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Black Conservatives Voice Support for Glenn Beck Rally

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Glenn Beck's "Rally to Restore Honor," set for Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, has stirred controversy because of it's timing (the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech) and its location (the same spot where King delivered that speech).

While plenty of people are also questioning Beck's motives, some black conservatives have been outspoken in their support.

Alveda King -- Martin Luther King's niece -- will participate in the rally. She recently wrote: "When I join Beck and all gathered at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, I will talk about my Uncle Martin and the America he envisioned. I will talk about honor and character and sacrifice. I will be joined by those who represent the diversity of the human race."

In this sense, many view the "Restoring Honor" event as a chance to continue the spirit of King's dream, even if most of the attendees are white.

L. Herman Cain, Alveda KingAsked for his opinion of the rally, Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather's Pizza who is considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, said, "I think that's great! I find it amusing that some people would even raise the question [of its appropriateness]."

Others note that Saturday's gathering is consistent with King's legacy, which many observers argue was patently conservative, especially his belief that people should be "judged not by the color of their skin, but the content of their character."

"Doctor King had a reverence for human dignity and freedom," said Ken Blackwell, a senior fellow at the Family Research Foundation who was also the first African-American elected to a statewide office in Ohio. "He believed that our human rights came from God, that they were not granted from government. Those who go to the Mall to protest the trampling on our human rights and the sovereignty of the individual by big government do so in the finest tradition of Doctor King."

Other black conservatives pushed back against the notion that anyone -- regardless of any race or political ideology -- "owns" the legacy of Martin Luther King.

Bob Parks of the Media Research Center, argued that both King and the Lincoln Memorial are icons that belong to all Americans: "Since Dr. King never declared ownership of black people, like liberals [do] today, especially those who denigrate anyone of color who doesn't think and vote the way they so authorize, I don't believe he'd be a narcissist and declare that location and date his and his alone."

As conservative blacks voice support for Beck's rally, at least one is concerned that blacks may feel pressured to attend the Rev. Al Sharpton's counter-rally, "Reclaiming the Dream," which will occur simultaneously. Bishop Harry Jackson, the pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., who plans to attend Beck's rally, wrote:

"Rallying with Beck may temporarily bring a backlash of ridicule and rebuke to many of the black civic and religious leaders who join me. Long term, however, the courage of these leaders will point the way and embolden others. Despite any personal discomfort, we feel that it is time to make a real change."

The fact that Beck's rally has become a divisive issue is evidence that Dr. King's dream of a colorblind society has not been fully realized. Yet it's also abundantly clear that when members of both political parties claim ownership of King's legacy, the civil rights leader truly belongs to the ages -- and that's a very good thing. You know your ideas have gone mainstream when everyone cites you as a hero.

Those with a liberal political agenda, of course, may fear King's legacy is being co-opted, but shouldn't the fact that a white conservative is choosing to honor King -- ostensibly, that will be at least part of this rally -- be applauded, not condemned?

One hopes that both events serve to unite Americans around Dr. King's dream, and to put the divisive racial politics of the past behind us.

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36 Comments

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neurokrome

My sincere apologies to Matt Wilson for misrepresenting his article, Black Conservatives Voice Support For Glenn Beck Rally, in my comment from August 28. Re-reading the article, I'm stunned to realize, that as part of my response to the preceding readers' comments, I attributed another article's biased innuendo to Matt's balanced and objective reporting. An embarrassing mental lapse made even more embarrassing by the fact that I agree with his observations. Again, my sincere apologies.

September 02 2010 at 4:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Brandy

I just want to thank you, Matt Lewis, for providing us with a non-biased article which provides examples of black Americans supporting, not condemning, this rally. The rally exercised the same freedom as that of MLK's speech 47 years ago - freedom of speech. So thank you, Mr. Lewis, for supporting that freedom and having a voice, instead of bowing to hypocrisy as so many other columnists have.

August 30 2010 at 2:01 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
teacherwinslow

Were any of them actually there? It looked like a see of white folks.

August 29 2010 at 1:07 PM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply
sweetbabi3

The Rally today was a beautiful event. We have a rally talking about getting back to God and the basics of what our founders believed this country should be and the way that people should behave towards each other. I love Palin and Beck and Alvedia King was just another plus to this event. She is a conservative, as was MLK. Did you know he was a Republican? yes, he was. Today talked about our country loving God, and the singing, and prayers were wonderful. This was a truly blessed and wonderful day. I was wishing my daughter, who loved this country could have been there. Her phones ring with America the Beautiful. I have her flag flying outside. She is dead. Suddenly wihtout warning. We had just had dinner and I got the knock a 12 midnight. I cried today when I heard the bagpipes and the beauiful words and singing. It was wonderful.

August 28 2010 at 11:07 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
neurokrome

Interesting. The posted comments fall in one of two categories only. Those who honor the values of Martin Luther King and look to re-affirm the noblest of America's principles for all Americans. And those who are anti-Glenn Beck. Which category possesses loftier intentions? Are detractors willing to kill the message for an opportunity to shoot the messenger? Columnist Matt Lewis implies, not too subtly, that a mostly white crowd at the event represents an intrinsic failure of the message. To the contrary, the fact that Americans have gathered in affirmation of Martin Luther King's call to judge an individual by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin is an occasion of genuine Hope.

August 28 2010 at 5:13 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
josevs2

DR. KING IS REVERED BY BOTH BLACK AND WHITE. HIS COURAGE TO DO THE THINGS HE DID SHOWED ALL AMERICANS THE WAY TO INTERGRATION. DR. KING BELONGS TO ALL HUMANITY AND ISIN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN . MANY WANT TO CLAIM HIM BUT HE WILL GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS THE PEOPLES REVOLUTIONARY.

August 28 2010 at 3:11 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

Actually it had nothing to do with Dr. King until Sharpton brought it out into the main stream media and the park service mentioned it to Beck. No one owns the Lincoln Memorial or dates. they don't shut down Dealey Plaza on November 23. Does anyone know the date the Gettysburg address was given? What was on the mall last year on August 28, 2009 it surely wasn't a tribute to Dr. King. The reason I did not go was I knew there would be religious overtones and I'm not religious but I do support Beck or anyone else wanting to speak about the Wounded Warrior project and his asking for money to support our wounded military.

August 28 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JoanJoan

I think a person shows his lack of intelligence by resorting to name calling and using hateful words to describe someone's actions or inactions. Perhaps, if these hate filled, biased individuals would start to think for themselves instead of feeding off someone's hate mongering retoric, they would become part of the solution to America's problems instead of contributing to the problems she faces.

August 28 2010 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
mhphammes

There have always been house slaves who supported slavery because they were on the inside of the home playing like it was theirs. Turning a blind eye to the field slave is what allows these morons to think in their elitest, narrow and short-sighted manner. Conservative or not, the best argument against Beck is the words and tactics Beck uses to make his racist, sexist, classist, fear mongering remarks. It is just sad that anyone thinks what Beck says is good for anyone but a select few confederates. Even during the height of the most vicious history in the world, there were morons like these proud to be someone's property. It is even more sad that in 2010, not 1810 these pathetic brainless morons think they are more than confederate window dressing.

August 28 2010 at 11:50 AM Report abuse -37 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mhphammes's comment
ANITA!

Wow....you sound like your Definitely the guy to spread the love...If you can't accept a difference in a opinion, how do expect to live peaceably? Be careful with your attitude, you may just become the thing you supposedly say you hate.... It's easy to love someone you like,It takes real character to love your enemies.

August 28 2010 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
fredmoheit

Nice article Mr. Lewis, good points, but unfortunately those left loons will continue with their hateful point of a "hijacking" of Dr. King's legacy. I have hope that Dr. King's legacy will prevail and folks will realize truly what he meant by judging men by the content of their character. I think the tide is slowly turning and perhaps it gives conservatives of color courage to come forth and be counted. The left has to demonize Beck and drive the narrative of stealing King's legacy, when really the left is nervous they are about to lose some of their voting block. When you really think about it, who is really stealing what? I think Sharpton having a rally in close proximity says it all.

August 28 2010 at 11:24 AM Report abuse +28 rate up rate down Reply

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