H. Brandt Ayers: I was there for King's moving speech
3 months ago | 2230 views | 27 27 comments |  | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was a comedy of incongruity to see Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin trying to act dignified on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial the very day in 1963 that Dr. Martin Luther King had given his great speech. They weren’t even born 47 years ago.

They could not possibly evoke the solemnity of a moment that gave moral definition to a movement that would remake American law and social customs.

I know; I was there as a young reporter, only a few feet away from Dr. King. This is the way it was, excerpted from a longer story I wrote after the event:

“They came as if to a picnic, with their songs, their hard-boiled eggs and fried chicken — and their demands for freedom and jobs. Then, almost magically, they were gone. The vast body of the 210,000 marchers — hot, dirty, bone tired — was gone by 9 p.m.

“They left this: Discarded leaflets blowing in an autumnal wind Thursday morning, papers missed by the sanitation crews plastered to concrete in the flat, straight, drenching rain that dropped when the wind stopped.

“And, they also left this: Vast respect for District of Columbia authorities and the Negro leaders who moved this unbelievable, living mass in and out of the nation’s capital without incident.

“Finally, they left: The unshakable conviction that the revolution started in Birmingham this spring did not end Wednesday. Negroes will march in the streets of other cities. Their protest will continue because when people sing, and sing as the marchers did, their grievances are too deep; they cannot be crushed.

“If you saw the march on television and think you know its sounds and smells, and its meaning, you are wrong. The television lens is orderly but cold. Its view is no more accurate than an Admiral in the Pentagon moving ships of a fleet on a board. The sailor has no sense of the movement of the fleet but he is the only one who knows the meaning of the battle. I was there. From 5:30 a.m. until late in the afternoon I was on the grounds of the Washington Monument, at Union Station and finally at the Lincoln Memorial…

(At dawn, Deputy Police Chief George R. Wallrodt briefed police on the mall. His orders were safety and restrained neutrality. He then spoke briefly to George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of an American Nazi counter-demonstration in a sealed-off area. Rockwell told me, “We are not in uniform (brown with red, white and black swastika armbands) today. This is not a Nazi demonstration. We are here to speak for the decent white people. The vile white people are over there.”)

At Union Station, trainloads of marchers from the North exited silently, but from the South they came onto the platform singing: A young Negro from New Haven, Conn., explained, “We don’t know the words.

“These from Charleston and Savannah did. ‘I got a hammer and I got a bell,’ the chorus of hundreds sang and then crashed into the refrain, ‘It’s the hammer of justice and the bell of free-e-dom …

“And, there was the hymn, sung joyfully, that I was to hear many times that day, on the monument grounds, during the march and at the Lincoln Memorial: ‘We are not alone ... We are not afraid ... Deep in my heart, I do believe, We will overcome some day’…”

Driving back to the mall from the station, downtown Washington had that strange Sunday feeling about it. The city was empty. One large department store did $22 worth of business that day. On returning to the mall, the mass was moving to the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool:

“For four hours they stood pressed together, the lucky ones at the back sitting with their feet in the pool. The speeches — moderate and militant — were mostly dull. Counting the number overcome by the heat (30 directly in front of the press section) and wondering about how strongly they must feel about their lot to go through such a day, helped pass the time.

“And, as the speeches droned on, I wondered about the predictions of violence. I hadn’t even seen any shoving. I wondered about drunks. I had looked hard but couldn’t find any.

“My interest and the crowd’s mostly responded to the singing. Peter, Paul and Mary were the best. The crowd also cheered the biblical oratory of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream ...” He is a good speaker, but I had had enough of speeches.

“Then it was over. By 4:30, the sea was draining away. As they left, their droppings were exposed. There were no whiskey bottles, but there was 400 tons of rubbish to clean up.

“There is much more to tell about their going, but this is the central point: They went away from their Capital feeling the strength and unity of their numbers. For one unreal day they heard the demand, ‘Freedom,’ from every throat.

“Now they are home in the real world. Their demands are not heard so clearly there. They will try to make them heard and there will be trouble for a long time.”

––––

That time and place is one of historic solemnity. To see Glenn Beck, a man of outrageous, vagrant opinions preening for his admirers on those steps, actually doing a pirouette for adoring fans, is obscene, stomach-turning.

H. Brandt Ayers is chairman of Consolidated Publishing and publisher of The Anniston Star.
comments (27)
« rjack112 wrote on Tuesday, Sep 21 at 08:55 AM »
"Oh, I'm sure there are people abusing the system. However, there are people that aren't abusing the system."

Duh...

« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Tuesday, Sep 21 at 08:18 AM »
Oh, I'm sure there are people abusing the system. However, there are people that aren't abusing the system.
« rjack112 wrote on Tuesday, Sep 21 at 07:57 AM »
You can't even admit that there are people who will abuse the system. That there are those who are receiving unemployment that won't hit a lick at a snake, not even bothering to look for work, and complain when their "benefits" are being cut off.

You can't admit that those people are the ones Beck is targeting.

