Black Conservative Leader Challenges Sharpton, Morial, Fauntroy to Defend in Debate Charges Tea Party is Racist

Christopher Goins | February 28, 2011 | 7:38am EST
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Mychal Massie, chairman of Project 21 - the National Black Conservative Network. (Photo courtesy of Project 21)

( – Will the Rev. Al Sharpton, National Urban League chairman Marc Morial, and former D.C. congressional delegate Walter Fauntroy show up Monday afternoon to debate talk show host Mychal Massie about their incendiary allegations about the Tea Party being racist?

Massie – who is the chairman of Project 21, the Black Conservative Leadership Network – said he has called, e-mailed, faxed, and mailed the liberal civil rights leaders since Sept. 8 to challenge them to debate their charges of the Tea Party being racist in reaction to Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally last fall.

“I had quietly called for these people to stand and give account of their remarks and the validity of them and that moment during the interview I threw the gauntlet down and I said enough is enough,” Massie told in an interview. “I would be willing to secure the venue and raise the money to secure the debate to challenge these men – Al Sharpton, Walter Fauntroy, Marc Morial – to defend their comments explain what they based them on and explain the validity of them to the American public in a debate format.”

On August 26, 2010, just before the Beck event, Fauntroy, a former civil rights leader and member of Congress, said that “(W)e are going to take on the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty that the Ku Klux – I meant to say the Tea Party – you all forgive me, but I – you have to use them interchangeably.”

It was this statement that Massie said caused him to openly challenge Fauntroy and the others, though Morial, CEO of the National Urban League, and Sharpton, president of the National Action Network, have made similar statements.

Sharpton, for instance, had told CBS on July 14: “The Tea Party, as a political philosophy, is to reverse what civil rights did and that is saying the federal government must protect people.”

Massie, however, said he is very familiar with the demographics of the movement, and told that he has spoken at four Tea Party events since New Year’s.

“I have seen black, Hispanic members at each one,” he told “It is nothing short of cowardice for men of this prominence to make these types of accusations and then hide behind silence. Anyone can say anything. But it takes a person of moral character and forthrightness to stand and defend what they say and I am calling them to stand and defend what they say” Massie told asked Massie what would happen if the three liberal leaders decided not to show up.

“In that they have not seen fit to show, they have not been courteous enough to even personally acknowledge that their intentions we can only speculate that they will not have the courage of their convictions to attend,” Massie said. “That said, the debate will take place. With or without them this debate goes forward. And with or without them not only does this debate go forward but also, from this moment forward, these men will be held accountable for what they say. ” he added.

Massie said he has never met Morial or Fauntroy, but he has been a guest on Sharpton’s television show to debate homosexuality years ago.

The debate will be held at the National Press Club on Monday, Feb. 28 in the Zenger room at 1 p.m.

Calls by to Sharpton, Morial and Fauntroy were not returned.

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