Saturday, August 28, 2010

Leonard Pitts Tells the Truth About Who REALLY Started the Civil Rights Movement

And it sure as HELL wasn't people like Glenn Beck, who claims that "we" (right-wingers) founded the push for racial equality in America, and that Martin Luther King was a Republican in the 1950s (before lunatics like Beck grabbed control of the party). Pitts is having none of it:

But even by those standards, Glenn Beck's effrontery is monumental. Even by those standards, he goes too far. Beck was part of the ``we'' who founded the civil rights movement!? No. Here's who ``we'' is.

``We'' is Emmett Till, tied to a cotton gin fan in the murky waters of the Tallahatchie River.

``We'' is Rosa Parks telling the bus driver no.

``We'' is Diane Nash on a sleepless night waiting for missing Freedom Riders to check in.

``We'' is Charles Sherrod, husband of Shirley, gingerly testing desegregation compliance in an Albany, Ga., bus station.

``We'' is a sharecropper making his X on a form held by a white college student from the North.

``We'' is celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando and Pernell Roberts of Bonanza, lending their names, their wealth and their labor to the cause of freedom.

``We'' is Medgar Evers, Michael Schwerner, Jimmie Lee Jackson, James Reeb, Viola Liuzzo, Cynthia Wesley, Andrew Goodman, Denise McNair, James Chaney, Addie Mae Collins and Carole Robertson, shot, beaten and blown to death for that cause.

``We'' is Lyndon Johnson, building a legislative coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats to defeat intransigent Southern Democratic conservatives and enshrine that cause into law.

And ``we'' is Martin Luther King, giving voice and moral clarity to the cause -- and paying for it with his life.

The we to which Glenn Beck belongs is the we that said no, the we that cried ``socialism!'' ``communism!'' ``tyranny!'' whenever black people and their allies cried freedom.

The fatuous and dishonorable attempt to posit conservatives as the prime engine of civil rights depends for success on the ignorance of the American people. Sadly, as anyone who has ever watched a Jay Walking segment on The Tonight Show can attest, the American people have ignorance in plenitude.

This, then, is to serve notice as Beck and his tea party faithful gather in Lincoln's shadow to claim the mantle of King: Some of us are not ignorant. Some of us remember. Some of us know very well who ``we'' is.

And, who ``we'' is not.

Read all of Pitts' BRILLIANT column here.

Oh, and one more thing. This is a picture from Birmingham, Alabama, taken in 1963 during a civil rights demonstration.

The man on whom the dogs are being let loose is a founder of the civil rights movement.

The white cops are the kind of people who would be followers of Glenn Beck today.

Any questions?

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