"No Republican questions or disputes civil rights," Paul told an audience at the historically African-American university in the nation's capital. "I've never wavered in my support for civil rights or the Civil Rights Act."
Paul's outreach may have something to do with his consideration of a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, Politico said.
During a question-and-answer session with students, Paul said he "has never wavered" in his support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects voting rights of minorities, but he indicated he does "question some of the ramifications" of the act on business.
Skeptical students listened but said it seemed Paul was focusing on the GOP's Civil War-era past and not its present or future.
"All of his examples were from 100 years ago," Brendon Patterson, a economics major from Chicago, told Politico.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
Ex-Navy SEAL probed over bin Laden revelations