This Saturday, August 28, 2010, The Tea Party had what was probably the largest public gathering in recent history at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. I was perplexed when I first learned the Tea Party’s plan to hold such assembly at the same location, and on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s delivery of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. I was equally surprised Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece was one of the speakers at the rally’s “Restoring Honor.” She attends Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta like her cousin, Martin Luther King, III. However Martin Luther King III did not attend the Tea Party’s rally.
We live in America, where the first amendment gives each of us the right to freedom of speech. I respect the views of others like those of the Tea Party. Although I may not always agree with some of their views; I believe, however, we can respectfully disagree. Yet I do not understand Mr. Glenn Beck and his organizers’ purpose or motives when they scheduled a rally on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington.
August 28, 1963, was a sweltering day in Decatur (a suburban area of Atlanta). I remember at the age of fourteen how excited I was knowing thousands of people from my hometown and others from the metro-Atlanta area who left on buses to attend the march on Washington. My family, neighbor, and close friends gathered around the only television to listen to Dr. Martin Luther King address thousands who had gathered at the Lincoln Memorial. We sat watching and discussing the different speakers, but once Dr. King began speaking, there was complete silence.
Dr. King’s speech was electrifying that demanded everyone’s attention. I remember how he referred to the location , the Lincoln Memorial, as being a “hallowed spot,” and how he prophesied that August 28, 1963, would go down as “the greatest demonstration of freedom in the history of our nation.” Dr. King’s message was poignant when addressed the inequality that existed; he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination not only for blacks, but all Americans. Once he began to utter “I have a dream,” we all had teary eyes. l, like many, hold August 28, 1963, as a special day, and as Dr. King predicted, this date will always be remembered as the greatest demonstration in this country’s history.
I believe Dr. King was a prophet who lived among us for 39 years. He taught us how to live by loving and promoting the freedom of others. He warned us of being self- centered. I remain hopeful we, as a nation, can look beyond our many differences and love, accept, respect and help one another especially as our country tries to heal its self of unemployment, homes foreclosure, and imbalance of trade. Let each of us rally together as one nation. Dr. King said: “an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to broader concerns of all humanity.’