Martin Luther King made a point of never revealing his political party identity. However, many who knew and worked with him contend the civil rights icon was a Republican. Even more argue that he would be a Republican today.
One could argue that the Republicans and Democrats of the 1950s and 1960s cannot compare to their modern day counterparts. That is largely true, which makes it unfair to slap such a label on someone like Dr. King and expect many to accept it as the absolute truth.
However, it is safe to say that many of Dr. King's core beliefs align with Republican principles. Many who knew him seem to agree.
Let's look at the case for the "Martin L. King Jr. Republican" case.
King's niece, Alveda King, insists he was a Republican. A leader in the pro-life movement, Alveda King says her uncle was in line with the GOP's conservative principles. "I just want to share with you a little bit about my family and my history. My uncle Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his lifetime was a Republican, as was my father, his brother, Rev. A. D. King, and my grandfather, Dr. Martin Luther King Sr. The Republican Party historically has supported the rights of the oppressed. During the times of slavery, many of the abolitionists were Republicans."
NewsMax contends that many of King's peers knew his political affiliation.
"I believe Dr. King was a Republican," Fletcher Thompson, who represented the Atlanta area in Congress from 1966-72, told Newsmax. "Most of the blacks in the late 1950s and at least up to 1960 were Republican. Our party was sympathetic to them and the Democrats were the ones enforcing 'Jim Crow' laws and segregation."
Thompson, who never personally met King, recalled how C.A. Scott, publisher of the Atlanta World -- the only newspaper in Georgia owned by blacks -- and a close associate of King's, "was a Republican and 'The World' always endorsed me when I ran for Congress."
With the 1960 presidential campaign approaching, New York Times political reporter Tom Wicker noted that "the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. had volunteered to lead a voter registration drive among blacks, which King though would produce many new Republican voters."
As to King's favorite candidate, "It is open secret among many Negroes that the Rev. Martin Luther King, if he were to speak out on the subject, would probably indicate a preference for [Republican Richard] Nixon over [Democratic nominee John] Kennedy," The Reporter magazine noted in October 1960.The American Thinker quotes Robert Woodson, Vice President of the NAACP in Pennsylvania when Dr. King was assassinated and President of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, who said this when he spoke at the Heritage Foundation on Dr. King's legacy. He pointed out King's belief in self-reliance and personal responsibility.
Dr. King spoke out against the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, but he also spoke out with equal vigor against the retaliatory violence of the Black Panther Party. ... When he sought to remove the barriers confronting black America, he did not seek to then describe us as victims. There are two ways that you can prevent someone from competing. One is to deny them the opportunity to compete by law, which laws of segregation and discrimination did. The second way to deny them the opportunity to compete is to tell them they do not have to compete, that they can just sit back and government will do it for them.
Dr. King was motivated by the best traditions of the black community, in that he believed that personal conduct was important. But we saw the decline of the black community occur precisely at a time when we had the greatest opportunity. When the doors were opening up, instead of saying to black America, "Open the doors now and initiate self-help efforts to propel you further than you were," we told our young people, "Because of past discriminatory practices, you are society's victim and you have a right to restitution. You have not only a right to a level playing field and a right to opportunities, but you have a right to ten percent of the trophies." And as a consequence, this whole idea of victimization began to occur.
Karin McQuillin of The American Thinker also points out an important fact.
The original March on Washington was organized mostly by black Republicans. The Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, 1964 and 1965 were passed mostly by Republicans. And it is Republicans who have remained true through the years to Dr. King's call to judge men by the content of their character.
"What would Dr. King do today?" King would most likely be a social conservative. ... He would not ask big government's permission to confront the Goliaths of poverty, crime, drug abuse and teen pregnancy that stalk urban America.
We may never know for sure Dr. King's political affiliation, but his words, and his deeds, are everything the Republican party stands for.