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5 African-American Conservative Role Models


Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


I consider myself to be a political conservative, and I believe that no matter who a person is or what beliefs they embrace, everyone can benefit from having positive role models to look up to and learn from. While I was growing up in NYC in the 1960s, I found JFK, John Glenn, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to be great role models. One of the things I've never understood is why certain individuals become well-liked among minority groups while others are ignored or demonized. With that said, I have noticed that some of these African-American conservatives aren't shown much acknowledgement or attention, so I'm going highlight some of the reasons why I think these individuals are good conservative role models.

Qualifications of a Role Model

Before I list my picks of excellent Black, conservative role models, I want to address what makes a person worth looking up to. What qualities should a good role model embody? I believe a good role model is a person who...

  • excels at something or has accomplished something great
  • has succeeded in life despite challenges and adversity
  • has made a positive impact on other people
  • is a leader or innovator
  • can communicate well and inspire others

Notice that there is no mention of race, gender, or political affiliation.

Five Great Black Conservatives

As a Conservative, I am baffled by why some people in the Black community seem to shun Black conservatives even though many of them have achieved tremendous successes. Here are a few of my top picks of African American conservatives that are excellent role models.

  1. Thomas Sowell. An economist who is a frequent guest host on the Rush Limbaugh radio show nationwide. He is a conservative thinker and philosopher.
  2. Clarence Thomas. One of nine Supreme Court justices appointed by President Reagan.
  3. Walter Williams. An economics professor and writer who has written for numerous online news sites.
  4. Dr. Ben Carson. A successful brain surgeon who ran for President in 2016.
  5. Roy Innis. An American activist and politician. He has served as National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).

Peter Westbrook

Another great example of a conservative, African American is Peter Westbrook. He is an accomplished African American fencer and Olympian. He started a foundation to help youths channel their energy into the sport of fencing. Here is the Peter Westbrook Foundation story. He also wrote a great book detailing his own struggles growing up. His book is called "Harnessing Anger: The Inner Discipline of Athletic Excellence." It is an excellent read. Westbrook's story of success is inspiring. Westbrook was able to use his fame and talent to create a foundation to help others achieve the same goals. Since its inception in 1987, his foundation has helped over four thousand boys and girls pursue their dreams. Some have even become olympians themselves.

I don't know Mr. Westbrook's personal views on politics. From what I've read and seen in interviews, his message is always a positive one. He believes in each individual's ability to have an impact on his or her own life. With his foundation, Westbrook provided an opportunity for children to succeed, but he did not provide a free lunch. He offered kids a path out of poverty. That is in line with general conservative principles which place importance on helping people to help themselves. He is able to raise millions from private donations and corporate sponsors to help provide kids with an opportunity to improve their lives. Westbrook's story is truly about success and hard work and it's a story that should inspire others to follow his example.

Some Role Models Are Specific to a Group

Besides being a role model for all people, in some cases, a person can be a special role model for a particular group due to their unique experience. For example, a women such as Alice Paul who was a leader in the women's suffrage movement in the 1920s is an excellent role model in general, but she is also an especially good one for girls and women to look up to because she was a woman who advocated for the advancement of women. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is an excellent role model for many Black people because of his efforts to secure equal rights for Black people in the United States. Another good example is Ronald Reagan who became a Conservative icon due to his successful presidency and conservative values.

How Can a Role Model Make a Difference?

To a young person, a role model can be a parent, a teacher, a family member, or a neighbor. They can influence the behavior and development of that person in both positive or negative ways.

As people grow, their options for role models typically expand to include political leaders, celebrities, artists, innovators, and athletes. They can make a difference in how a person chooses a career, develops a skill, or participates in a movement.


I hope many Americans will read the life stories of some of these extraordinary conservatives and learn from their experiences. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I hope more people will imitate these role models in pursuit of their own success.

Some Related Info

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Jack Lee


Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on October 31, 2017:

I have updated this article to include a new role model-Peter Westbrook, Olympian fencer.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 07, 2016:

credence2, as promised, I've created a hub on the topic of crime in the inner cities. Here is the link -


Please take your time and we can discuss the merits...

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on June 06, 2016:

Credence2, I see that you commented as a guest. No need to do that in the future. This hub was chosen by HubPages and moved to a niche site called soapboxie. All you need to do to submit comments is to sign in as your hubpages user and password. Sorry, I have no control over this.