You can't handle the truth.
« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Tuesday, Sep 21 at 07:26 AM »
You are funny. That's like saying Sarah Palin tells the truth. You see, that's the problem I have with the republican party. LIES LIES LIES

Here's the problem: as 40-year-old Boston native and longtime unemployed mom Louise Davies tried to get a job at McDonald's and was turned down. "I used to ride my bike to my local McDonald's for a 7 a.m. shift [as a teenager]," she said. "Now even they won't hire me because I'm over-experienced."

There are 15 million people unemployed in the United States right now. One a half million can be called "99ers." When will the insensitive and the ignorant quit telling poor people to just go get jobs at fast food joints? It's not as easy as it sounds. Furthermore, if a 99er did get a job at McDonald's working fulltime and tried to support her family of four on the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, she'd earn about $15,000 — well below the federal poverty line. So she's prepare of sell food all day, then be forced to collect food stamps from the government to feed her own family.

New Orleans area is not the only flood zone in the United States that receives federal tax dollars. Areas of Minnesota, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas, Missouri and numerous other American states are now considered flood zones. Does Beck expect these residents to pick up and move as well? If so, where to?
« rjack112 wrote on Tuesday, Sep 21 at 06:36 AM »
You said: "Discussing the topic of jobless Americans unable to find work receiving unemployment benefits, Beck said he would be ashamed to call some of them Americans."

Beck said: "Have you heard of the 99ers? These people, some of which I, frankly, bet you would be ashamed to call them Americans, they think 99 weeks of unemployment benefits are not enough. . .Two years is plenty of time to have lived off your neighbors' wallets."

Nowhere did he mention that these people he's talking about were UNABLE to find a job; obviously he's talking about the ones who are UNWILLING to find a job and want to live off unemployment indefinitely.

You said, "Beck said we shouldn't spend a single dime, and that the residents should just move out."

Beck said, "Why are we spending all this money in New Orleans? We shouldn’t spend a single dime of taxpayers’ money in a place where — I don’t care where it is — where it is in a flood zone. Move out of the place that, you know, you’re below sea level."

Yep, that's what he said. If you want to live in a flood zone, you takes your chances. He gave his opinion about it. I guess if it doesn't agree with your opinion, it just isn't right.

YOU say Beck said, “poor people are, in fact, lazy”.

First of all, you take those few words out of context, then you make a weak excuse for taking this piece of a sentence and the other quotes out of context.

Face it. You and the other liberals are afraid of Glen Beck because he speaks the truth. And the libs just can't handle the truth.







« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Monday, Sep 20 at 07:10 PM »
Glenn Beck quotes:

"Have you heard of the 99ers? These people, some of which I, frankly, bet you would be ashamed to call them Americans, they think 99 weeks of unemployment benefits are not enough. . .Two years is plenty of time to have lived off your neighbors' wallets."

"Why are we spending all this money in New Orleans? We shouldn’t spend a single dime of taxpayers’ money in a place where — I don’t care where it is — where it is in a flood zone. Move out of the place that, you know, you’re below sea level."

“poor people are, in fact, lazy”

That's all I could find of the last quote. I'm sure there is more that was said but I do not have his book.
« rjack112 wrote on Monday, Sep 20 at 09:11 AM »
Still waiting...
« rjack112 wrote on Thursday, Sep 16 at 08:53 AM »
Hmm...no quotes yet...
« rjack112 wrote on Tuesday, Sep 14 at 01:27 PM »
I have not read Beck's book, but I would be interested in seeing some quotes confirming what you perceive he said. Since you don't like him, I doubt your review of his book would be favorable anyway.
« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Tuesday, Sep 14 at 12:15 PM »
I have to disagree with you about Dr. King. I do not believe his vision was anything like Dr. King's.

King helped launch a Poor People's Campaign based around demanding that President Johnson and Congress help the poor get jobs, health care and decent homes. He explained that poverty was a problem that couldn't be solved without the nation spending billions of dollars - and undergoing a radical redistribution of economic power. Then he spent the last days of his life campaigning on behalf of a living wage for striking sanitation workers in Tennessee.

Beck argued in his book that the reason the poor are poor and can't be helped by the government is simply because they are lazy. Discussing the topic of rebuilding New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, Beck said we shouldn't spend a single dime, and that the residents should just move out. Discussing the topic of jobless Americans unable to find work receiving unemployment benefits, Beck said he would be ashamed to call some of them Americans.

King forcefully advocated for drastic action by the federal government to combat poverty; supported “social justice”; called for an “economic bill of rights” that would “guarantee a job to all people who want to work”; and stated that we must address whether we need to “restructure the whole of American society” — all ideas that Beck has vilified.

Personally I do not like Glenn Beck, he promotes conspiracy theories and employs incendiary rhetoric. Maybe if he'd go back to smoking cannabis and lay off the Adderall he wouldn't be so crazy.

« rjack112 wrote on Tuesday, Sep 14 at 11:43 AM »
"...a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few."

