Every year we collectively “celebrate” the “history” of black Americans and our contributions to the larger fabric of national culture. As long as I can remember we have celebrated inventions and musicians and intellectuals like W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington. Every year we hear those who complain about the month and the fact that black history is celebrated during the shortest month of the year and conversely those who say, “why don’t we have a white history month?”
This year is a little different for me. This year I want to celebrate not only the accomplishments of black Americans but the values that allowed them to achieve such greatness. What values allowed black Americans to succeed in this country despite the obstacles placed in their way? What values propelled Mary McCleod Bethune, Madam C.J. Walker, Warren C. Coleman and others to economic prosperity at the height of legally codified and actual systemic racism?
I would argue that the values they possessed are actually what today we regard as conservative values. God, family, country, fiscal responsibility, moral uprightness, non-reliance on government, and an overall sense that the individual capacity to succeed is not helped, but hindered by ever larger and more intrusive government policies. It was the embrace of these values that allowed the aforementioned folks’ rise to prominence. Contrary to what many social movements assert, the same holds true till this day.
Today we see these same values enshrined in the platform of the Republican Party. It is without doubt the reason so many black Americans are coming back to the Party of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. While radical leftists have taken the helm of the Democrat Party to push Woke social theories that again divide us into warring groups by race and identity, the Republican Party maintains a commitment to the principles of individualism. Those values that allow each of us to chart our own course, to make sacrifices toward our own goals, to succeed by merit and take responsibility for our failures as individuals, are inextricably linked to the American idea of liberty.
This is the ethos of the NCGOP, where a number of black Americans are making modern black history. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, Judge Fred Gore, Melissa Oakley and others are proud Republicans and elected officials representing these values. Within the party itself history is being made by people like Immanuel Jarvis, the first black district chairman and a passionate defender of Republican values. Individuals like Ken Raymond and Harold Eustache Jr. as the first black men to be chair and vice chair of the Forsyth County Republican Party are yet more examples.
The list of black North Carolinians standing up for the quintessentially American values championed by the Republican Party is growing rapidly. I look at my own county of Cabarrus, in which I was elected as the first black man to be chair of the Cabarrus GOP and I can’t help but think that this new history being made is directly connected to the work and efforts of the folks we celebrate every February. The folks that overcame burdens that have no doubt plagued black Americans, not by rejecting American principles of individualism, but by truly embracing them as self-evident truths that are afforded to each and every one of us, not just select groups.
In this time of reflection as we celebrate the accomplishments, let us truly consider the values that support them. Let us share those values with Americans of every ethnic background, as individuals, so as to offer hope and inspiration for reviving an America that once again embraces the American idea as a truth worth defending.
Addul Ali is the chairman of the Cabarrus County Republican Party