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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs