Clarence Henderson, the civil rights hero who first expressed support for President Trump in 2016, will be part of Wednesday night’s lineup of speakers at the 2020 Republican National Convention (RNC).
During the four-night convention, Henderson will try to rally support behind the president and Vice President Mike Pence who are running against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris.
The overall theme of the event will be “honoring the Great American Story.”
Henderson was hailed as a hero nearly 60 years ago when, as a young Black man, he participated in a sit-in at a segregated North Carolina lunch counter. He and fellow protesters were arrested for their actions. However, it sparked similar protests throughout the south which led to the desegregation of lunch counters and other nonviolent protests against racist policies.
He attended North Carolina A&T State University, when, as an 18-year-old, he joined the original four lunch counter-protesters on the second day of their protest. He could no longer live under the official segregation known as Jim Crow, he said.
Henderson has been criticized for supporting Trump, with many taking to Twitter to accuse him of abandoning the principles he fought so hard for more than half a century ago. He shrugged off the criticism, saying he isn’t paying any attention to it.
“Donald Trump is certainly not a politician, and politicians are a dime a dozen, but leaders are priceless,” Henderson had said in an interview.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.