News Release

Distorting Martin Luther King: Critics of Beck and Sharpton


Saturday, August 28 is the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Rallies are planned by Fox host Glenn Beck and by Al Sharpton.

Muhammad just wrote a piece titled “A Dishonor to the Legacy of Dr. King,” which states: “Does [Glenn] Beck know that A. Philip Randolph, a union organizer and socialist, originated the idea of the March on Washington? Does he know that the March on Washington was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom that demanded massive federal investment for a government jobs program?”

Muhammad is author of the forthcoming book Understanding Racial Inequality in the Obama Era. He is the senior organizer and research associate for the Program on Inequality and the Common Good of the Institute for Policy Studies.

Gray is author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics. He said today: “We ought to be marching against the White House for a jobs program. Sharpton is doing nothing but running interference for the White House, providing a fake leadership. The NAACP is acting like a political tool of the White House. It’s not about Glenn Beck, it’s about our human rights agenda and that so many who presume to speak for King don’t have one.

“To find what King would say today, we shouldn’t look so much to the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in 1963 as to the ‘Beyond Vietnam’ speech in 1967. In that speech, King called the U.S. ‘the greatest purveyor of violence’ — and it still is. He called for ‘a true revolution of values … that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring’ — which is still true. King would be marching, but not against Beck. King called on us to declare ‘eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.'”

For full text and audio, as well as background on the “Beyond Vietnam” speech, see: IPA news release.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167