Glenn Beck rally, Al Sharpton rally duel in DC today

Sandy Smith's picture

Today is the 47th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. And on this day, two charismatic personalities - radio and TV talker Glenn Beck and agitator-activist Rev. Al Sharpton - are both claiming the mantle of Dr. King and his vision with competing rallies in Washington.

Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, which the talk-radio jock has promoted heavily on both his radio program and his Fox News Channel TV show, does not directly lay claim to King's legacy, and Beck himself said he settled on the Aug. 28 date purely by chance after the original date and purpose for the rally did not work out. But so many of the details -- from choice of location (the steps of the Lincoln Memorial) to the speakers (one of whom is King's niece Alveda) -- appropriate the 1963 March's symbolism that it might not surprise a single observer if, when the rally begins at 10 a.m. today, a huge photo of King unfurls behind the speakers.

Given that King was a lifelong Democrat whose own politics had moved well to the left of the Democratic mainstream by the time of his assassination in 1968, however, the "Reclaim the Dream" rally being organized by Sharpton probably has the more legitimate spiritual claim. King's son, Martin Luther King III, the head of the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, will speak at the rally.

Tens of thousands are expected to pour into Washington today for both rallies. Here are some important details and last-minute reminders about each.

All about the Glenn Beck rally, "Restoring Honor"

The "Restoring Honor" rally, though free to attend, is officially a fundraiser for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides assistance to severly wounded special operations forces personnel and assistance, counseling, and educational grants to the families and children of special forces members who die in the line of duty; after rally costs are covered, all proceeds from the sale of merchandise at the event benefit the SOWF.

The rally begins at 10 a.m. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and is scheduled to end at 1 p.m. Rally participants will gather on the National Mall to the east of the memorial.

Speakers at the event include SOWF representatives, Beck, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Alveda King and former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who received the Navy Cross for his actions fighting the Taliban in 2005. Country singer Jo Dee Messina will also perform.

Attendees arriving by car are advised not to drive into the District, as parking is difficult and many streets in the vicinity of the rally will be closed to traffic. Instead, travelers by car should park at one of several outlying Metro stations and take the subway to the event. In Maryland, New Carrollton, Landover, and Cheverly on the Orange Line and Largo Town Center on the Blue Line are convenient to major highways; in Virginia, riders can park at Vienna-Fairfax, Dunn Loring-Merrifield, West Falls Church or East Falls Church on the Orange Line and Franconia-Springfield or Van Dorn Street on the Blue Line.

Tour bus riders will be let off at Union Station (Red Line) or RFK Stadium (Stadium-Armory, Blue and Orange lines), where they can proceed to the rally on Metro.

The closest stations to the rally are Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Foggy Bottom-GWU and Farragut West on the Blue and Orange lines and Metro Center on the Red Line. Rally personnel will be at the stations to direct attendees to the site.

For those attending the Al Sharpton rally, "Reclaim the Dream"

The "Reclaim the Dream" rally, billed in part as a counter to the Beck event, is set to begin at 11 a.m. at Dunbar High School, 1301 New Jersey Ave. NW, about one-half mile northeast of Mt. Vernon Square-7th Street-Convention Center station on the Green and Yellow lines. From Dunbar, participants will march to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the Tidal Basin, just southeast of the Lincoln Memorial on the Mall. The closest Metro station to the march endpoint is Smithsonian on the Blue and Orange lines. Buses will drop off and pick up participants at Dunbar High School, and participants can use Metro to return to Dunbar after the rally.

Besides King's son, NAACP President Ben Jealous, morning radio show host Tom Joyner, TV and radio talk show host Ed Schultz, National Urban League President Marc Morial and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are listed as participating in the rally, which has been endorsed by a number of progressive organizations.

No specific list of speakers has been provided in advance for the event, but speakers will represent a diverse variety of backgrounds, according to the organizers.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
This is bogus. We all know Sarah Palin won't set foot in the place for less that 100 grand. She alone will take a huge chunk of any "merchandise profits". Just another bunch of right-wing loonies profiting off the ignorance of the conservative base.

