(BLACKAMERICAWEB) “They may have the Mall, but we have the message. They may have the platform but we have the dream.” – REV. AL SHARPTON, Dunbar Senior High School, Washington D.C.
Brenda Galloway traveled with her family from North Carolina in 1963 to attend the first March on Washington, and she’s proudly paid tribute to the historic occasion since.
Galloway, now a D.C. resident, said she makes a private pilgrimage to the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech. But on Saturday, Galloway decided to join the “Reclaim the Dream” march led by Rev. Al Sharpton, radio personality Tom Joyner and a host of other black activists to commemorate the 47th anniversary of King’s historic appearance.
“I just think it’s important to keep the dream that so many of our civil rights activists fought for for years – Martin Luther King, Dorothy Height, Ben Hooks and all the others,” Galloway said in an interview with BlackAmericaWeb.com.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 people – most of them African-American – gathered under the sweltering sun at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. Saturday for the march. For nearly three hours, the crowd listened to more than a dozen speakers who advocated for racial equality in education, housing and criminal justice. They also criticized conservative commentator Glenn Beck for holding his “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial on the same day.
Beck claimed his event drew 350,000 to 600,000 people, but CBS reported the rally actually attracted a much smaller turnout, estimating that 87,000 showed up. And on Sunday, appearing on Fox News, Beck tried to explain that his rally was intended to reclaim the civil rights movement from “politics” for “people of faith.”
Beck’s twisted explanations for his march are often rambling, unclear and misleading, and he raises more questions each time he opens his mouth. So who exactly is reclaiming the civil rights movement? – the throngs of whites on the Mall Saturday? And is Beck not-so-subtlely implying that black people don’t have faith?
“We’re not going to let Beck miscast Martin Luther King’s dream of what was and what is,” Sharpton said in an interview with BlackAmericaWeb.com. “We mobilized 10,000 people who are energized and ready.”
Beck has also backed off his initial claim that President Barack Obama is “racist.” On a Sunday morning news show, Beck now says he misspoke when he said Obama had a “deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”
“It shouldn’t have been said,” Beck said. “I have a big fat mouth sometimes and I say things, and that’s not the way people should behave. And it was not accurate.”
Meanwhile, with the bleachers at Dunbar High School filled to capacity on Saturday, Joyner looked at the enthusiastic gathering of African-Americans and said he was pleased to witness such an uplifting moment.
“This makes me hopeful when it comes to voting in November,” Joyner said in an interview with BlackAmericaWeb.com. “If we can get this many people out here on such a hot day – and some of these people don’t even have jobs – then this is an important day.”
“Marching is part of me,” he said.
Joyner told the audience that said he’s participated in civil rights demonstrations dating back to 1965, when he joined other politically-active black Americans for the legendary Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama.
“I was with Dr. King on the last day of the Selma-Montgomery march, and I’m marching now just like I marched then, and I’m glad to be here today,” Joyner said. “I love you, black people!”
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