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Civil Rights Leader & Libertarian Party Member Roy Innis Dies

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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  1. Cody Quirk Cody Quirk January 26, 2017

    RIP Brother.

  2. Root's Teeth Are Awesome Root's Teeth Are Awesome January 25, 2017

    Longtime New York City conservative radio talk show host, Bob Grant, was a big fan of Roy Innis.

    Grant often attacked Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Then, when Grant was was accused of racism, he’d praise Innis, Thomas Sowell, and Clarance Thomas, using them as examples of blacks that he admired.

    Grant interviewed Innis a few times, and said he wished all black civil rights leaders were like Innis.

  3. paulie paulie January 19, 2017

    I deleted him, and it looks like wordpress deleted his blog. About time they did that. Please do not reply to him in the future, it makes the moderators’ job here harder. Out of respect for Roy Innis, if you wish to follow up on that subject please do so in open thread.

  4. Andy Andy January 19, 2017

    “Jay” is obviously a government troll.

  5. Tony From Long Island Tony From Long Island January 19, 2017

    ” . . . . .Speaking of people dying… . . . . ”

    Yeah . . . nothing like denigrating someone on their deathbed . . . . Stay classy!

  6. William Saturn William Saturn Post author | January 19, 2017

    “I then wondered whatever happened to Roy Innis because I had not heard anything about him in many years.”

    He died on January 8, so maybe you heard something subconsciously.

  7. Andy Andy January 19, 2017

    This is a pretty wild and eerie coincidence, but the name Roy Innis popped into my head a day before this happened. I watched a YouTube video where Larry Elder was interviewing Thomas Sowell about his recent retirement from writing columns (Sowell is now 86 years old, however, he said that he just because he is no longer writing columns, it does not mean that he is necessarily completely retired from writing or speaking about politics), and this made me think of a ballot initiative petition that I worked in California back in 2002 that was anti-Affirmative Action. It was called the Racial Privacy Initiative, and it was to remove racial check off boxes from college and employment applications. This initiative received funding from a national organization that was headed up by a guy named Ward Connerly.

    Larry Elder, Thomas Sowell, and Ward Connerly are all black men who took a principled stand against Affirmative Action, as was Roy Innis, and of course Walter Williams.

    This made me think of the 1998 Libertarian National Convention which was held in Washington DC. I did not attend this convention, but I watched it on C-SPAN (I think I still have it on a VHS tape that’s packed away somewhere). Larry Elder was a speaker at that convention. Roy Innis was there as well, and I think that he was also a speaker. I remember hearing about Roy Innis joining the Libertarian Party. I recall Roy Innis asking Larry Elder to join the Libertarian Party on stage during that 1998 Libertarian National Convention, and Elder turned it down.

    I then wondered whatever happened to Roy Innis because I had not heard anything about him in many years.

    The next day I come on IPR and read that he died.

  8. George Phillies George Phillies January 19, 2017

    He was at at least one NatCon appreciably after he joined. I met him there. He seemed ot be a good person, from our short conversation. It is a shame he is no longer with us.

  9. Mark Mark January 18, 2017

    Did he remain involved with the Libertarians after he joined? I remember the party made a big deal about it at the time but did not hear of any involvement he has with the LP after that.

  10. Bondurant Bondurant January 18, 2017

    Thanks for posting. News of Mr. Innis’ passing was missed by me.

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