During the recent commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network provided a place for the media to find black conservative opinion on the King legacy, the progress of black America over the past five decades and the politicization of the civil rights movement.
Project 21 members participated in over 75 interviews as of this posting — including 50,000-watt talk radio giants such as WHO-Des Moines, WJR-Detroit, WGN-Chicago and KDKA-Pittsburgh; international media such as Voice of Russia and Arise TV and television such as Blaze TV, the Fox News Channel and local media.
In a debate about the progress of black America on Arise TV, Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper noted there is “still plenty of opportunity” for people who want to seek it. In particular, Horace cited that gaps between the races are closing in areas such as educational attainment and income and savings — and further pointed out that employment was similarly equalizing until the recent economic downturn and the Obama Administration’s mismanagement of recovery efforts.
Responding to journalist Karen Hunter’s suggestion that blacks need to “take back our community,” Horace responded that there needs to be a self-realization that reform is necessary, saying: “Our educational system… failed [black communities]. They are owned and operated by black Americans… [Black Americans] have the power and wherewithal” to enact change and give children in the inner cities the quality educations they deserve.
Interviewed by fellow Project 21 member Tara Setmayer — who now hosts on the Blaze TV program “Real News,” Project 21 member Charles Butler discusses President Obama’s speech at the official observance of the March and the pointed lack of optimism at what should be a celebration of achievement.
Butler said about those in control of the event and their political agenda:
These leaders… always look for the lowest denominator and try to bring the lowest denominator up to a higher level. And, believe me, there are a number of poor people who just need an opportunity. But there are plenty of poor people who don’t want anything but what they have. And these are the people we continue to focus on while… ignoring those who have achieved.
After it was reported that no conservatives were asked to speak at the March on Washington commemoration — including Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), the only serving black senator — Project 21 member Bob Parks appeared on local DC television to talk about the lack of diversity.
Bob, who attended the ceremony, said “the ball was dropped on many counts.” He added that “there’s literally a variety of alternatives that would make this event not look as partisan as it did look.”
Commenting on the possible motivations of the organizers, Bob noted that harsh criticism of George W. Bush was once considered “patriotic” by the same people who today think that virtually any sort of criticism of Barack Obama is “racist.” While liberal speakers at the March commemoration were welcomed and cheered, Bob’s conversations with spectators indicated that conservative guests who might similarly speak their mind if allowed to make an address would not have been received as well.