ALBEMARLE — Five members of the North Carolina Republican Party’s Black Conservative Voices Coalition served as the keynote speakers at Thursday night’s Stanly County GOP meeting in Albemarle.
Addressing a full crowd inside the Stony Mountain Vineyards event venue, the guest hosts held a question-and-answer panel where they shared their testimonies, anecdotes and outlooks pertaining to the current status of the GOP in North Carolina.
Cabarrus County GOP Chairman Addul Ali — a co-founder of The Urban Conservative website and podcast — moderated the panel and provided his personal background relating to how he joined the party and learned about prominent black Republican leaders throughout America’s past.
Ali specifically reflected on the moment he discovered that renowned social reformer and statesman Frederick Douglass was a devoted Republican and loyalist to the party’s platform.
“We have, ladies and gentlemen, a historical backdrop. I love you all, but this party begins with us,” Ali said. “Here’s what I mean by that: abolitionism is the root of Republicanism.”
Forsyth County GOP Chairman Ken Raymond spoke to the crowd next, echoing Ali’s admiration for Douglass while describing how he had ardently researched the Douglass Papers on the Library of Congress website over the years.
Raymond’s deep-dive study of the abolitionist’s work provided the genesis for his new book, “Black Political History: From the Arch of Safety into the Mouth of the Lion,” which was available for sale at the meeting. In the book, Raymond chronicled the extended civil rights efforts by black Americans with an emphasis on their connection to the political world.
“The foundation of the state Republican Party in the southern states is actually former slaves. Black Americans helped establish and create the North Carolina GOP,” Raymond said. “The state GOP organizations throughout the south are basically the legacy of former slaves so that they can keep their freedom.”
Durham County GOP Chairman Immanuel Jarvis appraised the present state of the party and told the crowd that the power of the federal government has outgrown its constitutional scope because Republicans have failed to live up to their values of “personal freedom and responsibility” when it comes to helping the poor.
Jarvis delivered a prognosis: “The government says, ‘Guess what? We have to fill the gap.’ But when they fill the gap, they take three times more money and they’re a third as effective. So for the people in this room, I need for us to be better Republicans.”
U.S. Army veteran Shamike Bethea and coalition board member Justice Early Payton closed out the meeting with a discussion about “The New North Carolina Project,” an initiative founded by former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams that is designed to increase minority voter turnout during the 2022 elections.
The panel members concluded with their belief that increased support for black Republican politicians, such as N.C. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, is crucial to eliminating the cultural stigma around conservative leaders and ideals in the black community.