Bennett Recalls Encounter With King

Jan 21, 2013

Visitors to the office of Ohio Republican Chairman Bob Bennett over the years have been greeted by a somewhat ironic image. It's a photograph of Bennett in October 1967 with civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

They were at Lancer's Steakhouse in Cleveland with a group of black business and political leaders. King was there campaigning for Carl B. Stokes, who became the first big-city black mayor in the country. Bennett was campaign manager to Seth Taft, Stokes' Republican opponent. Bennett says when King was assassinated less than six months later, their meeting sealed his belief in nonviolent political change. Bennett says displaying the photo reminds him of the need for mutual respect in politics and continuing to strive for racial diversity in public office.