Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Clockwise from top left: Mike Espy, Joy-Ann Reid, Jaime Harrison, Royce West, Raphael Warnock, Charles Booker.

There are five black men running for U.S. Senate in the South as Democrats who could not only make history, but are using this unique moment to have difficult, intimate conversations about being black in America.

Why it matters: There have only been 10 black senators in U.S. history, and it wasn't until 2013 that two African Americans simultaneously served in the Senate.

  • Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) currently serve.

The big picture: For the country, this moment isn’t just about addressing and rectifying the issue of police brutality against black Americans; it’s about rethinking and reforming the very institutions and systems that have come to define our country through the racial inequities they impose.

  • It's that calculus that's changing who's running and who the country thinks is the right type of person to fill these roles and work on these long-term issues.

The Southern five:

  • Mississippi: Former Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy
  • South Carolina: Former SC Democratic Party chair Jaime Harrison
  • Kentucky: State Rep. Charles Booker
  • Georgia: Rev. Raphael Warnock, who gave the eulogy at the private funeral service for Rayshard Brooks. Warnock is the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pastor.
  • Texas: State Sen. Royce West

And in Michigan, businessman and veteran John James is running as a Republican.

  • “We need the first-hand lived experience of somebody who understands what it’s like to walk around in black skin and recognizes the urgency of the situation demands action, not more talk,” he told MLive.

Between the lines: America's lack of black senators is particularly jarring in the South.

  • Mississippi is 38% black
  • Louisiana is 33%
  • Georgia is 32%
  • Alabama and South Carolina are at 27%
  • North Carolina is 22%
  • Tennessee and Florida are 17%
  • Arkansas is 16%
  • Texas is 13%
  • Kentucky is 8%

The bottom line: “In a country that has never had two black senators from the same state serve at the same time, hope is right here standing before you," Harrison said this year at an MLK Day event in Columbia, South Carolina.

Editor's note: This post has been corrected to remove the incorrect information that State Rep. Charles Booker was a former principal.

Go deeper

Coronavirus cases increase in 17 states

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections ticked up slightly over the past week, thanks to scattered outbreaks in every region of the country.

Where it stands: The U.S. has been making halting, uneven progress against the virus since August. Overall, we're moving in the right direction, but we're often taking two steps forward and one step back.

8 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

10 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.