MLK FOUGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND
As we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
let us pause to reflect on who he was and why his struggle
to obtain civil rights for black Americans was necessary.
Dr. King was a Republican until the day he died because
he knew that the Republican Party, from its founding
in 1854 as the anti-slavery party, championed freedom
and civil rights for blacks. For details on the
history of civil rights, see the NBRA
Civil Rights Newsletter posted on the NBRA's website.
the nemesis of Dr. King's valiant and historic campaign
to end discrimination and gain equality for blacks was
the Democratic Party, the party of slavery, segregation
and the Ku Klux Klan. Led by former Klansman Robert
Byrd, Democrats launched a despicable crusade to smear
and undermine Dr. King. This relentless disparagement
of Dr. King resulted in his being physically
assaulted and ultimately to his tragic death.
Dr. King left Memphis, Tennessee in March of 1968 after
riots broke out where a teenager was killed, Byrd called
Dr. King a "trouble-maker" who starts trouble,
but runs like a coward after trouble is ignited.
A few weeks later, Dr. King returned to Memphis and
was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
to his death, Democrats bombed Dr. King's home several
times. The scurrilous efforts by the Democrats to harm
Dr. King included spreading rumors that he was a Communist
and accusing him of being a womanizer and a plagiarist.
egregious act against Dr. King occurred on October 10,
1963. Democrat President John F. Kennedy authorized
his brother, Democrat Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy,
to wiretap Dr. King's telephone using the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Wiretaps were placed
by the FBI on Dr. King's telephones in his home and
office. The FBI also bugged Dr. King's hotel rooms when
he traveled around the country.
trigger for this unsavory wiretapping was apparently
Dr. Kings' criticism of President Kennedy for ignoring
civil rights issues, according to the author David Garrow
in his book, "Bearing the Cross".
As was pointed out in the book by Wayne Perryman "Blacks,
Whites and Racist Democrats", Kennedy voted against
the 1957 Civil Rights Act while he was a senator.
After Kennedy became president, he was opposed to the
1963 March on Washington by Dr. King.
justification given by the Kennedy Administration publicly
for wiretapping Dr. King was that two of Dr. King's
associates, including David Levinson, had ended their
association with the Communist Party in order to work
undercover and influence Dr. King. However,
after years of continuous and extensive wiretapping,
the FBI found no direct links of Dr. King to the Communist
disdain for blacks further manifested itself when the
King family sought help with getting Dr. King out of
a Birmingham jail. Kennedy's civil rights advisor,
Harris Wofford who was a personal friend of Dr. King
made a telephone call on behalf of Kennedy without Kennedy's
knowledge. That call resulted in Dr. King's release.
Kennedy was angry about the call because he feared he
would lose the Southern vote. History shows, though,
that the call by Wofford eventually worked in Kennedy's
favor and is the primary reason so many blacks today
wrongly venerate Kennedy.
unrelenting efforts by Democrats to tarnish Dr. King's
reputation continued for years after his death.
To his credit, Republican President Ronald Reagan ignored
the Democrats' smear campaign and made Dr. King's birthday
while professing to revere Dr. King, Democrats are still
attempting to sully his image by claiming that he was
a socialist. In reality, Dr. King was a Christian,
guided by his faith and Republican Party principles
as he struggled to gain equality for blacks. He
did not embrace the type of socialist agenda that is
promoted by the Democratic Party today, which includes
fostering dependency on government handouts that trap
blacks in generational poverty.
Rice is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel, a lawyer
and chairman of the National Black Republican Association.
She may be contacted at: www.NBRA.Info