“It’s 100 percent going to be a fight,” Anton J. Gunn, a Democratic strategist who worked in the Obama administration, said of the battle for the black vote. “It’s all about which of these candidates can recapture the Obama coalition.”

White candidates are also making inroads with black voters.

Warren regularly discusses issues of racial inequality in her campaign pitches, saying that African-American families faced an uphill climb “made even harder by the impact of generations of discrimination.”

So does Sanders, who emphasizes helping all low-income communities while noting they are disproportionately black.