The Civil Writer Magazine

"Give Us the Ballot" is a 1957 speech by Martin Luther King Jr. advocating voting rights for African Americans in the United States. King talked very infrequently about his personal politics and was not formally affiliated with either political party. Nor did he explicitly endorse any candidate.

“King Not Backing Either Candidate,” Atlanta Daily World, 2 November 1960).

In fact, he stated, “I don’t think the Republican Party is a party full of the almighty God, nor is the Democratic Party. They both have weaknesses. And I’m not inextricably bound to either party.” One week before the presidential election of 1960, King announces that he has no plans to endorse a candidate but expresses gratitude for the Democratic nominee's concern about his imprisonment: “I hope that this example of Senator Kennedy's courage will be a lesson deeply learned.”

When conservative Arizona Senator Barry M. Goldwater ran for president in 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr., expressed his opposition, explaining: “I feel that the prospect of Senator Goldwater being president of the United States so threatens the health, morality, and survival of our nation that I can not in good conscience fail to take a stand against what he represents” (King, 16 July 1964). King was often tight-lipped about his personal politics but all indicators are that MLK voted democratically. Because as president of the (SCLC) Southern Christian Leadership Conference, from its inception and in its constitution has been to be non-partisan. I am free to be critical of both parties when necessary.