From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Martin Luther King

September 14, 2005 12:45 AM

A friend of mine, nearly a disciple of Martin Luther King, encouraged me to read a sermon he gave late in his life at the Riverside Church in New York City. What he talked about that day is not what normally comes to mind when thinking of the civil rights leader. Even FAIR has noticed how the media has ignored the latter years of King's life in their requisite yearly retrospectives.

It's as if he was standing in the rubble of Bush's Katrina debacle. Masterfully, and inspirationally, he ties together race, war, poverty, values and the military into one sweeping narrative that defines the best of what liberalism could be.

"True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." Amen.

If he were alive today, King would be chewed up in the right-wing character assassination machine, but things were more straightforward 40 years ago... they just straight up assassinated him -- one year to the day after giving this speech.

Read or listen to it. Even the parts about Vietnam -- they are eerily appropriate in the context of today's Humvee democracy.

More from the archive in Tragedy.

Martin Luther King (09.14.2005)

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Read the 34 comments.


Republicans hate black people.


Wed Sep 14 2005 3:47 PM

Tom from Madison:

I don't think it's hatred. Most black people are invisible to the Republican party. Those Blacks who are chosen by the right do not represent the political positions of most Black Americans.

Consider Condaleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, and Colin Powell. Powell is certainly more moderate than the other two. Yet he's been forced to shut up and leave because he dared to tell the truth after being forced to lie about WMDs. Condaleeza Rice continues to repeat the same tired propaganda ["Freedom's on the March"] but she too is sadly out of touch. Clarence Thomas votes with Scalia on the Supreme Court's far right flank.

NONE OF THE ABOVE HAVE SHARE COMMON GROUND WITH THE ELECTED BLACK OFFICIALS IN CONGRESS or the SENATE. In other words, they are political appointees who sold their souls to the right. That's sad, but effective politically for the right. It sends the message that Blacks can get appointed by Republicans, but only if they tout the party line.

Fortunately, Conyers, Obama, and others don't buy into that.

I would like Anonymous to answer: Why there are so few Black republican elected officials in the House and Senate? If it's not hatred, what is it?

Thu Sep 15 2005 12:40 PM


Take a look at a liberal run town and state, LA, and tell me that liberal welfare ideas work.
Democrats create a cycle for these folk that is impossible to get out of. You claim to care so much but its the liberal policy that keeps them poor.

If Democrats are so good for black people, why is LA a total welfare state? Why havent the democrats who have run that state/city(N.O) for 40 years done anything for these people?

Liberal ideas dont work for the poor. A vote for a liberal is a vote to stay poor.

Fri Sep 16 2005 10:04 AM

Jim Gilliam:

and conservative ideas would be.... cut the poor off and let them die?

that certainly solves the poverty problem.

Fri Sep 16 2005 11:30 AM

Tom from Madison:


take a look at a conservative-run COUNTRY, i.e. the USA. Poverty is measureably worse now than it was under Clinton. We've seen what government by the right has wrought. CONSERVATIVES NEED TO GET REAL WITH THEIR RHETORIC! Quit blaming the liberals for the results of YOUR policies!

When flag-waving conservatives recite the Pledge of Allegiance, do they mean, "One nation, , under God, with liberty and justice for all--EXCEPT FOR THE POOR"? It would help if Bush and the right would recognize that we are ONE people. The poor are part of US--not some disconnected entity!

Now how about answering my question. Why aren't there more Black Republican elected officials? I'd really like to hear the right-wing perspective.

Mon Sep 19 2005 11:36 AM

Tom from Madison:

I'm still waiting to hear from ANYONE ON THE RIGHT.

Why do you Republicans attract so few Black candidates?

Wed Sep 21 2005 10:20 AM



Sun Sep 25 2005 8:02 PM


martin luther king was a republican and if assasinated by the government as an earlier writer suggested he was killed by democrats in which he was very critical of

Tue Oct 18 2005 6:00 PM


the republican party attracts so few of blacks because blacks do not have a strong middle and upper class, majority of poor americans enjoy the free hand outs they get from liberal democrats so they vote for them if they vote at all. plus african americans are under the misconception that democrats are out to help them when they haven't been implimenting policies that really help the black community just policies that buy their votes

Tue Oct 18 2005 6:05 PM


I know lots off middelclass blacks do you believe all black peopel are poor? ´"Poor americans takes handouts fromliberal democrats" ooh thats some conspiracy theory ain`t it`plus african americans have the miscoception that liberals are out to help them" and what have the republicans done for the poor blacks ? nothing at all."Martin lutherking was a republican" That was back in the 60´s when the south was ruled by southern democrats. Back then also jesse helms and storm thurmond was republicans. But kennedy became engaged in the civilrights moment and many southern democrats became repulicans. King actually voted for kennedy."he was killed by democrat"comeon those conspiracy theories just make you look ridicoulus

Wed Jan 4 2006 8:01 AM

Tony B:

The reason why there are not that many blacks in the republican party is because of the backlash that would happen if they came out with their conversative beliefs. I am a black conservative and in certain circles I will not let my political views be known, not because i'm afraid of my belief but I know as soon as my cover is blown I am going to be attacked by my liberal friend. The attackers will not listen to logic or fact. They base the majority of the arguments on emotion and illogical thought processes. If you present concrete facts, they will just brush it off as B.S. but will not have any facts to hold up their argument. They get the majority of thier "facts" from the likes of Tom Journer and Tavis Smiley who basically spew out reverse rasism. Liberals say that want free speach but as long as they agree with that speech.

Thu Jan 5 2006 6:06 PM


The black vote is not a monolithic vote, the black voice is not a monlithic voice. Why are
there white republicans and white democrats
almost equally divided and almost all blacks
are democrats? Politics is a game and we as
black americans need to stop being pieces of
the game and start becoming players of the
game. We need equal representation in both parties in order for our voices to be truly

Mon Jan 16 2006 2:15 AM


Interesting that 90% of African Americans are in poverty the same people that vote Democrat, while 10% that are doing good vote Republican... Before Civil Rights passed there were 10 bills purposed by Republicans after 1866 that Democrats opposed, filibustered, If Republicans had their way Civil Rights would have passed in 1866. Interesting to hear people say that Republicans hate black people, have always hated black people.. They have historical facts to back them, Republican Party was founded by anti-slavery activist, Democrrats formed the KKK, Robert Byrd (D) still in office was a KKK leader, First Republican President-Lincoln... what did he do? oh yea free'd the slaves... Those Republicans are RACISTS!!!

Tue Feb 7 2006 2:24 PM


does anyone know when martin luther king was assasinated???

Thu Feb 9 2006 2:36 PM


The republican party is COLOR BLIND. So, people who expect special favors from the GOP merely because of the color of their skin ... are NOT welcome.

Many liberal blacks are so used to being pandered to by liberal politicians that the relative absence of that in the GOP is mistaken as being racism. What is truly absent in the GOP is the notion that a steady stream of handouts, set-asides and afirmative action mandates do a SINGLE THING to advance racial EQUALITY. (Ask Ward Connerly how he would create equality and if it would actually work? hint: CA prop 209)

Mon Feb 20 2006 10:12 AM


MLK was assasinated in April of 1966.

Sun Mar 12 2006 9:12 AM


Mr journer was a strong man

Mon Mar 27 2006 3:05 PM


I was a registered Democrat all of my life until a couple of months ago. I unsuccessfully ran for a City Council seat and was attacked by my party for my pro-life views and for coming against many of the social programs that have caused my people to develop a poverty mentality.

Since Roe-vs-Wade, 10,000,000 African-American babies have been destroyed. That's a nation! And we wonder why we are becoming extinct. We must get back to moral values, integrity, respect, and honoring life. It is not alright for the Democratic party or anyone else to benefit from the misfortune of our people. We are intelligent and capable of having fortune 500 companies to pass on to our children, but it will take hard work, not handouts. We must change our way of thinking in order to move forward into the space of success. I will not think the way someone tells me to think, I will research the numbers for myself, and teach others to do the same. I am an intelligent being and can do that. Tell me, how have the African American people benefited from Affirmative Action? Look at the numbers and let the truth set you free! It's time for the real emancipation!

