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Friday, September 29, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr. - A Republican???

The National Black Republican Association is running radio ads that say "Martin Luther King Jr. was a REPUBLICAN."

Frances Rice has even written an essay at NBRA entitled "Why Martin Luther King Jr. Was a Republican."

Civil Rights Leader and Friend of King, Congressman John Lewis has responded to these poisonous ads. I'm posting his response in full below...

Rep. John Lewis Says Ads Corrupt King Legacy

“The radio ads issued by the National Black Republican Association,” said Rep. Lewis, “claiming that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican are deceptive and misleading.

“I knew Martin Luther King, Jr. He was my friend. He was my colleague. We worked together, and I know that he voted for John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for President, in 1960. I know he voted for Lyndon Johnson for president in 1964 and not Barry Goldwater. And if he had lived, he would have voted for Hubert Humphrey in 1968 and not the Republican candidate Richard Nixon.

“These ads are an insult to the legacy and the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. They are an affront to all that he stood for and to everyone who worked with him and followed him. They should be withdrawn and denounced by the Republican Party. Both parties made mistakes and blunders when it came to the issues of civil rights and race, but the great majority of African Americans identify with the Democratic Party because of its great history of championing the causes of those who have been left out and left behind, the cause of civil rights and social justice.”

Well said, Congressman Lewis.


Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

King, like most African-Americans, was a Republican (the party of Lincoln), until the Kennedy election. Until the '60s, Republicans had been more active (though lukewarmly so) than Democrats on civil rights and most Southern African-Americans knew Democrats as the party of racism. That began to change during the '60s as Democrats began rejecting the racist wing of their party, especially at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, NJ in 1964. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of '64 and the Voting Rights of '65, Richard Nixon and others (like Lee Atwater) in the GOP devised a "Southern strategy" to gain power by appealing to racist whites leaving the Democratic party. It worked.

Today, the GOP and Democrats have changed places and, as a result, most African-Americans have switched parties. (Some civil rights leaders, like James Farmer, founder of CORE, remained lifelong Republicans--even though Farmer was a conscientious objector and thought by the FBI to be a Communist!)

1:01 PM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

Come to think of it, King was a DELEGATE to the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

1:05 PM

Blogger Big Daddy Weave said...

To call the modern-day Republican Party the "Party of Lincoln" is just sooo far from the truth. It seems many don't understand that the South was politically Realligned during the 60's and into the 70's.

Conservative Dems became Republicans and Republicans like Mark Hattfield gradually disappeared.

With the knowledge that MLK's last big stand was against the Vietnam War - how could any person believe that King would be a Bush/Cheney Republican???

I've often wondered whether King would have later entered politics had he remained alive?

9:11 PM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

There was a movement in '68, prior to the "Clean for Gene" movement of Eugene McCarthy and prior to Bobby Kennedy's run, to draft King and Dr. Benjamin Spock to run on a ticket for the presidency. I think King would have turned it down. I don't think he believed ministers should be in (electoral) politics and his calling was to be a prophetic voice outside of electoral politics. But we'll never know.

6:48 AM


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