Roy Innis

Roy Innis (Board Member)

Roy Innis - NRA Board Member
Chairman of Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)

Roy Innis was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1934 and moved to the United States with his mother in the 1940s. Innis worked as a research chemist before becoming involved in the civil rights movement. Starting as a member of the Harlem Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) in 1963, Innis quickly rose through the organizations’ ranks, becoming National Chairman by 1968. A self-proclaimed black nationalist, Innis radically changed the mission of CORE, which was founded as a passive resistance organization with the goal of integration. Under Innis, CORE has instead advocated for economic competition with whites while stating that “integration as an end in itself is as dead as a doornail.” In the words of Mother Jones, “CORE is [now] better known among real civil rights groups for renting out its historic name to any corporation in need of a black front person. The group has taken money from the payday-lending industry, chemical giant (and original DDT manufacturer) Monsanto, and ExxonMobil.” James Farmer, the founder of CORE, has accused Innis of running a “fraudulent” organization and called him “an American Idi Amin.” In fact, Innis has previously stated that, “The monies of CORE are my money and CORE is my organization and I'll run it the way I see fit.”

Controversial Actions and Statements

Controversial Actions and Statements:

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Roy Innis (Board Member)

On October 31, 2011, the Washington Post reported that Prosperity USA, a private charity run by two top aides to 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, gave $100,000 to Innis’ Congress of Racial Equality Organization (CORE) shortly before Cain spoke at CORE’s annual “Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Celebration” dinner. Speaking about Cain at the event, Innis said, “In this case we are even more pleased to bring the Tea Party people to our dinner as they have exemplified the spirit of Dr. King and are living the legacy that he helped establish in American politics.” Prosperity USA is facing scrutiny for a $37,372 donation to the Cain campaign that may have violated campaign finance laws (under federal law, non-profit charities are not allowed to donate to political campaigns).

Political Corruption | Republican Party (GOP) | Race
2011-10-31

Roy Innis (Board Member)

On October 25, 2011, Innis described 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain as “an idea that was trying to be expressed for a long time by black America but was stifled by the left-wing establishment.”

Republican Party (GOP) | Race
2011-10-25

Roy Innis (Board Member)

In August 2011, Reverend Eric Rapaglia apologized to the public for hiring white supremacist Frank Borzellieri as the principal at a
Bronx Catholic school. Rapaglia said, "Neither myself, nor any of the members of the search committee knew of Mr. Borzelleri’s political writings at the time of his hiring. In addition, it is my understanding that Mr. Borzelleri had the support of many minorities including Roy Innis, the national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a black civil rights organization." Borzellieri—who believes that African Americans and Latinos are genetically inferior to whites—claimed that Innis has said, “I am proud to call Frank Borzellieri my friend.”

Race
2011-08-04

Roy Innis (Board Member)

On January 25, 2011, Innis rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange “to highlight the 25th anniversary of the observance of the Martin Luther King holiday.” Innis was joined by FOX Business News Anchor Charles Payne.

Fox News |
2011-01-25

Roy Innis (Board Member)

Then-American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene presented Innis with the John M. Ashbrook Award at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference and said, “There is no living American I admire more than Roy Innis.” The award is named after one of the founders of the ACU who served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 21 years as a Republican from Ohio. In his remarks, Innis warned of “a growing tyranny in our country” and said the candidates for the 2008 presidential election were “some of the most dangerous people to ever run for the presidency of the United States.” Speaking on the influence of CPAC, Innis said, “We have developed some skills. We are able to influence the Republican Party, and nudge it, and push it in certain directions. Let us teach those skills to our young brothers in the Tea Party.”

Republican Party (GOP) |
2010-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

On March 18, 2008, Innis spoke at a press conference held by the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity prior to testifying before the Wisconsin state legislature on climate change. Innis said, “The economic crisis we are in now, can be solved with just letting people know the facts. Let them know that the right thing to do is not what they have been doing, which is going along with the environmentalist radicals … Ordinary people are good people, they want to do the right thing. Unfortunately we have sat idly by and have allowed them to think the right thing is to follow the radical environmentalists … It is crazy that we have environmental policies that prevent us from using some of the best resources we have. We have, on a per capita basis, more coal than anyone else in the world. We have a lot of gas. And we have a lot of petroleum too—up in ANWR [Artic National Wildlife Refuge] and the coastal areas. We are a rich country, rich in resources, rich in energy, potential energy, and we have laws that prevent us from maximizing it.” Americans for Prosperity is a corporate-backed “astroturf” organization that promotes Republican and corporate interests. President Obama has criticized the group by saying, “Right now all around this country there are groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity, who are running millions of dollars of ads against Democratic candidates all across the country. And they don't have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don't know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don't know if it’s a big oil company, or a big bank.”

Lobbying Activity | The Environment
2008-03-18

Roy Innis (Board Member)

The Environment
2008-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

In 2006 Innis—whose CORE organization has taken money from original DDT manufacturer Monsanto—said, “We are fighting the same battle, for the liberation of black people. In the past that meant taking on old racists and colonialists—now it means challenging environmentalists too.” Innis also claimed that European Union restrictions on the use of DDT are “killing black babies.” Medical research has linked human exposure to DDT to diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and reproductive problems, including miscarriages, developmental disabilities, and premature births. DDT is also a “probable human carcinogen,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Lobbying Activity | The Environment | Race
2006-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

A former CORE fundraiser said that the organization raised money under Innis’ direction in 2002 under the pretense of “welfare reform” and used it to support conservative causes. The fundraiser called this development scheme a “racial hustle.”

Race
2002-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

A CORE dinner to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday on January 17, 2000 featured far right wing Austrian politician Jörg Haider as an honored guest. Before his death in 2008, Haider was criticized for frequent remarks in defense of the Nazi party and Wafen SS.

Repressive Regimes | Race
2000-01-17

Roy Innis (Board Member)

Innis called conservative radio host Bob Grant personally to invite him to attend a 1998 dinner honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. Grant is infamous for his racist statements, which include the following remark: “They're not satisfied with every third street being M.L. King Boulevard, you know, named after that scumbag Marty." Grant has said he and Innis “have been good friends for many years.”

Race
1998-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

In a 1989 appearance with Rev. Al Sharpton on “The Morton Downey, Jr. Show,” Innis became enraged and physically assaulted Sharpton.

1989-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

1n 1988, Innis defended sports commentator Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, who was fired from a number of jobs after claiming that African Americans were better athletes because of slave breeding. "Jimmy the Greek spoke the truth," Innis said.

Race
1988-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

In 1986, Innis was forced to pay $56,000 in back taxes as well as $28,000 in civil fraud penalties after the IRS discovered that he had used unreported income from CORE for personal expenses including travel, rent, jewelry and entertainment.

Political Corruption |
1986-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

Innis offered to fund the legal defense of the then-fugitive “Death Wish” gunman, a white man who shot four black teenagers who tried to rob him of $5 on a subway train on December 22, 1984. The gunman was later to be revealed to be Bernard Goetz, who Innis called, “the avenger for all of us.” Innis also called for a "volunteer peace officer" force of armed civilians to roam the streets of New York City. “After enough criminals get blasted, they will conclude that crime does not pay, he said. "Some black man ought to have done what [Goetz] did long before. I wish it had been me.

Vigilantism
1984-11-22

Roy Innis (Board Member)

In 1984 Innis testified as a character witness for political activist Lyndon LaRouche in his slander lawsuit against the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), defending LaRouche against charges of racism and anti-Semitism.

Race
1984-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

Innis utilized the CORE infrastructure to falsely accuse a man of being responsible for the “Atlanta Child Murders” in April 1981. Innis threatened his supporters would “make the collar” if the police did not detain the man, who was later dismissed as a possible suspect. An editorial published in The Bulletin, an Oregon newspaper, accused Innis of using his claim to have broken the serial killer case as a ploy to “solidify himself as the head of CORE” during a “serious leadership fight and membership fight.”

Vigilantism
1981-04-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

In 1981, CORE paid $35,000 to settle allegations of illegal fundraising techniques.

Political Corruption |
1981-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

In 1976, Innis recruited a 600-man “peace brigade” to support the forces of Jonas Savimbi’s apartheid-backed UNITA rebel organization in Angola. U.S. intelligence sources indicated that Innis’ men—most of whom were combat veterans—were actually mercenaries recruited to fight in the Angolan civil war. The brigade was to work under the mandate of the Organization of African Unity, which was led by Ugandan dictator and UNITA supporter Idi Amin. Human Rights Watch described UNITA as “a rebel group led by Jonas Savimbi, [that] killed, abducted, and terrorized civilians with impunity.” The United States Institute of Peace wrote that “Savimbi is indeed responsible for a litany of crimes against humanity.” UNITA employed child soldiers throughout the Angolan Civil War, which lasted from 1975 to 2002.

Repressive Regimes | Race
1976-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

Innis was a "supporter" of Idi Amin, the Ugandan dictator accused by human rights groups of being responsible for the deaths of up to 500,000 people. Innis awarded Amin a lifetime CORE membership and claimed, “Ugandans are happy under General Amin’s rule of Africa for black Africans.” “He has the ability to make decisions, unlike other leaders who theorize but do not execute,” Innis said of Amin. He was also supportive of Amin’s decision to expel 50,000 Asians from Uganda. Asked how he could support Amin, a known admirer of Adolf Hitler, Innis said, “We have no records to prove if Hitler was a friend or an enemy of black people.” In return, Amin awarded Innis Ugandan citizenship in 1973.

Repressive Regimes | Race
1973-01-01

Roy Innis (Board Member)

In 1970, Innis embraced the doctrine of “Separate But Equal,” proposing to divide integrated school districts into pairs of schools districts; one which would be predominantly white, the other predominantly black.

Education | Race
1970-01-01
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