Thu Mar 30 2006 5:48 PM

Asian-American GOP supporter:

The real FACTS: Martin Luther King Jr. was a registered Republican, JFK illegally tapped King's telephone lines (and to think the Dems complain about Watergate), Democrats founded the KKK, Jackie Robinson voted for Nixon, many blacks are in fact Republicans (should I mention George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington, and Karl Malone?), the first black in the Sentate was a GOP member, and before Civil Rights passed there were 10 bills purposed by Republicans after 1866 that Democrats opposed and filibustered. If Republicans had their way Civil Rights would have passed in 1866. Later the Dems regretted it and supported it to get political benefit even though it was the GOP's idea in the first place, but somehow those GOP members are racist (although we don't know how)!

Thu Apr 27 2006 4:02 PM


The GOP was founded as the abolitionist party, and elected Lincoln; the Dems seceded from the Union.

The GOP created and passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th ammendments, and the southern Dems couldn't vote on them because they hadn't returned to the Union; the NORTHERN dems voted against and filibustered them.

The KKK was founded by Democrat Confederate Soldier veterans, and the KKK supported Democratic politics.

Wilson resegregated Federal Government offices and resisted integration of the military and of his student body while president on Princeton. He premiered "Birth of a Nation" in his white house, and quotes of his supporting the KKK are featured in the film.

FDR nominated a Klansman and segregationist to the Supreme Court.

Orval Faubus tried to have the Arkansas National Guard prevent the "Little Rock Nine" from entering Central High School; Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne in to stop him.

JFK told MLK to keep his people quiet, while RFK as Attorney General tapped MLK's phones.

Former Klansman Robert Byrd (D) filibustered the Civil Rights Act of '64, a bill which could not have been passed without Republican support.

Same with he Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Affirmative Action and quotas were actually implemented by Richard Nixon, a strong supporters of minorities who had a history of hiring many of them as far back as the 50's when he was VP.

Bottom Line:

There is an aphorism frequently offered in the study of economics that asserts: “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” In essence this phrase reveals a principal difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties. Historical record confirms time and time again that no political party has done more for the advancement of blacks in American society than the Republican Party. Moreover, it establishes that from the party’s inception through the modern era, the Democratic Party has a history deeply rooted in slavery, racism, and indifference towards black Americans.
Contrary to what is taught in public education, the Republican Party has created countless opportunities for black Americans, while many of the Democratic Parties leading “triumphs” in black American history (the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Affirmative Action, for example) are in actuality not so triumphant— at least, not without the aid of Republicans.
If there is one institution that owes reparations to black Americans after nearly two hundred years of slavery, bigotry, repression, and inopportunity in American society, it is the Democratic National Committee.

The sole reason that blacks vote Democrat started during the Hoover Administration. The administration refused to send federal aid to a city in the south that was ravaged by a flood. The town was primarily black, and politically overnight, the party alignment changed. But because the Republican Party gives everyone the tools to succeed (as opposed to giving them a fish everyday) the Dems can use this as a tool saying that the GOP hates the poor, etc.

Mon May 29 2006 12:48 PM


It is amazing in this age of information there are those who don't know their history. For Gods sake get off line and just open a book. Republicans have always been on the right side of racial issues. Democrats tried to filibuster the Republicans attempt to make lynching a federal crime, FDR appointed a former klans man to the supreme court, KKK and southern Democrats are one in the same, Lincoln was a republican Wilberforce was a Whig. The list goes on and on. Republicans were abolitionist democrats passed laws saying that voters had to be able to read and write, restricting their former slaves that they never taught to read from voting. look into the murder of black Republicans in North Carolina by white Democrats in 1893. The Democrat strategy in the 60's shifted to "If we can't hold em down with brutality we'll hold em down with hand outs and they'll repay us with their vote. The Democrat lie has been bought at a high cost to black Americans.

