Last week, Roy Innis, a Civil Rights leader and registered member of the Libertarian Party, died at age 82. He had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease.
Innis’s history of Civil Rights activism dates back to the 1950s when he became involved with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which organized sit-ins and protests of racial segregation. Innis became national chairman of CORE in 1968, and served in that capacity until his death.
Though originally a self-described “black nationalist,” Innis’s views shifted in a libertarian direction upon the shooting deaths of his sons, Roy Jr. in 1968, and Alexander in 1982. He told Newsweek, “My sons were not killed by the KKK or David Duke. They were murdered by young, black thugs.” He strongly supported the NRA and expressed opposition to Affirmative Action.
Innis joined the Libertarian Party in 1998. He considered seeking the party’s nomination for Governor of New York that year, but chose not to run.
Innis may best be remembered for a 1988 appearance on The Morton Downey, Jr. Show during which Innis shoved Rev. Al Sharpton to the ground after Sharpton called him a “bigot” and interrupted him.
A similar incident involving a white supremacist who referred to Innis as an “Uncle Tom” prompted a scuffle on Geraldo, also in 1988.
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