Until 1992 most black House members were elected from inner-city districts in the North and West: Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York City, Newark, New Jersey, Philadelphia and St. Louis all elected at least one black member. The only southern cities to have black majority districts were Atlanta, Houston, Memphis and New Orleans. The only Southern rural area to have a black majority district was the Mississippi Delta area in Mississippi.
At the redistricting following the 1990 census, however, southern states were required by a series of court decisions to create districts with black majorities. This was done by a process of gerrymandering, often creating grotesquely-shaped districts to link widely separated black communities. In this way black members were elected from Alabama, Florida, rural Georgia, rural Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia for the first time since Reconstruction. Additional black majority districts were also created in this way in California, Maryland and Texas. This greatly increased the number of black-majority districts.
This process was naturally supported by black Democrats, but it was also supported by Republicans, since the process of segregating black voters into black majority districts required removing black voters from all the other districts, making them easier for Republicans to win. It also had the effect of making the Democratic Party more clearly "black" in Southern states, thus further alienating white voters. By 2000 most white-majority House districts in the South were held by Republicans.
Since no state has had a black majority since the 1940s, blacks can only be elected to the United States Senate with the assistance of white voters. Two African Americans have been elected to the Senate in the modern era: Edward W. Brooke, a liberal Republican from Massachusetts, and Carol Moseley Braun, a Democrat from Illinois.