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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Controversial Ad Links MLK, GOP

I've never knew about this ad airing in Georgia, ad but an Atlanta area pastor and an Altanta area congressman seems to have a problem with it. There is an ad out there talking about how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whould have been a Republican. Some prominent blacks take issues with this ad. Why?

"To suggest that Martin could identify with a party that affirms preemptive, predatory war, and whose religious partners hint that God affirms war and favors the rich at the expense of the poor, is to revile Martin," said the Rev. Joseph Lowery, the former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which the slain civil rights leader helped establish.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who marched with King in the 1960s, called the ads an "insult to the legacy and the memory of Martin Luther King Jr." and "an affront to all that he stood for."
Of course this isn't limited to liberal blacks but black Republicans as well...

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R), who is running for the U.S. Senate, denounced the King ad, and Donald E. Scoggins, president of Republicans for Black Empowerment and a former member of the association, said it was a terrible idea.

Black Republicans railed against the radio ads, with the sharpest criticism coming from former members of the black Republican association.

"The vast majority of black Republicans I know would not have approved of the ad," Scoggins said.
...
That is why the ad was "a joke," said Christopher Arps, a former spokesman for Rice and the association. "Anyone with any sense knows that most black people were Republican at one time. But it's a far stretch to think that in the '60s Martin Luther King was a Republican."

Arps and Scoggins resigned from the association board last year when they disagreed with Rice on a separate issue. She wanted to support President Bush when he came under fire for his administration's slow response to Hurricane Katrina.

"In terms of what we're trying to do, encourage more blacks to look at the Republican Party, I didn't think we could do that in an in-your-face-type way," Scoggins said. "There were bodies floating in the street."
And here's the woman responsible for these ads...

When a black conservative group ran a radio ad proclaiming that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican, reaction was swift. "We've gotten some e-mails and telephone calls filled with vitriol," said Frances Rice, chairman of the National Black Republican Association. "They've called me Aunt Jemima, a sellout, a traitor to my race."
...
The backlash was so fierce that Rice stopped answering telephone calls. "We anticipated some controversy, but my goodness, we struck a nerve," she said in an interview from Sarasota, Fla.

"I absolutely do not regret the ads," said Rice, 62, a native of Atlanta, King's hometown. He "absolutely was a Republican," she insisted. "We were all Republicans in those days. The Democrats were training fire hoses on us, siccing dogs on us."
I've provided a link to the actual ad but this Washington Post article gave us a glimpse at what was in this ad...

In the ad, a black woman says, "Dr. King was a real man," and a second one responds, "You know he was a Republican."

"Dr. King, a Republican?"

The women go on to say that Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan, lumping together those in the South with others in the North who reached out to African Americans with New Deal programs and by desegregating the armed forces.
This would prove to be an interesting discussion. But then I have to question if it really mattered. He was fighting the good fight and a very important one. But that time was then perhaps we have to make this relevant to today. Why should blacks go Republican today?

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