was a professor at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She received her B.A. in history from Dartmouth College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Princeton University.  

Her book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (Princeton University Press, 2015) covers more than four decades of American political and social history, and examines the ideas and actions of black Republican activists, officials, and politicians, from the era of the New Deal to Ronald Reagan’s presidential ascent in 1980; her work provides a new understanding of the interaction between African Americans and the Republican Party, and the seemingly incongruous intersection of civil rights and American conservatism.

Selected Publications

The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015).


“The Black Cabinet: Economic Civil Rights in the Nixon Administration,” in Painting Dixie Red: When, Where, Why, and How the South Became Republican, Glenn Feldman, ed. (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011).


“‘The Challenge of Change’: Edward Brooke, the Republican Party, and the Struggle for Redemption,” Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Winter/Spring 2011).


“Conscience of a Black Conservative: The 1964 Election and the Rise of the National Negro Republican Assembly,” Federal History Journal (Jan 2009).









  • DPI-390 Race, Riot, and Backlash in the United States