The New York Republican Party sent out a statement today in honor of Martin Luther King Day in which they recognize the slain civil rights leader for his “emphasis on personal responsibility, growth of small business and most importantly, the necessary work ethic to achieve the American dream.”
Those values, the GOP notes, “are all fundamental values of our Party,” but it is not clear they would be recognizable to Dr. King. In fact, the Republican Party, once the party of African-Americans in the wake of the Civil War, began to lose support among blacks during the Civil Rights era when the sit-ins and Integration efforts were perceived as an affront to personal property and small business (along with states’ rights, of course.)
Talking about Dr. King can be difficult for the GOP, as this article in Mother Jones demonstrates, since the party evolved in the 1960’s to be a bulwark against the Civil Rights movement and Dr. King himself shifted the focus of his fight to economic justice towards the end of his life. Still, it seems like more than a little of a stretch to count “small business” as one of the things that Dr. King fought for.
The full statement is below:
Today, we celebrate one of the greatest civil rights leaders in the history of the United States of America. We celebrate the life, legacy and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King’s emphasis on personal responsibility, growth of small business and most importantly, the necessary work ethic to achieve the American dream, are all fundamental values of our Party. As one of the most profound visionary leaders and civil rights advocates, Dr. King successfully epitomized the vision our founding fathers had for our country.
Today we honor Dr. King for his courage and leadership as well as all of our veterans and soldiers who continually serve to protect the freedom of all Americans.