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More On My Romney Story

UPDATE: ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SAYS “TOGETHER” MAY MEAN DIFFERENT CITIES, DIFFERENT DAYS


A spokesperson for Mitt Romney now tells the Boston Phoenix that George W. Romney and Martin Luther King Jr. marched together in June, 1963 -- although possibly not on the same day or in the same city.

Romney, according to one piece of written source material provided by the campaign, made a “surprise” appearance at a small march in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, in late June -- several days after King led a much larger march in Detroit. Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom suggests that these two were part of the same “series” of events, co-sponsored by King and the NAACP, and is thus consistent with Romney’s claim that “I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.”

“The record is convincing and clear – George Romney marched with Martin Luther King and other civil rights demonstrators,” Fehrnstrom wrote in an email. 

Fehrnstrom had originally told the Phoenix that the two men marched together in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, either in June 1963 or March 1968, a claim the Phoenix called into question earlier today. An additional source, William LeFevre of the Reuther Library at Wayne State University, who is in charge of the papers of the Grosse Pointe Civil Liberties Association, has since confirmed to the Phoenix that George Romney was not at the 1968 event, and that King was not at the 1963 event.

Fehrnstrom now says that the event in question was King’s “Freedom March” in Detroit on June 23, 1963.

He provides one reference, a 1972 book about Detroit, which mentions that Michigan’s then-governor George Romney “was among the prominent whites marching with Reverend King” in the Freedom March (which the book erroneously says took place on July 23).

However, numerous contemporaneous and historical accounts say that Romney did not participate in the Detroit Freedom March, because it was held on the Sabbath. The New York Times, for example, wrote the next day that “Gov. George Romney, who is Mormon and does not make public appearances on Sundays, issued a special proclamation.”

The Romney campaign also provided one account, from a 1987 book about Detroit, that places George Romney at the march in Grosse Pointe later the same month. A Grosse Pointe historian has told the Phoenix that Romney did not participate in that 1963 Grosse Pointe event.

King did not participate in the Grosse Pointe event, but Fehrnstrom argues that the King’s Freedom March in Detroit and the Grosse Pointe march later that month, were part of the same “series” of marches, co-sponsored by King and the NAACP.

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