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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid