Beginning in 1930 and through the 1940s, African Americans in large urban areas, such as Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New York, began to agitate more for involvement in labor matters, foreign policy, race, and other issues of concern. Republicans as well as Democrats were aware of this new posture, and saw sizeable numbers of African-American voters in both parties. The strength of the black vote was demonstrated as an increasing number of African Americans gained seats in state legislatures, became municipal judges, were elected to city councils, and held other political positions. About thirty blacks were elected to legislatures in ten states in 1946.
The first African American to be named chair of the National Democratic Party was Ron Harmon Brown in 1989.