What was Martin Luther King Jr's political affiliation?

Steve Klein, a senior researcher with the Atlanta-based King Center, said that King never endorsed candidates from either party. "I think it's highly inaccurate to say he was a Republican because there's really no evidence," Klein said. A King biographer, Taylor Branch, also said that King was nonpartisan.

Rev. Joseph Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with King, said there is no reason why anyone would think King was a Republican. He said King most certainly voted for President Kennedy, and the only time he openly talked about politics was when he criticized Republican Barry Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign.

"That was not the Martin I know and I don't think they can substantiate that by any shape, form or fashion. It's purely propaganda and poppycock," Lowery said. "Even if he was, he would have nothing to do with what the Republican Party stands for today."

On hearing of the billboards sponsored by the National Black Republican Association and claiming that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican, Lowery said "These guys never give up, do they? Lord have mercy."