This is not the first time we have heard rumors over Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. being a member of the GOP — especially around election time.
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This go-around, a Black Republican group called Raging Elephants is leading the charge with billboards in Dallas that read, “Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. Vote Republican,” CBS Dallas reports.
The man behind the billboards is Claver Kamau-Imani, head of Raging Elephants. “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,” says Kamau-Imani. “We have the documentation to back the claims we’re making on the billboard.”
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One of the billboards is strategically placed. It looks down on the very street that bears that civil rights icon’s name. There are others mostly located in Black communities in Dallas, Houston and Austin. The hope is that the billboards will get some Blacks to consider voting Republican this November.
However, some locals in Dallas are not happy about Kamau-Imani’s use of of King’s image to promote partisan politics. Peter Johnson, a Dallas social activist who worked with King in the 1960s, says the billboard is a “disgrace.”
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“Using his image is one thing, exploiting his legacy is another. To distort his legacy, it’s sacred to some of us. We know the suffering and sacrifice that was made.”
In reality, no one knows for sure what Dr. King’s views were.
Politifact reports that he may have had to register as a Republican but that is no clear indicator of how he voted. Another thing, the Republican Party of the 1940s, 50s and 60s is not the GOP we have today.
Think about it: Does anyone really believe Dr. King would vote for Mitt Romney, a man who said that he can’t do anything for 47 percent of the American population? We doubt it. More than 96 percent of Black voters cast their ballots for Obama in 2008 and it seems like he will get the same level of support next month. And it Blacks are on track to vote Democrat in overwhelming majorities in November.
In the end, GOP efforts to recruit Black voters with misleading symbols and facts on the Republican Party’s history are likely to be a big fail — as they always are.