Tue Jul 11 2006 4:27 PM


Hello I just becom a rep. I am a blk man and I see everything clear now. I have been shown the way I forefather's were republicans they started all this. Votings and etc.... Be strong black peole as well as white to get the true facts and no your background, history, we need to be successful. Dem bash with hatred and with no understanding. The famous people you admire that you admire either know the truth and keep it from black people to stay on top and some just do not know ( that is only a few). How can any blk person be a democrat that have read the history, see how and who founded that party. You all should be ashamed of yourshelves. I going to become a great blk rep politican and I will find a way to bring this to lite. Black read and research your information. I we are the best and we make ourshelves the least when we do not prepare ourshelves for life. All people stay real and motivate to succeed. One love blk people!


Sat Aug 5 2006 3:06 PM


Hello I just becom a rep. I am a blk man and I see everything clear now. I have been soon the way I forefather's were republicans they started all this. Votings and etc.... Be strong black peole as well as white to get the true facts and no your background, history, we need to be successful. Dem bash with hatred and with no understanding. The famous people you admire that you admire either know the truth and keep it from black people to stay on top and some just do not know ( that is only a few). How can any blk person be a democrat that have read the history, see how and who founded that party. You all should be ashamed of yourshelves. I going to become a great blk rep politian and I will find a way to bring this to lite. Black read and research your information. I we are the best and we make ourshelves the least when we do not prepare ourshelves for life. All people stay real and motivate to succeed. One love blk people!


Sat Aug 5 2006 3:09 PM


Mr.Martin Luther King was a very good man.RIP

Tue Sep 19 2006 3:37 PM


The Republicans passed the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments. The Dems opposed all of them.

Thu Nov 23 2006 9:29 AM


What do all of these people have in common:

Frederick Douglass
Soujourner Truth
Harriet Tubman
A. Phillip Randolph
Martin Luther King
Booker Washington

They were Republicans!

Thu Nov 23 2006 9:32 AM


Re: Civil Rights Act of 1964: Republicans in Congress voted at 83% in favor, while Dems voted at only 64%. In other words, Republicans put this measure over the top, while Dems like Al Gore, Sr., Robert Byrd, Strom Thurmond and their ilk filibustered civil rights acts in 1957, 1969 and 1964. History sure is an impediment for liberals with an agenda!

Thu Nov 23 2006 9:35 AM


MLK Jr. was killed in April of 1968 - not in 1966.

Sat Dec 2 2006 12:16 PM


When it comes to civil rights in this country, I'm glad SOME people have their facts straight (I thought I was a voice in the wilderness). Most of my black friends (whites also) dismiss the republicans as racist out of hand. The Democrat party’s abuse of blacks (slavery, lynching, beatings, Jim crow laws, KKK, segregation, etc...) has existed for most it's history (oldest political party in the world) and is easily deduced from a study of U.S. history. Why this party still exist is mystery, and that African-Americans overwhelmingly vote for their candidates is an irony of unfathomable proportions.

