The History of the Alabama Minority Republican Party
Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.
In 1975, the Republican National Committee under President Gerald Ford founded the National Black Republican Council. President Ford wanted to continue the outreach efforts of President Nixon and his African-American capitalism programs. Subsequently, the Republican National Committee reached out to minorities across the country to get involved. The Alabama chapter of the National Black Republican Council was formed in 1976 by Joe Dickson and Richard Finley; both coming from the old Abraham Lincoln Republican Club. It was named the Alabama Republican Council. The National Black Republican Council was established as an advocacy group to be a voice for African-Americans within the Republican Party. The Chairman of the National Black Republican Council and each state council were to have a seat and a vote on the steering committees of both the Republican National Committee and the respective state party.
The Alabama Republican Council worked to increase the number of African-Americans playing an active role in the Alabama Republican Party, and to aide grassroots activities by mobilizing members and providing resources for African-American Republicans seeking public office. During the late 1990’s, the National Black Republican Council was dissolved for reasons unknown, but the Alabama Republican Council under the leadership of Richard Finley, Doug Moore and Dr. Doris Alavera continued to move forward.
The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 challenged the Alabama Republican Council’s mission and strategy. In that same year, George Williams was elected as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Council. Mr. Williams’ vision for the group was to establish relevance in the minority community and to build a younger constituency. Mr. Williams began to reshape the organization by recruiting new members. Two of which would be instrumental in the organization’s resurgence: Ingrid Richardson and Darius Foster. In the following months, George Williams became the first African-American to be elected as Senior Vice Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party; reestablishing the credibility of the minority efforts within the state party.
In early 2009, Ingrid Richardson was elected as the following Chairman of the Alabama Republican Council, and was tasked with continuing to reshape the organization’s brand. In efforts to expand the reach of the organization, Ms. Richardson urged the leadership of the Alabama Republican Council to consider changing the name. The name that she proposed was the Alabama Minority GOP. Along with the name change, she discussed with Vice Chairman Darius Foster expanding membership to all minorities: reaching out to all races, cultures and in most cases women. Her vision was to advocate for the plight of all minorities within the structure of the Alabama Republican Party. Eventually, she was able to get the votes to allow her to change the name of the organization. However, the name change still needed a two-thirds vote of the Alabama Republican Party’s Executive Committee to be ratified. Ms. Richardson devoted her entire term to reshaping the perspective and broadening the mission of the organization.
In the fall of 2010, Darius Foster was elected as Chairman of the Alabama Minority GOP. Continuing the efforts of George Williams and Ingrid Richardson, Mr. Foster grew the membership and established organizational structure. The Alabama Minority GOP now has clubs in Huntsville, Birmingham, and Western Alabama and in Mobile; along with participation across eight counties. The leadership of the organization also cultivated the new reach of the organization, and recruited Caucasian women and Hispanics among its ranks.
Also in 2010, the Alabama Minority GOP tested its influence and went door to door in inner city Birmingham and Mobile for Republican Party candidates. Amongst the statewide success of the Alabama Republican Party that year, the Alabama Minority GOP had a couple more reasons to celebrate. The first was the respectable showing of Les Phillip for Congress in Northern Alabama and also that of Sharon Powe for the Alabama House of Representatives in Mobile. Both of them made history; becoming the first African Americans to pursue those offices as Republicans since reconstruction. Also, the organization was able to assist attorney Dorothea Batiste in being elected as the first African American, Republican female judge in the history of Jefferson County, Alabama.
Lastly, Mr. Foster petitioned the Alabama Republican Party’s Steering Committee and Executive Committee to ratify the name change. It successfully passed in 2012.
To date, the Alabama Minority GOP has been recognized by the Republican National Committee and other groups for its efforts. The organization remains one of the largest of its kind within the national Republican structure, and is the only minority organization in the country to have retained a seat and vote on its state party’s steering committee. Gotta love our state…Sweet Home Alabama!
The Alabama Minority GOP is the minority caucus of the Alabama Republican Party. The organization was founded in 1976. Formerly known as the Alabama Republican Council, the membership voted to officially change the name in 2010. The Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee ratified the name change in 2012.
The mission of the Alabama Minority GOP is to promote conservatism in the minority community, encourage educational and philanthropic initiatives, and to inspire service in the public interest.