Saturday Spectacles Loom

"I Have a Dream" anniversary marked by controversy

By Andy Salsman
|  Friday, Aug 27, 2010  |  Updated 12:10 AM EDT
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Preparations are under way on the <a title=National Mall for dueling rallies featuring Glenn Beck and the Rev. Al Sharpton." />

Preparations are under way on the National Mall for dueling rallies featuring Glenn Beck and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

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Dueling Rallies on "I Have A Dream" Speech Anniversary

Glenn Beck and the Rev. Al Sharpton are both hosting a rally in D.C. on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.
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The Fourth of July was more than a month ago, but there will still be plenty of fireworks on the National Mall this weekend. These fireworks, though, could get ugly.

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck is organizing a rally at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. If the date and location sound familiar, it may be because Saturday is the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous "I Have a Dream" speech. He delivered that address in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Beck, who's planning the "Restoring Honor" rally with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, insists that the date and location are purely coincidental. He says he’s just trying to pay tribute to America’s military.

"This is going to be an iconic event," Beck said. "This is going to be a moment that you’ll never be able to paint people as haters, racists, none of it. This is a moment, quite honestly, that I think we reclaim the civil rights movement. It has been so distorted and so turned upside down. It is an abomination."

Beck, who’s called President Obama a racist in the past, is known to attract attention. This weekend is no exception.

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network is planning a "Reclaim the Dream" rally, and Martin Luther King III will be attending. He commends Beck on his effort to honor our troops, but he questions his scheduling choice.

"My father championed free speech," King wrote in a Washington Post editorial. "He would be the first to say that those participating in Beck’s rally have the right to express their views. But his dream rejected hateful rhetoric and all forms of bigotry or discrimination, whether directed at race, faith, nationality, sexual orientation or political beliefs."

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