“Most people don’t talk about the fact that Martin Luther King was a Republican.”
That’s a quote from Ada Fisher, a Republican National Committeewoman from North Carolina, that was published without qualification or correction this week by ABC News.
Fisher is wrong on two fronts. First, many people talk about the “fact” that King was a Republican. It is asserted incessantly by conservatives on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet, especially in the lead up to today’s 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. The claim is most prominently advanced by King’s niece, Republican activist Alveda King. Over the years, conservative groups have purchased billboards making the claim.
Second, Martin Luther King Jr. was not a Republican. Or a Democrat.
King was not a partisan and never endorsed any political candidate. In a 1958 interview, King said “I don’t think the Republican party is a party full of the almighty God nor is the Democratic party. They both have weaknesses … And I’m not inextricably bound to either party.”
King did, however, weigh in on the Republican party during his lifetime. In Chapter 23 of his autobiography, King writes this about the 1964 Republican National Convention: