'Revelation' about GOP; Documentary Revisits Party's Civil Rights Roots

Article excerpt

Byline: Robert Stacy McCain, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Nina May speaks with the zeal of a modern-day emancipationist, crusading to rescue the Republican Party's history on civil rights.

"The Republican Party was founded specifically to abolish slavery," says Mrs. May, a writer who lives in McLean. "The first nine planks for the Republican Party dealt with civil rights for blacks. Republicans fought for the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments .. [against] total opposition from the Democrats."

Her quest to bring that history to life has resulted in a documentary, "Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution," which will be shown at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at McLean Bible Church and is available on digital video disc in time for Black History Month.

The film features interviews with black leaders and activists, including Shelby Steele, the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, Deroy Murdock, Armstrong Williams and Star Parker.

"Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution" also connects the present generation of black conservative leadership with the historical civil rights movement through interviews with Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality and son of civil rights leader Roy Innis; Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King; and Gloria Jackson, a descendant of Booker T. Washington.

Ironically, the documentary was inspired by a famous Democrat. Mrs. May said she conceived the idea for the film in December 2002 during the press uproar over remarks by Sen. Trent Lott, in a tribute to Strom Thurmond, that eventually forced the Mississippi Republican to resign his position as Senate majority leader.

"It began with Bill Clinton when he said that all Republicans are racist," Mrs. May said, referring to a televised interview in which the former president accused Republicans of being "pretty hypocritical" in criticizing Mr. Lott's praise for Mr. Thurmond at a celebration of the South Carolinian's 100th birthday.

Republicans had, Mr. Clinton told CNN, "tried to suppress black voting, they've run on the Confederate flag in Georgia and South Carolina. .. So I don't see what they're jumping on Trent Lott about."

Those remarks angered Mrs. May, a white native of Memphis, Tenn., who grew up in Georgia and Florida during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s.

"Coming out of the South, knowing the history of segregation you couldn't be a Republican in the South," she said, recalling the "Solid South" era of Democratic dominance in Dixie. "I'm tired of being called a racist. The Republican Party is the party of civil rights. .. So I said, I've got to do something about this."

She found that others shared her concerns.

"Black conservatives feel there is a double standard out there," Mrs. May said. "A lot of black people are saying, 'There's something wrong with this picture. …