It helped Smith lay the ground work for his burgeoning new political movement: the Frederick Douglass Republicans.
Smith, a Trussville native and former officer of the United States Army, hadn’t ever been interested in politics. However, he had become increasingly frustrated at what he had seen coming from the government he had sworn to serve and protect and knew he had to get involved.
“I did not like how liberal Democrats and their agenda of transforming the United States into a European-Socialist nation was destroying our country,” Smith said. “I felt a spiritual calling to make a change —which came from a prayer I had in my youth, ‘God, let me do something great for you’. I felt that God was leading me to do something great in the name of freedom and the betterment of our entire nation. In Douglass’ own words, ‘I am a Republican, a black, dyed in wool Republican, I never intended to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.’ That spoke large volumes to me as it should everyone.”
Thus began the movement towards establishing the Frederick Douglass Republicans. Using many of the principles Douglass believed in, Smith highlighted the ideology that has been the mindset of his cause: respect for the constitution, respect for life, belief in individual responsibility and belief in limited government.
“Frederick Douglass beleived in those things,” Smith said. “It was paramount to his overall message, as it is with ours.”
To further promote his organization’s goal of change in America, Smith has focused on five specific objectives: re-igniting America’s passion for liberty, saving the souls of the politically lost, remaking the Republican party, changing how the GOP relates to minorities, and creating an atmosphere of political discourse without the finger pointing of racism.
The phrase “A Frederick Douglass Republican” was given by what Smith considers an inspiration from God to trump the race card played by liberals. According to Smith, if an African-American utters the phrase, it’s akin to evoking the name of a much-loved family member so you’re not viewed as an “Uncle Tom.”
“If someone other than a black person utters the phrase, it piques curiosity and respect so you’re not seen as a racist,” Smith said. “Frederick Douglass is a recognizable icon in the black community as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Liberal politicians in cahoots with liberal media have made the word Republican and conservative synonymous with the word racist. Racism doesn’t have a political face.”
Smith often shares his experiences in promoting the Frederick Douglas Republicans. In 2009, while sporting one of his trademarked “A Frederick Douglass Republican” polo shirts, a young African-American college student who inquired about the meaning of the shirt approached him. This gave Smith the opportunity to engage him and share Douglass’ life-empowering values. According to Smith, in about 10 minutes, approximately 12 other African-Americans surrounded him and listened as he talked.
“They all voted for President Obama in the 2008 General Election and they all left going away with a totally different outlook,” Smith says. “We’ve created an atmosphere where people could present their political views without being accused of racism or Uncle Tomism—impacting politics at the local level.”
To further the efforts on his organization, Smith set up the Frederick Douglass Republican Web site, www.conservativemessenger.com to give individuals additional information about the movement and upcoming events as it relates to the group.
Smith is also quick to point out his ideology and his movement is not confined to African-Americans only, and that many of the participants of his Web site are white.
“Our Web site numbers show that 52 percent of our participants are white, with 45 percent being African-American,” Smith said. “It shows that this is a mantra —like years ago people referred to themselves as a Reagan conservative or a Reagan liberal. It’s a mindset of unity we are sharing to help us reach out to a vast amount of people regardless of their race.”