Submitted by dm (not verified) on
Al Sharpton should be thankful to Beck's event... this is annual event that normally gets little to zero publicity. Why are the liberals so against this? I don't see any conservatives making this an issue, except in retaliation. Maybe it's because they do not understand the word "honor?" The fact that conservative figures are appearing for a fundraiser must really bother liberals... especially since they claim a right to the "social justice" phrase and can't even get their own personalities to host an event for the good of what they are promoting.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I'm an independent. I don't care about the rally. I just live my life. If Beck wants to run his mouth, go ahead. But who are you to say a certain group doesn't understand "honor"? Are you the "honor" nazi? Dr. King's rally was about honor and social justice. Not this tacky, carbon copy, non-diverse get together. What a waste of television.

Submitted by The Skeptic (not verified) on
Excerpt ( /) Glenn Beck stated: "I am not going to ask anybody to honor God on a Sunday." Huh? Oh, so Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and Jews whom follow the Saturday Sabbath and are not really believers of the God of Beck, the God of Abraham, Issac and Joseph? It is ironic that these same folks who follow Beck are worried about President Obama's political and religious views being too extreme, when according to Beck God is honored on Sunday. So once again, this is blatant opportunism and creates nothing but more religious division. Beck is an interloper, ideological hijacker, political whore, and an arrogant man who is going to write another book about the Experience and laugh all the way to the bank as he adds more to his 35 Million dollars from its sales that the sheep will line up to buy to remember the Experience. “Money, money, money,…money! Some people got to have it…”

Submitted by Stan Hill (not verified) on
I think it's been a great rally... Americans who love their country all coming together to enjoy a day together. No wonder liberals are so upset.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Nothing special about this rally. Nothing at all. And I'm an Independent. I like being an independent/NP because I can see through bs! King's "I Have a Dream", that was authentic. It was real. It wasn't planned, people weren't calling the president Hitler, etc. King was sincere and just and didn't have to pull people down through hate speech to try and gain political power. It was pure. It was special. Beck and company fell far short. Far short. A very non diverse, sad America...people on the verge of tears because they feel they're losing something that isn't solely theirs in the first place.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
A very non-diverse crowd. Their nightmare rally. I don't want to hear anything they have to say or be a part of anything they are doing. It's bs. It just stinks of slyness. They don't care about freedom. They just want to make lots of noise all the time, and are mad because they lost. Palin is a quitter and reminds me of a smart mouth kid who needs someone to turn her over their knee one good time and finish her up with a bar of soap in her old dried up mouth. Beck's an agitator and just a plain old non-regular American. It's amazing that everything he says and Palin says, they think they are right, all the time. There's something very wrong with that picture. Anyone who thinks they have all the answers and that everything will be just great if they were in charge, is crazy! I think we've found Hitler and their cronies at the klan, I mean, the Beck rally today. I love the way America came together under King...and President Obama's rallies are so large and diverse, a true sample of Americans. I think it's beautiful.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I had to laugh really hard at that. Obama is the biggest joke of a leader ever. He was not Jesus like (sorry Oprah) your God is not God at all. Just a plain old man tyring to be friends with terrorists and revive the Communist movement. KIng would not stand for the lies of a President, Martin Luther King stood for integrity, truth and wanted equality for all. I have lived in the South for a short time and experienced with a black friend the prejudice that is still rampant there, I am white but was treated with true Southern hospitality while there. I had no idea that prejudice was as bad as it is. I know now. The dream is being realized and changes have made, Dr. King would have been a great President. I believe Dr Kings dream is/ was real for all of us. Just because Beck is white don't make him bad, or Republican. WE are Americans..period..where is the CHANGE promised by Obama? No change..Lots of vacations though since he has been in office. Morgan Freeman played a great Pres in the movies, I think he could be another Reagan..Will Smith for Pres anyday..Obama is not a good Pres, falters on his promises..DR King wanted us to be equal and respect each other for life is precious, skin color dont matter..Dr King effected change..He had to be sent from God..God bless his soul and let his dream become will for sure in Gods kingdom and I look forward to meeting him then


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