WASHINGTON – As the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech from August 28, 1963 approaches, a number of influential Tea Party activists are expressing concern that all the attention is being given to Dr. King, while the “brave patriots” who protested his speech are all but forgotten.
“In yet another example of the vast liberal media conspiracy hiding the truth from the American people, the only thing anyone’s talking about is that speech and all the black people who came to hear it,” said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin. “Where are the stories of the God-fearing white people who came to protest the violence-inciting words of a known criminal? Come on people, the FBI saw the speech as anti-American, why can’t everyone else?”
Martin was referring to a memo from FBI Agent William Sullivan written two days after King’s speech that read in part, “In the light of King’s powerful demagogic speech… We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.”
Intended to mark the 100-year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, King’s speech was delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and was ranked as the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public addresses. Yet some worry that history is not telling the full story.
“250,000 supporters. That’s all you ever hear about. 250,000 civil rights supporters,” said Amy Kremer, chair of the Tea Party Express. “What about the protestors? You can’t hold a town hall meeting these days without a couple dozen protestors, but you expect us to believe there weren’t some good, Christian folk at the Mall that day waving signs telling the fake doctor to go home?”
Another fear in Tea Party corners is the worry that President Obama is trying to usurp the occasion with his announced intention to deliver a speech called “Let Freedom Ring” from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of Dr. King’s 1963 speech.
“It’s disgraceful!” said Becky Gerritson, founder of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama. “How dare Obama use this historic moment to talk about his socialist issues like freedom and race and jobs.”
“You’d never see a President Bachmann give a racist speech like that,” she added.