What do you think the Democrats are doing? They brought about the current wealth-distribution policies, i.e. taxing the ones they deem to be "rich" and distributing the money to the ones they deem "deserving" by way of such things as the Earned Income Credit (which isn't a tax credit at all; it's taking from those who have and giving it to those who haven't).

Obama himself admitted he wanted to "spread the wealth" when confronted by Joe the Plumber (are there any short memories in the house?), and he considers the free market to be the "enemy".

Glen Beck's vision of America is very similar to Dr. King's, and Obama and the Obamabots' vision is the direct opposite.



« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Tuesday, Sep 14 at 10:30 AM »
I was not criticizing you for the stereotype, I simply said I did not understand it.

Fact is, both parties have issues. These issues stand in the way of progress.

As for myself, I tend to be more of a Libertarian. I stand for the maximization of freedom of thought and action.

King said that his vision of America's promise was a country where equality of opportunity, of privilege and property are widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few.

« rjack112 wrote on Tuesday, Sep 14 at 08:43 AM »
"Most democrats aren't born with a silver spoon in their mouth, so they actually have to work hard for they have."

I guess it's ok for YOU to stereotype the "right" as people who are born rich and don't have to work for a living.

I would venture that most conservatives weren't "born with a silver spoon in their mouth", either.

The Democrats (or the left in general) by and large support policies that give more power to the government, punish success, hard work and personal responsibility while supporting those policies that reward a non-productive lifestyle. They use class warfare and wealth envy as a tool to get those policies passed.

The right supports policies of limited government, rewarding hard work and personal responsibility, getting to keep what you have worked hard for and earned, and paying a fair share of taxes.

To say I'm stereotyping the left is the pot calling the kettle black.

« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Tuesday, Sep 14 at 08:25 AM »
I do not understand your stereotype of the "left". Are you saying that only conservatives can be hard working Christians with personal responsibility?

You keep acting like democrats are not workers. In 04 there were 72 million registered democrats, and 55 million registered republicans. I guess according to you those 72 million democrats do not have jobs, aren't Christians & have no personal responsibility. In my experience democrats have been much harder workers than republicans. Most democrats aren't born with a silver spoon in their mouth, so they actually have to work hard for they have.

Charles Krauthammer once said that the difference between Republicans and Democrats is that Republicans believe that Democrats are wrong and Democrats believe that Republicans are evil.

« rjack112 wrote on Monday, Sep 13 at 11:29 AM »
Some people feel the need to redirect when they see their argument doesn't hold water anymore.

Christain values, hard work, and personal responsibility are foreign concepts to the left, including Mr. Ayers. They believe the government is all there is supposed to be; that we should be completely dependent on government in every aspect of our lives.

If it wasn't for personal responsibility and the desire to make a better life for onesself, this country would not have lasted as long as it has.
« Heflinresident wrote on Sunday, Sep 12 at 12:10 AM »
I am not an advocate for Mormonisim, I think there is one way to heaven and that is Jesus Christ. My original point was that Mr. Ayers should not be demonizing Beck and his speech.

What Beck has said is true, We need a revival in this country and the only way to save our country is to return to the values that made us great. Christain values, hard work, personal responsibility.
« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Saturday, Sep 11 at 09:27 AM »
Just because they have similaries doesn't make them the same. Beck is a mormon in active standing with the mormon church and is not a Christian. Mormonism teaches many gods, that the god of the earth was once a man who attained godhood status, there is no trinity, the cross of Christ means nothing and that Jesus Christ and Satan were brothers.

« Heflinresident wrote on Friday, Sep 10 at 03:43 PM »
Yellowhammer

Mormons and Christains have major doctrinal disagreements but aspire to many of the same principals taught by Christ. Your comments seem to be aimed at muddying the water rather than an honest debate. Just as were the comments of Mr. Ayres.

The Dems. (not accuseing you) often fall back to the politics of personal destruction when we get down to the heart of the matter.
« YellowHammerFlicker wrote on Friday, Sep 10 at 11:07 AM »
rjack112: Historically, only recently have Mormons wanted to be called Christians, actually preferring not to be included with Christian denominations, which Joseph Smith said were, "all wrong ... all their creeds were an admonition in his sight, and that those professors (Christians) were all corrupt" (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith, 2:18-19). They are not Christians for several reasons, and their unbiblical doctrines show them to be a "Christian" cult. Mormons do not follow or believe in the historic Jesus Christ of the Bible, but rather in a difference Jesus. This is why most Biblical Christians emphatically insist that Mormons are not Christians. The Jesus Christ of Mormonism is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

Actually I wouldn't consider that a quote. Ronald Reagan claimed in 1961 (while fighting an effort to develop a national health insurance program) that Norman Mattoon Thomas said something like this, but Reagan's biographer said he was unable to find any evidence that Thomas actually said it. What Thomas is known to have said is that both major parties had borrowed items from the Socialist Party platform.

« rjack112 wrote on Friday, Sep 10 at 08:30 AM »
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Mormons consider themselves Christians.

Democrats not Socialists? Consider this quote from a 1944 Norman Thomas speech:

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of “liberalism”,

they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened...

The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.”

And so it has come to pass...