During much of his 2016 presidential run, Donald Trump has struggled to gain the support of the black community.
Even in September, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that “just 3 percent of blacks support Trump,” while 93% backed Hillary Clinton.
In recent months, however, one unexpected figure has stepped up his efforts to change all that: iconic civil rights figure, Clarence Henderson.
— Walter R. Strickland II (@w_strickland) September 15, 2014
During the 1960s, Henderson’s name became a symbol of the fight to end segregation, when he participated in the peaceful sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
To be sure, supporting Republicans is nothing new for Henderson, as he credits them as the party “behind the constitutional amendments that abolished slavery, granted equal protection to freed slaves and gave blacks the right to vote.”
Henderson explained to The Associated Press that the first time he voted for a Republican presidential candidate was with George W. Bush, and he plans to continue his support for the GOP this year.
It’s a trend he hopes other black voters will follow in this election.
“He has proved to be a leader in the business field. Has he done everything right? No, certainly not.
But I think that he has more at stake than Hillary does.”
It’s a stance Henderson expounded on during a CNN interview in August:
“See I come from an era of time known as ‘Jim Crow,’ and I know what racism is and what racism isn’t…
I’m not looking to like Donald Trump, I’m looking at what he will do.
I look at the history of the Republican party versus the history of the Democratic party, and for the last eight years we have been put in dire straights because the policies that have been put in place such as Obamacare…
We need jobs as opposed to things that are happening right now.”
Though Henderson has faced criticism for his support of Trump, he says he doesn’t mind, as he’d “rather be in the minority on the side of justice than in the majority on the side of injustice.”
Whether or not it’s because of the support of men like Henderson, though, Trump has seen a sharp rise in his support among black voters.
A more recent poll, courtesy of Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California, put “Trump’s support among black voters at 20.1 percent — up from 3.1 percent on Sept. 10.”