WASHINGTON — Where did Kristal Quarker Hartsfield get her political views?
It’s a question the 32-year-old native Alabamian says she gets often.
“My family has been Republican since emancipation,” she replies.
Her job is to show fellow African-Americans — 93 percent of whom voted for Barack Obama in 2012 — that they have more in common with Republicans than they might think.
As the Republican National Committee ramps up outreach efforts to African-Americans, the responsibility of implementing that strategy heading in to the 2014 elections falls to Quarker Hartsfield. FULL STORY
With this being Black History Month, it seems like a good time to take out the political trash and clear up a few myths about being a Black Republican. Last month, the North Carolina NAACP State President personally attacked United States Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), essentially calling him a puppet of white GOP leaders, lacking his own voice and independence all because he is a Black Republican. I would argue that it takes far more courage, independence, temperament and resolve to be Black and an active or elected Republican than to be a Democrat. I am a Black man with a long career in civil rights, business and politics. I spent 24 years working for NAACP causes at the local, state, regional and national levels. In 1989, while simultaneously serving as a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors and President of the Grambling State University College Chapter, I joined the Republican Party. What should not come as a surprise is that I was the same guy, with the same passions, and the same concerns the day after I changed my voter registration. However, I had chosen to labor in a different political vineyard and I re-examined my perspective about government. I made a personal choice to be politically active in a place where I believed I could make the most difference on the issues that I cared about the most. I also chose to build relationships, learn from, and advance my ideas with people who were less likely to be familiar with the challenges facing the people living in the Bay View – Hunter’s Point community of San Francisco where I was born. I determined that my political ideology was indeed conservative. Yes, a Black conservative with an almost tormented recollection of the poverty, crime, violence, and death that I witnessed during my teen years in Oakland, CA. This too shaped my political perspective and provides in essence a qualitative context for some of my political points of view. I have never forgotten from whence I have come.
I am a Black Republican. Firm in my own belief system, but constrained with a moral obligation to work with those who may share a different perspective. I believe first and foremost in freedom and the power of individual liberty. I believe in strong and efficient government with limited powers to serve and equally protect the interests of all people. Good government, in a normative sense, operates in the background of your life. Seen on occasion, but by no means should it be an impediment to one’s reasonable pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
I am a conscious conservative. I am forever reminded that it was government that sanctioned slavery as the law of the land, recognized Black people as three-fifths a human being, and that enabled White Supremacy to be the legally backed social order of the country. I am a conscious conservative, vividly aware that it was government that imposed laws denying Black people the right to vote. A tenet so deeply woven into the culture, many government officials dawned KKK hoods by night then terrorized and murdered Black people whose only crime was that they yearned to be free. This year will mark 50 years since the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. There have been many efforts by government to right the wrongs of the past and much progress has been made. I am thankful for the struggle and the sacrifices that have were made.
However, I believe it is counter intuitive for the sons and daughters of the oppressed to expend so much of our intellectual capital pursuing the benevolence of the very institutions that sanctioned the original oppression of our ancestors. Each of us must make use of the freedoms that were fought for and won. We must identify our God given talents, be relentless about education, embrace our destiny, and be responsible for our choices.
Yes, I am a Black Republican. I am vexed with the awesome complexity of the problems facing 40 million Black people in America. I am constantly considering ways to make a difference in the lives of so many, but with only the time and resources to help a few. I choose to seize control of my fate and not be bound by what others my think of me or my journey.
I am a Black Republican. One who understands that there are still faces at the bottom of the well. I am not immune to the pain of real people suffering with real problems, trying to make a way out of what seems to be no way. For, I too am a real person; living two steps from the blues on most days, but optimistic about my possibilities. It would be foolish to believe that my political party choice somehow washes away my experience and perspective on Black life. It just may be that my perspective and experience is different from yours. Legendary NAACP icon Tarea Hall Pittman said to me as a young teen, “Black people need to have a seat at the table wherever decisions are being made.” She did not just say the Democrat table. The point is that the problems of Black America require all hands on deck. No one should be stripped of their legitimacy or be discouraged from making a contribution to solve chronic problems because they are not registered in your political party and they seek a different approach. I will never forget what my good friend former Oakland City Councilman Leo Bazile taught me many years ago, “Two men in a burning house don’t have time to argue.” I don’t have all of the answers, but I believe if you are drowning at the deep end of the pool, the political party of the lifeguard becomes less relevant. It’s time for Black Republicans to lift your voices, force your way to the table, and join the conversation to make a difference.
