News / USA

Conservative Political Rally Stirs US Civil Rights Activists

Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial

Multimedia

It was 47 years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famed "I Have A Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.  The 1963 March on Washington was intended to change the racial divide in the country between blacks and whites.  By contrast, a different type of rally planned for the site, on the August 28 anniversary of the speech this year, has stirred racial tensions.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed.  We hold to these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal."

Delivered from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King's famous "I Have A Dream" speech 47 years ago changed the country,  and brought about greater racial harmony between blacks and whites.  More than a quarter of a million people gathered for that march on Washington on August 28, 1963.

Howard University Political Science Professor Lorenzo Morris says it was a defining moment for the U.S. Civil Rights movement and the country's history.

"The 1963 March on Washington set not only a value framework for the minorities who participated and the progressive whites who joined African-Americans, but also for the nation.  Its acceptance after the fact meant that the nation had to change directions not just because of the laws, but because we recognized the shared values of greater racial and social integration," Lorenzo said.

Decades later, social and civil rights activists are upset that Glenn Beck - a popular conservative commentator and talk show host - is holding a large-scale rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of King's speech.  They accuse Beck and followers of the conservative "Tea Party" political movement of deliberately picking the date to distort King's message.

Rick Turner of the NAACP says Beck and elements of the Tea Party movement are using an icon like King to create division.

"Their philosophy is diametrically opposed to those of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his legacy and his message," Turner said.

Virginia Tea Party member Carole Thorpe says while she understands the concerns of some civil rights activists that the purpose of the event, named "Restoring Honor," is something everyone can support. "I'm sensitive to the sensitivity people who think this it is a bad idea and something that's offensive to them. It's non political, it's non partisan. It's to honor the U.S. military," she stated.

Glenn Beck says it is a coincidence his rally is taking place on the anniversary of the March on Washington.  He says the organizers initially planned to hold it on September 12th, but changed the date so more people could attend.  But critics like the NAACP's Rick Turner say it is also inappropriate that the National Rifle Association is a partial sponsor of the event, considering that Martin Luther King was assassinated by gunshot.

"There is enough room at the Lincoln Memorial for other groups.  It is a big place," Turner said. "But I think it is a poke in the eye of the civil-rights movement and the legacy of Martin Luther King."

Neither Beck nor the NRA have commented on that point of criticism.  Despite their claim of coincidence, Professor Morris says, he thinks Glenn Beck and supporters of the Tea Party movement realize the importance of the anniversary of Dr. King's Speech.

"Glenn Beck and others today want to do something to steal part of that legacy.  The praise of the legacy indicates its importance.  They want to somehow transform it or to distort it into something that the people they represent shared in, rather than in some ways resisted," Morris said.

Civil-rights activist Al Sharpton and his National Action Network along with the NAACP, the largest U.S. civil-rights organization, will also hold a march nearby - saying they want the true legacy of Dr. King's Dream to be remembered.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More