Dr. Lenora Fulani, Oral History


Dr. Lenora Fulani, Oral History


Dr. Lenora Fulani (April 25, 1950- ), a developmental psychologist from New York City, a major leader of the Independence Party of New York, who in 1988, became the first woman and the first African American to gain access to the presidential ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. She also became the first African American woman to qualify for federal primary matching funds during that campaign and again in 1992. Dr. Fulani is the founder of the Allstars Talent Show Network, a very successful anti-violence model reaching youth ages 5-25, in several U.S. cities. Here, Dr. Fulani explains her movement’s relationship with the then mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, including Bloomberg’s move to become an independent, and she takes questions from the WJLD radio audience.


Lenora Fulani
Gary Richardson


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


March 13, 2006


Laura King
Bob Friedman
Emily Bibb






Gary Richardson


Lenora Fulani


Transcript from audio snippet:

Caller: most people who talk about these issues are in the Democratic Party already, we’re the rank and file.

Dr. Fulani: And I…

Fifth Caller: White women and minorities.

Dr. Fulani: In ‘84…

Gary: Listen what she has to say…

Dr. Fulani: In ‘84 when Reverend Jackson, I guess that was the Mondale race, tried to do exactly what you’re doing, what you’re saying about rallying the rank and file. The leadership of the party changed the rules of the game so that he went into the convention after having gotten twenty-one percent of the vote on the ground with eleven percent of the delegates, and the party structure, the leadership said, we’ll move the presidential election to keep the more progressive forces and black forces within this party from taking hold. That was 1984 and this is 2006. I learned that in 1985.

I think the rank and file of the Democratic Party, which also went to the convention in the last presidential election with ninety-five percent or more of the delegates opposing the war, being forced to support the war by the likes of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and everybody who got up on that stage, they ended up choosing a pro-war candidate whose greatest claim to fame was “vote for me because I’m not George Bush.” And, that said, I have no faith, it wouldn’t matter to me who is the rank and file within the party, that the party structure and leadership will be changed, no matter what the issues are that people have because you don’t have the power nor the respect, um, to change that-that party. I think it’s much easier, as hard as it is, to build something outside of that structure of the two parties because then you can build it on the ground, and shape it, and use it in the way that you do.

Gary: Real leverage…

Fifth Caller: Excuse me, I disagree with that. I think…

Dr. Fulani: Well then why aren’t you all doing better? Why’d you let them change the rules on Jesse? How come Jesse got treated like that? Who do you think they were slapping in the face…

Fifth Caller: That’s one incident.

Dr. Fulani: Why didn’t you all make a pro, I mean an anti-war statement? How come the delegates at convention in 2001 didn’t stand up, or 2004, and say to the leadership, “we aren’t pro-war. These, the people that are going to be sent into war, our children


Full interview: 42 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


Lenora Fulani 2 min.mp3
Dr. Lenora Fulani 3-13-2006.pdf
Lenora in Bham 88.jpg


Lenora Fulani and Gary Richardson, “Dr. Lenora Fulani, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed June 25, 2024, https://www.thebbrm.org/item/107.

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