Now, to the question of reducing crime in the inner cities. You have some good ideas and I applaud you for trying. The problem is deep rooted and touches on manny aspects some of which we discussed already such as poor schools and single motherhood and lack of strong roller models in the home. I will address this in a more detailed fashion in a hub. Give me a few days and I will post the link.

credence2 on June 06, 2016:

Greetings Jack,

Lets take a look at 'crime in the inner cities' and what can be done about it.

I may have to defer to the conservative and their ideas about what keeps this going, as other explanations fail to hold water. Unfortunately, this is a cultural norm among too many young black men who resign themselves to the fact traditions means of success are beyond their realistic attainment. I know because there was always a tendency even in my public school days for the Black boys to be in more trouble, to attack those others who did well academically as 'acting white'. These were the source of my 'fist fights'. Why was pursuit of success, acting white? Is all this the result of a general self-loathing? It is not just in inner city areas but in the Black communities in cities where urban blight was not a problem, like Denver. It is a negative cultural norm that we have to eliminate before we can ever move forward. I don't blame conservatives for it, nor the Democrats and the welfare state. This requires a psychiatrist's sofa and I don't have the answers. But many of us escape the peer pressure trap and it can prove as difficult as escaping from the Earth's gravitational well.

As for the current problem of crime, maintain arrests and prosecution of those who break the law. But, we insist that law enforcement and the criminal justice system be applied to everyone, equally.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 21, 2016:

Please take your time. There is no schedule. I am interested in finding solutions.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on May 21, 2016:

Jack, I reference the classic definition of conservatism as opposed to liberalism. That classic definition represents everything for which I do not approve.

It just get annoying as everybody seems to think that the Black Community is without a clue, when most of us know the score and have known it for some time.

I look at people like Harry Belefonte and Sidney Poitier as successful people who were not 'accomodationists'.

I am certainly willing to explore alternate approaches with you. I have been involved in a few other debates within this forum. I have been remiss in some of my reading. I will read this solving youth unemployment and provide a comment so that I can note that I have read it.

Thanks for your patience....

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 19, 2016:

Credence2, I think you are getting hung up on the term "conservative" and putting your definition on it when Conservatism is not for maintaining the status quo. Please read my hubs and show me where that is my position? In fact it is just the opposite. We conservatives believe in a different approach to government, different than what we have in DC today.

So it is your position that because I am not black, I can't recommend role models... I am Asian in case you haven't noticed.

Who would you recommend as a role model for young blacks?

I truly would like to know.

How will we ever get to a solution if you are not willing to explore alternative ways?

Have you read my hub on solving youth unemployment?

Does my proposals sounds like I want to keep the status quo?

I await your proposed solution and welcome a debate.

Credence2 from Florida (Space Coast) on May 19, 2016:

That is the first problem, Jack, if you are not black who can tell US who are role models must be?

In my article "Why Do Blacks Vote Democratic" the history of our conflict with conservative ideology and practice are laid out.

Conservativism by its very definition is the support of the 'status quo'. The capitalist over the worker, the master over the slave, the man over the woman, the white over the black. Who has been the most resistant to democratic change over the last couple of centuries? The conservatives...

Racism in American life has agitated the African-american to demand change, the status quo is not good enough. These men you speak of as proper role models are just accomodationists on behalf of the "Man" and the status quo. There is a reason most Black folks do not generally support conservatives and it certainly is not because they are misinformed or stupid. The loyalty to the left includes all economic classes of Black people. I consider myself well educated and informed and were it not for 'so called' Affirmative Action, I would easily have not been hired regardless of being equally or more qualified than Anglo applicants with which I was competing. I know this because I experienced it personally in my career rise during the 1980's.

As a Black man, that is my opinion...

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 17, 2016:

Tsad, that's good to hear. I welcome you to my hubs. As you may notice, besides being a staunch conservative, I actually want to promote conservatism to the young. I'm also looking for solutions and common grounds wherever I find them. There seems to be a good mix of all political views here on HubPages. That means I may have an impact though it's a tough road.

The Logician from now on on May 17, 2016:

I always check your hubs, you are very astute and write with insight and respect for facts above opinion. I hope those who threw this primary to Trump, who would have never gone anywhere had they been unified from the start (this boggles my mind) learn from their self righteous ignorance and next time, if there is a next time, behave like reasoned adults and not bickering children only wanting to get what they want for themselves.

