Conservative Spotlight: CORE


Most prominent black “civil rights” organizations, having many years ago achieved victory over segregation and institutionalized discrimination against black Americans, have taken up an entirely different agenda. Often they now appear dedicated to institutionalized racism against white and Asian-Americans (otherwise known as affirmative action), and, by opposing school choice, to promoting the stagnation of the United States’ inner cities and the nation’s educational system. For most conservatives it seems clear that these groups are interested only in inflaming racial animosities for the benefit of a black political elite. One venerable black civil rights organization, the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), however, has chosen not to follow that path CORE “was founded in the summer of 1942, about 20 years before that dark day in Birmingham, Ala., when four lovely and innocent lives were snuffed out by the Ku Klux Klan,” wrote CORE’s National Chairman, Roy Innis, on the group’s website about the infamous church bombing in which four black girls died. “In those years, CORE openly and directly challenged the segregation laws of the South using Gandhi-like non-violent civil disobedience tactics.”

The conservative Innis took over the leadership of CORE after the civil rights movement’s big legislative victories. “Innis was elected national director of CORE in 1968,” says the group. “In the same year, he drafted the Community Self-Determination Bill of 1968 and garnered bipartisan sponsorship of this bill by one-third of the Senate and over 50 congressmen. This was the first time in U.S. history that a bill drafted by a black organization was introduced into Congress. Responding to the continuing crisis centering on school integration, Innis offered an alternative plan consisting of community control of educational institutions.”

Innis’ son, Niger, is now national spokesman for CORE. Niger Innis explained how conservatives have lost anything more than a foothold in the black community since the 1960s. “Many principled conservatives were involved in the civil rights movement. More Republicans, proportionally, voted for [LBJ’s] civil rights bills than Democrats. But liberal Democrats got the credit. . . . In the 1960s and 1970s,” he said in a recent interview, “conservatives did not come up with an alternative civil rights agenda. They just opposed the liberal agenda.” But now, he said, conservatives have a civil rights agenda: educational vouchers, school choice, faith-based initiatives. “These have appeal in the black community. Black Americans, as you get younger and younger, my age and younger, are more independent-minded.”

CORE opposes racism, so it opposes affirmative action programs that depend on discrimination. It supports Americans’ right to bear arms, not seeing the outlawing of guns as the way to solve inner-city violence.

“We sound the alarm-beware of racial racketeers advancing questionable, pseudo-racism,” wrote Roy Innis. “Beware of charlatans and racial hustlers preaching that America is rampantly still racist for their own, personal aggrandizement. While residual racism exists, one cannot find the benchmarks and signs of racial segregation anymore.”

Niger Innis expressed outrage at the homosexual rights movement’s use of the black civil rights struggle as a comparison, once again on display in the recent attack on Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.). “Outrageous. Outrageous,” said Innis. “You look at people who are homosexual every day and do not know. There are people like Michael Jackson, but for most of us, it’s pretty obvious that we’re black.” Black political leaders back the homosexual lobby, said Innis, out of “ideological convenience. They are married to the homosexual movement. The black community socially is quite conservative. But their leaders, our leaders if you will, those who pretend to speak for us, are paralyzed by their alliances.”

CORE runs several programs to help black Americans, including one called “Project Independence” that teaches welfare recipients self-sufficiency and another that encourages fighting against crime, even to the point of making citizens’ arrests. “On the occasion of a citizen’s arrest the authorities are contacted immediately, and the suspect turned over to the police,” says CORE literature. “CORE’s crime fighters’ motto is: ‘LET’S MAKE THE STREET SAFE FOR CITIZENS AND UNSAFE FOR CRIMINALS.’ In addition, CORE offers counsel, guidance and social services to crime victims and encourages them to pursue criminal charges against suspected felons.”

Niger Innis emphasized the younger black generations’ increasing detachment from liberal Democratic dogma and had some suggestions for President Bush’s advisors for winning more than the paltry 9% of the black vote that Bush received in 2000. “No more James Byrd unanswered,” he said, noting that Republicans should have responded to the NAACP’s demagogic media campaign that suggested Bush was somehow responsible for the murder of Byrd in Texas. “Education. That is the issue that gives black families whose children are trapped in failing schools nightmares. And the faith-based initiative. The solution to many of the problems in the black community are faith-based.”

CORE may be reached at 817 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10003 (212-598-4000; fax: 212-598-4141; e-mail:; website: