Who's Down With the GOP?: Famous Black Republicans

This list of African-American Republican actors, sports stars and politicians may surprise you
ESSENCE.COM Oct, 29, 2008

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This list of African-American Republican actors, sports stars and politicians may surprise you

Former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael S. Steele has been described as a conservative Republican. Steele is a practicing Catholic and even spent three years as a seminarian in the Order of St. Augustine, preparing to become a priest.

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A moderate Republican, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was the first African-American appointed to that position by President George W. Bush.

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Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is known for his conservative, Republican views. Who would have guessed he grew up in a rural town outside of Savannah, Georgia, speaking in a Gullah dialect during his formative years.

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A Rudy Guiliani supporter, Ward Connerly is the founder and president of the American Civil Rights Institute, a group which opposes the idea and enforcement of affirmative action.

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Barack Obama isn’t the only Black man running for president. So is Republican turned Independent and former U.S. Foreign Service staffer Alan Keyes. Not one to give up, Keyes ran for the job of president in both 1996 and 2000.

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Former Chairman and CEO of Time Warner Richard Parsons started his career working as an aide for Nelson Rockefeller. He became what he describes as a “Rockefeller Republican,” someone who is conservative on economic matters, and more liberal on social issues.

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We all know him as Lt. Martin Kendall, Denise’s husband on “The Cosby Show,” and his countless other acting roles. But did you know actor Joseph C. Phillips is also National Co-Chair of the African American Steering committee for Bush-Cheney 2004 and a member of the Republican National Committees African American Advisory Board?

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Angela McGlowan was once Miss District of Columbia USA 1994. Today, she’s a Republican political analyst for the Fox News Network and frequently appears on PBS’s “To The Contrary, America’s Black Forum.”

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Close friend of Ann Coulter, and rumored beau, Walker turns 70 on June 25.

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Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice is quoted as saying at the 2000 Republican National Convention, “The first Republican that I knew was my father, John Rice. And he is still the Republican that I admire most. My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did.”

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Tennessee native and former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and first round draft pick Lynn Swann ran and lost on the Republican ticket for governor of Pennsylvania in 2006.

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Former Oklahoma congressman J.C. Watts has recently criticized his own (Republican) party for neglecting the Black community. Watts is a former Southern Baptist associate pastor and once played professional football in Canada.

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Boxing promoter Don King was a key presence at 2004’s Republican National Convention, helping to re-elect President George W. Bush. He’s quoted on his Web site as saying, “I believe in him. He says what he means and means what he says. I like the way he stands up. He also put two blacks in very important posts in his cabinet, and that speaks volumes for the man.”

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Former pro basketball player and staunch Republican Karl “the Mailman” Malone was once a member of the National Rifle Association, just like lifelong member and John McCain’s VP pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

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African-American political commentator and radio talk show host Armstrong Williams is a third generation Republican who once served as confidential assistant to the then chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

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