The Bible teaches us that John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness of Judea. Today, it seems the wilderness is crying out for a John the Baptist. What will you do if the next John the Baptist happens to be a Black Republican?
Last month, Rev. William Barber, President of the NAACP North Carolina State Conference referred to U. S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) as a “A ventriloquist dummy.” Essentially declaring that he is a puppet with White Republican hands at his back controlling what he says and what he does. He never cited his objections about Senator Scott, but everyone understood the code. It is pretty clear that he probably dislikes the fact that he is Black, Republican, and a United States Senator most. Unfortunately, the greater tragedy is that as an elected State President of the NAACP he felt comfortable enough to make his declaration without any fear of reprisal.
This must be one of the low moments of Rev. Barber’s career in civil rights. Prior to this Rev. Barber has seemingly done a great job organizing the NAACP and growing its operations on the ground. However, this statement was a punitive and stunning rebuke from a leader that came off more so as a loose cannon than the seasoned NAACPer that he appears to have been. Rev. Barber’s lack of judgment, in my opinion, was unbecoming of a well-trained and prepared NAACP State Conference President. He seems to have temporarily lost his composure and misplaced the temperament required to lead a civil rights organization in a state once heralded as one of the model state conferences in the country for the NAACP.
The late great Kelly M. Alexander, Sr. set the bar for strong, bold and astute leadership during his tenure as President in North Carolina. So much so, that he went on to become Chairman of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors and made North Carolina proud. Rev. Barber currently serves on the NAACP’s National Board, but his most recent statement about Senator Scott is uncharacteristic of a politically astute NAACP leader that first, recognizes the political context of his service and the need to build relationships that may one day serve the needs of the Association’s members. Rev. Barber just made Hillary Shelton’s job at the NAACP Washington Bureau on Capitol Hill a little more complicated. I guess the Reverend did not consider the political capital lost if the GOP wins the Senate in November and Senator Scott becomes Chairman of an important committee.
Local NAACP branches could always use more help from their State Conference President with fundraising, processing cases, and recruiting young members. Instead Rev. Barber just got caught up in the moment and attacked the only Black United States Senator in the South. Well, so much for the “Advancement of Colored People.” I don’t know the good Reverend Doctor, but I am doing my best to give him a pass for his lapse in judgment. After all, it is Black History Month. I love the NAACP of old, but we must do better than this. I guess he will not be inviting Senator Scott to his church for communion anytime soon. Lord have mercy….
A couple of weeks ago, the president of the North Carolina NAACP insulted Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” said the NAACP boss, William Barber. “The extreme right wing down here finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction, and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party.”
Scott, taken aback, said he had never met Barber. The senator told the Daily Caller:
I did not meet him when I was failing out of high school. I did not see him on the streets of my neighborhoods where too many of my friends got off track and never recovered. I did not meet him when I was working 85 hour weeks to start my business, nor did I meet him when I was running for Congress against long odds. Full Story Here
Republican National Committee Rising Star honoree Chelsi P. Henry
Courtesy of CHELSI P. HENRY
I’m often asked, “When did you become a Republican?” And my answer is the same every time: “I’ve always been one!”
My mother gave birth to me when she was 16 years old, and we received government assistance during the first few years of my life. When I was growing up, she taught me the importance of making a budget and living by it. In our home I learned the importance of having a plan and delaying gratification for the things I wanted or thought I deserved. It meant generic brands instead of name brands and buying what I needed, rather than what I may have wanted. It meant living more conservatively. Full Story
Dozens of my friends have reached out to me regarding what it’s like to stop your career and go back to school FULL TIME! Allow me to offer caution but encouragement. The CAUTION is that you are no longer 20 yrs old!!! Frat/Sorority doesn’t matter, you no longer care where the party is or know the names of the clubs. The Student Union is a place to get your books not hang out with students that could be your children (I hope the men caught that). You cannot re-live the past or try to be in the re-make of Spike Lee’s “School Daze”. My total obsession was achieving a 4.0 GPA and it worked.
The ENCOURAGEMENT is that if you are the oldest person in 95% of your classes you bring life experience and real world perspective to make the reading and class discussions come alive. My children above all became my motivation and that kept me focused. So going to college Full Time after 40 may not work for you. But if you’ve been putting off getting more education, now is as good a time as any. No recession can ever take what’s in your head. As my 80 yr old Grandmother told me ” if your going to live to be a Senior Citizen anyway, you might as well have all your degrees with you when you get there… its never too late” LOL…Classic
Be on the lookout for Leah Wright-Rigueur’s book: The Loneliness of the Black Conservative: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power. David Pesci gives us a preview linked below.