‘Martin Luther King Was a Republican’: The Billboard That Encourages African-Americans to Switch Parties

Graham Smith, Daily Mail (London), October 29, 2012

Billboards claiming iconic civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr was a Republican last week appeared in the black neighbourhoods of three Texas cities, angering local residents.

The advertising hoardings erected in Dallas, Houston and Austin by a conservative organisation to encourage African-Americans to ‘Vote Republican!’ have been branded ‘disrespectful’ by one Dallas resident.

The Democrats traditionally attract a far higher proportion of black voters than the Republican party.

But Claver Kamau-Imani, the founder of RagingElephants.org, claims he has the documentation to prove Dr King, who was assassinated in 1968, voted Republican.

And he believes his billboards – which proclaim ‘Martin Luther King Jr was a Republican. Vote Republican! – will encourage other African-Americans to join the party.

He told CBS Dallas: ‘The use of Dr King, because of him being an icon in the community, we feel would be most effective. That’s why we used it.

‘We have the documentation to back the claims we’re making on the billboard.’

However, in 2008, Dr King’s son Martin Luther King III said: ‘It is disingenuous to imply that my father was a Republican. He never endorsed any presidential candidate, and there is certainly no evidence that he ever even voted for a Republican.

‘It is even more outrageous to suggest he would support the Republican Party of today, which has spent so much time and effort trying to suppress African-American votes in Florida and many other states.’

One local resident in Dallas, where the billboard has been put on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, criticised the move as ‘disrespectful’.

Aaron Carswell said: ‘It’s a bit disrespectful for what Martin Luther King stood for, and who he was. To use his name in a political fashion, is a bit disrespectful.’

Amid the country’s shifting demographics, Republicans have focused more on reaching out to Hispanics than black voters, who have supported President Barack Obama in overwhelming numbers.
Black Republicans have long been scarce in Congress. Of 26 black Republican House members since 1870, the vast majority served during the post-Civil War Reconstruction days.
In her bid to become the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, Mia Love is her party’s face of diversity this campaign year.

She is reluctant to embrace the role, saying she doesn’t let race or gender define her politics.

‘I was elected mayor not because of my race or gender, not because I wear high heels, but because of the policies I put in place,’ Ms Love, 36, said in a recent interview.

Polling shows Ms Love with a slight lead over a six-term Democratic incumbent in Utah.

In a party that has struggled for decades to attract black voters, the daughter of Haitian immigrants included subtle nods to civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks in her speech to the Republican National Convention in August.

Ms Love’s parents immigrated to the U.S. in the early 1970s. She says her father – who has worked as a painter, janitor and school bus driver – taught her never to ask for a handout. Her parents became U.S. citizens in 1984.

A married mother-of-three, a Mormon and a favourite of the small-government tea party movement, Ms Love is the only woman among 11 black Republican House candidates in the November 6 election.

Republicans have focused more on her conservative values and agenda than her race.

‘We need a party that is diverse based on our issues and not based on simply trying to find greater variety in the complexion,’ said Rep Tim Scott of South Carolina, one of the two black Republicans now in the House.

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  • Puggg

    So what?  Even if he was, all that means is that I would vote Democrat.

    • The__Bobster

      He wasn’t. Only deluded neocons want to believe that lie.


      The NBRA claims “King registered as a Republican in 1956” — something that King biographer Taylor Branch has found no evidence or mention of after years of exhaustive research. This means the NBRA interprets King’s 1956 vote to say he was registered Republican, which is not at all an indication of party affliation. But that doesn’t matter to the NBRA. They’re so certain of their assumption, they’re warping King’s image by targeting black voters with advertisements and college Republicans with t-shirts. Still, let’s put the lack of evidence aside and take a look at King’s words and actions, starting in the year with which the NBRA brands his political legacy.

  • ImTellinYa

    That’s insane to try and claim MLK for the GOP. We shouldn’t want the likes of that philandering, plagiarizing, immoral race baiter in our party. MLK was a hard, hard left-winger who was a cat’s paw for the Democratic Establishment. He was hand-picked by White people to recruit the Blacks as foot soldiers in the Leftist project to destroy the U.S. MLK was no different than that affirmative-action parasite Obonzo.

  • Triarius

    Michael King was a communist. I don’t care what else he was.

    And blacks only see in color. Obama culd be running on the KKK ticket and they would still vote for him.

  • SLCain

    Republican’s adoption of King as some kind of talisman to display their anti-racism is ridiculous and an enourmous turn-off to this white voter.  If King were alive today, clearly he would be a democrat – there would be no question about it.   His principals are clearly more in line with those of the democratic party (to the exten that they even have any principals anymore).  King was a communist and race-man.  People should stop claiming him for a conservative.

    Besides, don’t these dimwit Republicans know that he is not be referred to as “Martin Luther King”, but rather, as blacks always refer to him, as”Dr. Martin Luther King” – always, every time.  Even if he is referred to five times in one sentence, he must be referred to as “Dr. King” every single time.  Leave off the “Dr.” from Jonas Salk, or Christian Barnard, or Joseph Lister, if you please, but never – never! – leave off the “Dr.” from “Dr. Martin Luther King”.  He is the only man in all of history who deserves that august title (despite the fact that he plagiarized his dissertation).

