Politics

Education Secretary’s office hangs up on TheDC over Duncan’s plans to speak at Sharpton promoted event to counter Glenn Beck ‘Restoring Honor’ rally

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

The U.S. Department of Education’s spokesperson hung up on The Daily Caller Wednesday when seeking clarification regarding the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s planned speech at an Aug. 28 protest march that the Rev. Al Sharpton and his National Action Network (NAN) are holding to counter Fox News commentator Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally.

The NAN’s “Reclaim the Dream” march is an attempt to keep attention off Beck’s highly publicized rally happening the same day in the same city, redirecting the focus to what Sharpton and the NAN say is the real meaning of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “I have a dream” speech. The date, Aug. 28, is the 47th anniversary of King’s iconic speech.

Duncan recently wrapped up a nationwide education tour with Sharpton and former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, which is the only topic the Department of Education would comment on.

“Newt Gingrich, Reverend Sharpton and Secretary Duncan enjoyed visiting some of the highest performing low income schools in the nation and we look forward to visiting Dunbar High School with the Reverend later this month,” Justin Hamilton, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education, said in an e-mail to TheDC, answering a question that wasn’t asked.

Hamilton hung up the phone on TheDC when contacted for further comment, refusing to answer actual questions, including whether Duncan believes the Tea Party is racist or if he believes Beck is trying to “hijack” the American dream, or comment any further on Duncan’s planned participation in the rally.

Sharpton’s rally is scheduled to start at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., because, the NAN said, the focus is supposed to be on improving education. According to the District of Columbia Public Schools website, only 19 percent of students at Dunbar High School received proficient reading scores and only 25 percent received proficient math scores in 2009.

“The reason it is going to be at Dunbar High School is because Rev. Sharpton said education is the civil rights issue of the 21st century,” Rachel Noerdlinger, a spokesperson for the NAN, said.

Also, Noerdlinger said people should not perceive Sharpton’s event as a “counter-rally” to Beck’s event, and she accused several media outlets of trying to frame the event like that.

“Rev. Sharpton said he was going to do this in April,” Noerdlinger said.

On Monday, though, the NAN released a statement about its “Reclaim the Dream” march, saying that while its members are demonstrating, Beck and Tea Party members will be on the other side of Washington pushing “for the expansion of states’ rights,” what the NAN said is the “exact antithesis” of King’s message.

“While across town at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial the conservative tea party members and TV host Glenn Beck will attempt to hijack the dream, at the same time civil rights activists will convene at Dunbar High School to shed light upon key issues that have diminished the dream,” the NAN said in its statement.

Sharpton was quoted in a blackvoicenews.com story asking black people nationwide to attend his rally, which, by extension, he says casts doubt on Beck’s message.

  • mcauleysworld

    Dr. Alveda King and Marcus Luttrell are the “featured” speakers. Dr. Alveda King is the niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. and daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A. D. King, Martin Luther King’s younger brother. Alfred Daniel Williams King (known as A.D.) was arrested with his older brother and 70 others while participating in the October, 1960 lunch counter sit-in in Atlanta. On 11 May 1963, A.D. King’s family home was bombed… After MLK’s assassination ADK assumed his post as co-pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church.

    “When I join Beck and all gathered at the Lincoln Memorial this weekend, I will talk about my Uncle Martin and the America he envisioned. I will talk about honor and character and sacrifice. I will be joined by those who represent the diversity of the human race. On Saturday, Uncle Martin’s dream of personhood and human dignity will resound across America. And the Park Police should consider themselves forewarned: As we stand in the symbolic shadow of the great American who signed the Emancipation Proclamation, we just might sing.” Dr. Alveda King

    Marcus Luttrell is a former Petty Officer First Class and United States Navy SEAL, He received the Navy Cross for his actions in 2005 facing Taliban fighters during Operation Red Wings. In 2010, Luttrell established the Lone Survivor Foundation (SOWF). The foundation’s mission is to “Go to extraordinary lengths to Welcome Home, Empower and Restore American Wounded Warriors, their Families and Surviving Families” …

    (Lone Survivor Foundation) SOWF, which has only eight staff members, is happily inundated thanks to Glenn Beck’s promotional efforts. The group typically raises money through banquet dinners – the most one of these events has ever raised is $1 million, which caused the SOWF staff to “do a little happy dance,” according to Edie Rosenthal, a retired Navy lieutenant commander and spokeswoman for the group. Since Glenn Beck has started talking about the group on his radio and television shows in advance of the 8/28 rally, some $5 million in donations have poured in. “We’ve never had an event that cost this much either,” says Rosenthal. “I was at the Lincoln Memorial just looking at the number of port-a-potties and the screens that are being set up.”

    From Dr. Alveda King’s Blog

    Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, like the Lincoln Memorial itself, belongs to all Americans. I am participating in Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor Rally not to advance any political agenda, but to advance the concept of honor in our nation.

    The Book of Proverbs teaches that before honor comes humility. The Restoring Honor Rally has been organized for the purpose of giving honor to those who have humbled themselves to serve each and every one of us by defending our great country, for honoring our heroes, our heritage and our future. If our soldiers don’t deserve honor, I don’t know who does.

    My Uncle Martin did not say that we should judge men by their support for bigger or smaller government, but rather by the content of their character. That is what I intend to address on August 28.

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  • Vunderkint

    I think if MLK were here today he would definitely be standing with Glenn Beck and not the poverty pimp Sharpton who’s made a career out of the politics of victimhood. I remember when Sharpton was on Beck’s show and the three pictures of the founding fathers were in the background and he made some offhand comment as he got up to leave that there were too many white faces. Glenn Beck on his show has done more to educate more people about black history than Sharpton, Jackson and all the black studies professors in the country put together.