Morrow, a black Republican, quickly found himself on an island. African Americans wanted a stronger stance on civil rights, especially as battles over integration became more heated. Eisenhower was a gradualist, who was concerned that a strong stance for racial equality would alienate the party’s Southern wing.
“I am an appointee, who feels loyalty to the administration, but I am also a Negro who feels very keenly ills that afflict my race in its efforts to secure all the privileges of citizenship that have been denied for three centuries,” Morrow wrote in his diary.
Sixty-five years later, African American Republicans still find themselves on an island. But it is even smaller than Morrow’s, says Leah Wright Rigueur, who teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and is the author of “The Loneliness of the Black Republican.”
Wright Rigueur says black Republicans are caught in a double bind: “Their real struggle is what do you do when you’re a political minority within your racial group, and a racial minority within your political group?” Wright Rigueur says.