Here are some facts about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that aren’t widely known by the general public.
He was a Republican
Most people would assume that because Dr. King was black, and fought for the rights of the underprivileged, that he would naturally be a Democrat. But the truth is that by many accounts, Dr. King was a Republican, and more conservative in his views.
It is also little known that in the past, most southern blacks were Republicans due to the fact that Democrats were well known for their racist ideals. They were guilty of championing three ideals that were, and still are, looked down upon by blacks and northerners — slavery, secession, and segregation. Only recently has the Democratic party come to be known as a party that blacks and the underprivileged support. So knowing this, it is not very surprising that Dr. King would decide to associate himself with the Republican party during his lifetime.
According to Earl Ofari Hutchinson, the author of The Emerging Black GOP Majority, some Republicans believe that Dr. King was aligned with them on many issues such as affirmative action and welfare due to certain comments he made in speeches. For example, they say that his quote stating that American’s should not be judged based on the color of their skin meant that he opposed affirmative action. Others believe that this idea is a little far-fetched.
Dedicated Fraternity Man
According to the history of the www.17th-house.com website, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was initiated into the Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. as the number 5 of his line in Spring of ’52. The Sigma chapter (Boston citywide) and the Eta Lambda chapter (Atlanta, GA) of his fraternity are dedicated to keeping King’s memory alive with memorials, presentations, and events. Eta Lambda says on their website that in 1956, Dr. King gave the keynote address at the fraternity’s 50th Anniversary Banquet in Buffalo, NY.
Only Man with U.S. Federal Holiday
As of this date, Dr. King is the only American (excluding U.S. Presidents) to be honored with a Federal holiday. Even the presidents of the U.S. have to share a day (President’s Day), but King has a day all to himself.
The national observance of MLK Day is a controversial issue for some who still believe that no man other than a president is deserving of that honor. Others are thankful that Dr. King is being recognized for his super-human efforts in helping to bring about justice for the oppressed people of the United States.
Bending Right Before His Death
As stated in accounts by Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was with Dr. King on the balcony where he was killed, Dr. King leaned over right at the moment that the gunman fired. Jackson has said that if he hadn’t been leaning down, he would not have been fatally shot in the neck.
“He had just bent over. I reckon if he had been standing up he would not have been hit in the face,” Reverend Jackson is reported to have said, according to the BBC News website.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, “The Hutchinson Report: Martin Luther King a Republican? Not as Far-Fetched an Idea as You Think,” BlackAmericaWeb.com
1968: Martin Luther King shot dead, BBC News
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