Is the GOP "the New Black”?

New billboards in Texas aim to sway Black voters.

Posted: 10/31/2011 08:00 AM EDT

Drivers in Austin, Texas, are likely doing double-takes at the sight of new billboards in their city — and the message reads loud and clear: “GOP is the New Black.”


Conservative group Raging Elephants unveiled three of four billboards last week. On its website, which features articles and videos rallying African-Americans to embrace the Republican Party, the group calls the ads "a gut shot to socialists” and writes: “With perfect timing, or unexpected providence, the ‘GOP is the New Black’ billboards are going to stir up a storm on the ‘plantation.’”


That storm has fueled a tornado of controversy among Black leaders, particularly over one ad that hangs over Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in East Austin, which reads: “Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Republican.”


NAACP President Nelson Linder calls the sign disrespectful. "Martin Luther King was about civil rights and social justice," Linder told an Austin TV news station. "That's not the current Republican party."


Similar signs appear in minority communities within Houston, South Carolina and Ohio. The group’s leader, preacher and conservative activist Apostle Claver T. Kamau-Imani, who has in the past linked the Democratic Party to the Ku Klux Klan, told the news outlet that the idea is to plant a flag in communities of color. Kamau-Imani plans to expand his campaign to other cities with the help of small donations through the group’s website.

(Photo: Raging Elephants)