Groups such as the National Black Republican Association and Raging Elephants would have people believe (as they seem to) that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican. So, apparently, would Dr. King’s Republican activist niece, Alveda King, and Ada Fisher, a North Carolinian Republican National Committeewoman. The latter went so far as to lament that “Most people don’t talk about the fact that Martin Luther King was a Republican.” Most people don’t talk about this “fact” because it is not one.
“The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism. All people of goodwill viewed with alarm and concern the frenzied wedding at the Cow Palace of the KKK with the radical right. The “best man” at this ceremony was a senator whose voting record, philosophy, and program were anathema to all the hard-won achievements of the past decade. It was both unfortunate and disastrous that the Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater as its candidate for President of the United States…I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.”
Likewise, he reacted poorly to Dixiecrats’ and Republicans’ continual efforts to defeat civil rights legislation:
“This coalition of southern Dixiecrats and right wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move towards liberal legislation in the area of civil rights”
The above statement, of course, also challenges the equally widespread misconception that Dr. King was a conservative, as does this one:
“There is a dire need today for liberalism which is truly liberal. What we are witnessing today is a sort of quasi-liberalism which is based on the principle of looking sympathetically at all sides. It is a liberalism so bent on seeing all sides that it fails to become committed to either side. It is a liberalism which is neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. We call for a liberalism which will be thoroughly committed to the ideal of racial justice and will not be deterred by the propaganda and subtle words of those who say: “Slow up for a while; you’re pushing too fast.”"
Given all of this, next time Republicans or Conservatives try to “claim” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of their political own, you should probably ask yourself why you should believe them.