If it had been different the media would now be in awe of the unity among conservative candidates instead of plastering Trump all over the headlines every time we look and touting how divided the Republicans are. Who wants to vote for a party full of backstabbers.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 17, 2016:

Tsad, you are preaching to the choir. I understand fully what you said. I made the same observation after the 2nd debate. I supported Carson until he dropped out. Cruz was my second choice because he was so demonized by the media. He was able to hold his own until Rubio and Kasich stuck to the end. I never though Bush was a Reagan conservative. He seemed like a nice guy but didn't have the passion to run and lack charisma.

Thanks for checking my hub.

The Logician from now on on May 17, 2016:

Why then didn't they privately address the obvious among all the candidates and if no one would unite then publically pressure conservatives to unite for their mutual cause. Your problem Jacklee is you are buying into their rhetoric, as tehy want you to do, that they are conservatives when all the while they conservatism is taking second seat to their personal aspirations. That is not being conservative. They all divided so they could conquer, but their plans failed because they ignored the obvious. I saw this from the first poll showing Trump at 30% which never changed much, I am a conservative, all these guys, though they may advocate for various conservative principles (as did George Bush remember), in reality they are using conservatism as a ruse to get your vote, plain as the nose on your face and why can't you see that? They, so called "conservatives" played right into Trumps hands who always knew their egos would defeat themselves and they are really not down for the cause.

Their hands were dealt, instead of folding to let conservationism win, they played their cards, all of a different suit and guess what, the Trump card wins.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 17, 2016:

Tsad, I don't think that applied to Cruz. He and Carson are the true Conservatives this time around. Trump and Kasich were the big spoilers.

The Logician from now on on May 17, 2016:

That's my point. They all claimed the mantle of conservationism (including Trump and Bush and Kasich btw) but I can't believe any of them really are conservatives, NONE, because they all cared more about getting themselves elected, taring down each other and forsaking what was an obvious and no-brainer strategy to win for conservatism so like I said the true conservatives would have united behind one candidate.

Reagan was a conservative, when he ran he took the mantle when it was a detriment to getting elected. Now these charlatans, and that is all they all are, take the mantle solely to get elected and if means giving up that win so conservatism can rule the day they all selfishly divided the party, not united it, when uniting around one conservative candidate would have won the primary.

They didn't do that because in their hearts they know there was no real conservative running, just politicians after their own personal gain. There are no real conservatives in politics anymore. Like everything else humans have taken a good thing and selfishly tried to turn it into a way to promote, aggrandize and bring power to themselves.

The primary was the test that revealed the truth which I hve stated. They will all go on claiming their conservatism and pointing to their "conservative accomplishments" but in the end they badly failed the test of true conservatives and I can never trust what any of them say

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 17, 2016:

Tsad, I agree with you that this election cycle has been a disaster for the GOP. However, do not confuse conservative with Republican. There were many candidates that are not Conservative in the sense they still believe in big government being the solution and yet claim to be conservative. I put Trump and Bush and Kaisach in that camp. The two conservative I supported was Carson and then Cruz. We digressed from the main point of my hub. A conservative role model is sorely needed in the black community. It is also missing from the Asian community as well.

The Logician from now on on May 17, 2016:

You know Jackclee, you make some good points about role models but one thing you left out, the one thing that is sadly lacking in all our role models today, especially conservative role models, is being a unifier. If anything most of today's role models are not only unifiers but dividers, putting themselves and their own self interests above unifying to further what they consider principles that make them worthy of being a role model.

Take for example the recent Republican primary. A field of 17 potential role models vied for the position of President of the United States of America claiming to be conservative, yet the result of their quest to further conservatism was they, the so called conservatives split the vote so that one person, Trump, not a conservative wins the nomination.

If the salvation of this country lies in conservatism why would so many "conservatives" willingly and calculatedly attack each other and give the nomination to a candidate like Trump? If they were truly conservatives they would have realized from the start Trump couldn't garner more than about 30% of the vote and to win for conservatism, it was time to unite behind one candidate.

If they believed this to be an important election, one that will determine the future of the Supreme court and save the country from inevitable bankruptcy, and believed that they were all real conservatives and down for the cause what were they thinking?

Which leads me to believe there were no true conservatives in this race, they all merely try to be conservative enough to appear to have the mantle of conservatism, not for the greater good but solely for their own personal advancement and aggrandizement. Not worthy of being any kind of role model for whatever you think is admirable in them could just be a facade to further their own personal legacy of accomplishments as this primary has openly demonstrated.

Jack Lee (author) from Yorktown NY on May 17, 2016:

haha, thanks for catching my spelling error.

Carolyn Fields from South Dakota, USA on May 17, 2016:

A role model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.

A roll model would have something to do with rolls.

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