Fisher gives voice to black Republicans

Dr. Ada Fisher, a Republican National Committee member, spoke Tuesday about issues that make the Republican party relevant to black citizens.
Dr. Ada Fisher, a Republican National Committee member, spoke Tuesday about issues that make the Republican party relevant to black citizens.

Although many are familiar with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s background as a civil rights leader, fewer may know that he was a member of the Republican Party, Dr. Ada Fisher said Tuesday.

Fisher, a black member of the Republican National Committee and a lifelong member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, reminded her audience of King’s political affiliation in her Tuesday speech honoring his legacy.

Junior Justin Robinette, chairman of Duke College Republicans, which sponsored the speech, introduced Fisher as a good representation of what it means to be a black Republican.

“People forget that Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican,” Robinette said. “It would be important for the student body to know that.”

The claim that King was a Republican is disputed by many and it has provoked controversey in recent months after being touted by black conservative groups. King’s niece, Alveda King, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in July that her uncle “was not a Republican or Democrat.”

In her speech to about 20 people, Fisher emphasized that the Republican Party does address issues relevant to black students and citizens.

Fisher described in particular the struggle black students have faced to receive an education, giving Duke and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as examples of schools that did not initially admit black students.

Fisher discussed the contributions of the Republican Party toward the advancement of African Americans, noting that the GOP was originally formed against slavery and that many of the great leaders in North Carolina were Republicans.

“Most of the things that had to do with civil rights had to do with the Republican Party, and most people don’t realize that the Ku Klux Klan came out of the Democratic Party,” she said.

Fisher did commend President Barack Obama, a Democrat, for “putting race on the table” as a major issue on his agenda. She noted, however, that it was a gap that could not be closed by money, but exposure.

“As time goes on, things do change. But not as much as people think,” she said.

Fisher, who is running for U.S. House in North Carolina’s 12th congressional district, said her experiences growing up during the civil rights movement influenced her political views.

Fisher related her experiences seeing both King and Malcolm X in person, and admitted that she was a stronger supporter for the views of Malcolm X.

“I tended to be more of a fan of Malcolm X than MLK. I was one of those butt-kickers who didn’t have the temperament not to fight back,” she said.


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