Sans proof, Republicans run ads claiming MLK was a Republican

The National Black Republican Association is putting up billboards in southern states, including South Carolina and Florida, claiming Martin Luther King was a Republican.

The problem? Those closest to King say it's not true. Joseph Lowery, who founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King, says MLK voted for Kennedy and LBJ, and the The King Center in Atlanta says there's no merit to the claim. The AP adds:

In "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.," which was published after his death from his written material and records, King called the Republican national convention that nominated Goldwater a "frenzied wedding ... of the KKK and the radical right."

"The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism," King said in the book.

The conservative group made the same claim in radio ads aired in 2006. Then, Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis, who marched with King in the '60s, called the ads an "insult to the legacy and the memory of Martin Luther King Jr." and "an affront to all that he stood for." Even Christopher Arps, a former spokesman for the black Republican organization, called the radio ad "a joke." He said, "Anyone with any sense knows that most black people were Republican at one time. But it's a far stretch to think that in the '60s Martin Luther King was a Republican."

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