Wed Jan 3 2007 9:36 PM



Mon Jan 15 2007 3:12 PM


How about judging individuals based on their individual actions instead of commenting on political parties? Our political system, primarily led by Dems & Rep, have haters (past & present). Let's not spend valuable time on debating past legacy; how about doing something today? Its time for "we the people" to vote for individuals you believe will represent your interest. Its unfortunate that we don't think in terms of "good of the Nation", but instead only interested in "good of your interest". I agree with the education comment, everyone, not just Blacks, need to wake-up and educate themselves and understand that no one political group or individual has your best interest at heart but yourself. Educate yourself and your children, the library is free. While at the library, check out Covenant In Action. Today make a concerted change in your actions as consumers. Today, only pay the pastor 5% to keep him and his family fed while your children eat government cheese. Take the other 5% and buy assets (appreciated value versus depreciated value; i.e. mutual fund instead of Nike Air Jordans). The least you can do is save it in savings account. Stop wasting your money on junk-food, junk-music, junk-videos, junk-games, junk period. By-pass the non-African American Businesses and spend your money in African-American Owned Businesses to begin collective economics. Wake up, we live in a capitalist society not a socialist society. If you don't believe me ask the Hurricane Katrina victims. Lets start leveraging our own economic power. Stop letting other cultures in your community rip you off, then treat you like an unwelcome patron. It's your money and your choice. You give them economic power, by allowing them to flourish while your African-American businesses close. Today, you don't see it. But tomorrow, when you no longer have food stores, banks, retail stores, etc in your community and in its place are liquor stores, Pawn Shops, more churches, crime-infested motels, gambling, seedy clubs, etc. What you can do today is buy Black-Owned Black Hair Care Products. Then vote. Get registered and make a commitment to casting your vote. If you have returned from prison and paid your debt to society, petition for your right to vote at your local election office. Do not believe in the lie, you do not loose your right forever! Stop taking the easy way passively complaining, do is time for action!!!

Sun Feb 18 2007 4:13 PM


The fact is that neither republicans nor democrats care about black people. So don't let them fool you.

Mon Jun 25 2007 3:27 PM


Democrats and republicans have their own agenda. Neither goes along with God's Law. So no matter who's in control, the country will continue to go down the drain. It's a shame that people know evil exist but can't recognize when they see it. Haven't we learned by now that people lie. Haven't we learned by now having power and money only makes you want more power and money. And the only way to get lots of power and money is to lie, cheat, and steal from people. I've really learned by now that just because someone says they're christian and that they pray, doesen't make it so. Alot of these people are the biggest DEVILS!

Mon Jun 25 2007 3:46 PM

David Williams:


Republicans believe in equally of opportunity not equality of outcome. Many poor are convinced that income re-distribution is the key to eliminate poverty.

Democrats love to play issue group politics.

The Democrats have always had blocked African Americans from progressing. In the 1820's The Democrats had a to each his own philosophy (similar to todays abortion rights) on slavery.

Republicans declared that slavery was inherently wrong. They were successful in freeing the slaves.

In the 1870's when the democrats and the KKK was terrorizing the southern blacks The Republicans pushed for reconstruction

Theodore Roosevelt had dinner with several prominent african americans such as Booker T Washingon.

President Wilson fired blacks from government jobs and declared the birth of a nation (which was nothing more than a glorified KKK movie) Wilson endorsed the movie saying it was a something that every person should see.

FDR base was the southern segregationalists he did courted their vote which the republican party had since its inception but nothing to improve race relations.

Eisenhower used his rank to desegregate the military then pushed for the civil rights bill of 1957 Which John Kennedy and Al Gore Sr. voted against. The Senate Majority Leader Lydon Baynes Johnson according to his biographer and first hand accounts was the largest opponent of the bill and did all in his power to kill the bill

When John Kennedy was running for President he relied on the same Southern Conservatives that blocked reform for the last century.

At that same time Ronald Reagan would have dinner with mexican and black families from the inner city and hear their complaints. At the same time Kennedy refused to invite friend Sammy Davis Jr. to the inaugural ball. He also opposed civil rights legislation and openly opposed the famous walk on Washington.

When Reagan was governor he hired more African Americans then all other governors combined in its 110 year history... Black Leaders were asked why he didn't not make hire african americans a huge news story Reagan replied well it wasn't an issue they were the best individuals for the job.

In the 1970's prominent Black Americans such as Del Parsons now CEO of Time Warner was the chief of staff of Nelson Rockefeller bid for the Presidency

In the 1980's the Republicans sustained the second african american to the Supreme Court. Colin Powell Condileeza Rice are the incredibly qualified.

Republican party has always had a libertarian ethos and elimination individual discrimination. But not affirmative action which is also called postive discrimination. Like the Republican Martin Luther King people should be judge not on the color of their skin but the content of their character.


It does not differientiate among race it has core values of limited government (can everyone give me the core values of the democratic party?)

In short the Republican party has always pushed for civil rights.

Sun Jul 15 2007 2:39 AM

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