    • Tim_in_Indiana

      Either that or, like Jesse Jackson, he has to be referred to as “The Reverend” every time his name is mentioned, as in “The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King.” It’s in the style books. In fact, it’s so universal that I suspect some computer algorithm must automatically add it into their word processors and teleprompters whenever his name is mentioned. Of course no white personage is accorded such universal and reverential obeisance.

    • blight14

       Normally your credentials would be stripped if you’d been found to have cheated, plagiarized, etc…….(Lance Armstrong, Pete Rose, etc)……I guess that doesn’t apply to the good ‘Dr’……..If Michael King is their shining pillar on the hill, that doesn’t speak very highly of the stock collectively……

  • ImTellinYa

     I know they do. When Clinton got caught defiling Lewinsky I was working with a bunch of Blacks. They are were highly amused by what Clinton did. They heartily approved and said things like, “You know if I wuz PreziDent y’all, I’d be all up in dem intern’s ––––!”

    One reason Blacks liked Clinton so much is because he is an unprincipled, sociopathic con man. That makes him a classic “Big Man.”

  • Golden Rule Macongo Jed

    For blacks, the word “disrespectful” is a bantu zulu voodoo war chant.They are so infected with toxic self esteem, they actually believe that their feelings are sacred, that they are angels sent here from Heaven to cure the White man of his racist unearned White privilege, and that anyone who “offends” them is a Devil who must be killed in the name of St. MLK.

    This wouldn’t of happened if Lincoln had lived long enough to send them all back to the fetid jungles where they belong.

    We walked into a coffeeshop recently and all we saw were blacks.  The air was thick with hateful, menacing, disgusting Diversity smell.  We fled instantly and praised White Jesus that we knew why…

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    Even blacks can see through the ludicrousness of such a billboard.  Mike King was against everything that conservatives and libertarians supposedly stand for: self-sufficiency, a free market economy and freedom of association. The whole concept of Mike King being a Republican is so preposterous that I can only assume that this billboard is intended to be a disguised ad for the Democratic party.

  • humura

    In the summer of 1960 I was one of about 60 participants from across the US who attended a training session in non-violence in Miami, sponsored by CORE (Congress of Racial Equality).  One of our teachers was the first Black to play pro-baseball in the white leagues, Jackie Robinson.  It was an election year, and he was openly for Republican Richard Nixon.  Another day, out teacher was Martin Luther King.  He told us he was quietly for John Kennedy, the Democratic candidate.  His father, a pastor at an important church in Atlanta, at that time was for Nixon, because like many, he worried about having a Catholic President.  However, after the Kennedy’s made contact with King, Jr. after he had been arrested, the elder King changed his position and openly endorsed Kennedy for President.
    While the NAACP was linked to the Democratic Party, even firing one of its founders when W. E. B. Du Bois rejected Truman in 1948 and instead supported a 3rd party candidate, James Farmer, who was Black, became head of CORE and in the late 1960s ran for Congress as a Republican from Brooklyn.  He lost, but worked in the Nixon Administration.
    I do not know how King, Jr. voted.  He may have been deemed a convicted felon, and ineligible to vote, I do not know.  Yet, in the South at that time, many Blacks voted Republican.  I read that in 1960 in Memphis, Nixon won the Black vote over Kennedy.—–Hugh Murray 

    • ImTellinYa

       Back through the 60s and even into the 70s around 90 percent of Whites were Democrats. I grew up in Georgia and the elections there were pretty much a foregone conclusion. The REAL election that got everybody excited was the Democratic primary. Whoever won primary would win the election in the South. A lot of people didn’t even bother to vote in the general election, but the turnout for the primary was huge. Since almost every single White was a Democrat, a lot of Blacks decided to vote Republican as an act of defiance. Now it’s the other way around. Since the Republican Party is perceived, and rightly, as the “White” Party, the vast majority of Blacks hate it. You could run God on the Republican ticket and Blacks wouldn’t go near it.

  • Spielbergs’ movie, ‘Lincoln’, is scheduled to come out after the election. The speculation is that he didn’t want to show Lincoln as a anti-slavery Republican and the Democrats as the party of slavery and racists.

    • A shame Lincoln was assassinated. Had he lived I believe he would pushed harder for a repatriation program shipping freed slaves to Liberia. It is well known he supported institutions that wanted to re-colonize Africa with freed slaves.

      • haroldcrews

        I disagree.  He would have wanted those reliable black Republican votes in the South.

    • blight14

       What I would like to see happen to Spielberg cannot be mentioned here…..take my word for it, ‘messy’ is an understatement…..

  • bluffcreek1967

    Even if MLK was discovered to have been a Republican as this billboard states, it would have no effect on the majority of Blacks. It means nothing to them. Moreover, the author of the billboard assumes that Blacks would somehow intellectually think through the implications of it and side with the GOP. But this is not how Blacks think. Most of them would not even be able to make the connection and what it all means. All that matters to them now is that Obama is Black (so we better vote for him) and, if we don’t vote for him, we ain’t getting our government goodies!   

  • What a screwed up world we live in when a commie plagiarist is an icon to model yourself after….