tv Book TV After Words CSPAN January 15, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
i feel law absolutely blessed, absolutely astonished to be with you because over the years and all of my books i have been searching to catch up with you to get a few quotes and a better understanding of dr. king's wife. you spend at least solid eight years with him and four or five books out there, david, taylor branch, the mengin you, site you, and i said i need to catch up with him because i need to get some of the same kind of information. i was never successful but someone else was also trying to catch up with you at that time and there was dr. king. knollwood martin say in your first but there's a very refitting section of wichita about these first encounter, the first time you have an opportunity. >> guest: in the opening
paragraph, first of all i am delighted to be here to have this opportunity to talk to you. we do have so many mutual friends in common. your question brings me back so many years to study worry, 1960. i was 29-years-old. i'm going to be 80 years of age this saturday january 8th. 1960, february, seven months out of the boston law school i got a call from a very distinguished judge and lawyer in new york city, judge delaney. he had known me and written a letter of recommendation to me for law school and he called me and said clarence, he said i'm the chief -- i've just taken on the chief defense counsel defending the doctor came from montgomery, alabama who's been indicted for perjury and tax provision on his state income
tax return and we have three of your excellent attorneys come into tax specialists from chicago [inaudible] so he talked to me and said we need a law clerk, semidey to do their research. today a law clerk of course if you are clerking for a justice of the supreme court, but i knew in the defense case i was essentially going to be a law clerk and they need me illegal over but and was in montgomery alabama and i was in california. i just had come tonia in june of that year. so i listened and i said judge, i would be willing to help you and do everything i can. i will do research and he said no, no, you have to come here,
clarence. and i said i'm tryini clled you. the beginning of the law career, with ever you're doing i'm not trying to denigrate in any way, but this would be good experience for you. and i said the judge, i'm sorry but i can't do it. and it was very difficult for me to say no to him. was really very difficult for me to say no to him. and then the next -- and the was on a thursday night -- and then on friday morning i got another call, and this time he said i didn't know what at the time of our telecom conversation with dr. king has a speaking engagement in california and in fact he is and they are now on his way to california and before he left i told him that he should try to see you when he gets there, and i gave -- and i gave him your telephone number and so forth. and i listened and thought to myself you know, the judge
doesn't give up, that's a thought to myself, he doesn't give up. he thinks -- i said well i'm not going to need -- i was in a suburb -- i'm not going to leave and go and meet martin luther king. he said no, no, i told him he needs to come to your home and visit with you. that was saturday morning, friday night. the doorbell rings, two gentlemen are standing at the door. one has a hat on and the fellow with a hat says mr. jones, i said yes, he said by martin king and this is my colleague, i think he said, referring to bernard lee, the one with the glasses on, and he comes into my home and sits down. at that time i had a reasonably nice home in some ways you might say i wasn't quite living a
large but i was living semites large. and my wife, cui is now deceased , anne, now deceased, she had beautiful plants all through the house. there was a tree in the living room and there retractile ceiling all this. >> host: she would get along with my wife. >> guest: and by the way, just to put it in context, this is 1960. dr. king had been successful in the montgomery bus boycott. the supreme court 1957 and 58 -- between 57 and 1960, little drummer the exact date, i should know -- d'aspin court handed down a decision. and he was on the cover of
"time" magazine. in common would be considered a celebrity, right? and my wife reacted to him like he was a celebrity. when i told her he was coming and when in fact he did come into the house, you would have fought a combination of moses, jesus christ and michael jackson, george clooney comparably everything you could think of all rolled into one walked in. >> host: she knew in advance he was coming. the house was prepared -- >> guest: yes. so he comes into the house. there were cookies and snacks and so forth, and he sits down and he gets right to the point. he says you know, mr. jones, there are lots of white lawyers
who help us in the south, who helped us in our work come he didn't say in the south, who helped us with our work. but what we need are young negro lawyers, young negro professionals would come and jason deily nei has spoken so highly about you, and i would hope that you would just help us, help me in this case because judge delaney thinks so highly of you. and i listened. and he described and asked me some questions about myself and i told him you know, i was an only child, my father was a -- those could you were born in philadelphia? >> guest: philadelphia pennsylvania. my father was a chauffeur and a gardener. when i was born in january, 1931, the only house they had was a house of the people they
worked, domestic servants sue i have this recollection of before the age of six being in four different foster families. foster families are they were friends of my parents and looking back they would say with to keep little clearance for us? but i had four different families at the time. by the age of six mm change thid it put me in a catholic boarding school raised by irish nuns and i went to public school and i told them that my mother died when i was a junior in the columbia college and she never lived to see me graduate and i was only 19-years-old and a lot of things, you know, and i repeated i really would like to help you. and i said dr. king, i said i
will do anything here that i can now again, no self phones, no blackberrys, i don't even remember whether there were fax machines. i don't think there were fax machines. in fact, when you wanted to get something urgent to get the post office and spend it special delivery. i believe they had mailograms. but if you're going to a document unless you use a special courier service, that's the way you did it. my wife turned to me and she says to me what are you doing that so important that you can't help this man that can all this distance to see you and ask for your help? and bicycle don, anne, that's not quite accurate. he didn't come all this distance to see me. he had a speaking engagement in
california any way. and judge delaney spot he would stop by but he didn't make this trip to see me. and then she said -- you know, she pushed me and i do remember saying look, just because some negro preacher got his hand caught in the cookie jar that's not my problem and if he wasn't guilty he wouldn't have been indicted. she looked at me and said i don't believe you. i said well that's the way i feel, you know. and she was angry at me. and then i began to be angry at martin king in my mind, like young couples and so forth, no major issues between us, living in relative domestic tranquillity. and here it is this negro preacher, the stranger, comes to my house, and in a matter of two hours it's my wife angry at me, angry at him. i have a hostile attitude towards him after that.
the next morning -- i don't want to spend too much time on the -- the next morning the phone rings. i pick up the phone. mr. jones? i said yes. she says mr. jones, my name is dora mcdonald, the secretary, and you know, mr. jones, dr. king is doing so much, but he forgot to tell you that he wanted him to come as his guest. he's preaching in los angeles sunday. and i listened. as we took down the information and the phone was on a wall in the kitchen and my wife was standing there. i turned to her and i said -- i told her what she said so she turned to me again like 9:30 california time and she says you may not be given to montgomery alabama, but you're going to that church.
so i said well the invitation is for both of us. she's about eight and a half months pregnant. she said no, no, you go. so i go to the church. it's an baldwin hills. now this is 1960. baldwin hills is, as you know, i assume you know, baldwin hills is likemity in southern california, the community of the black intelligence, the negro bourgeoisie. before the successful blacks could move to bel aire, this for the entertainers, lawyers, doctors, accountants, everybody lived if you have any money. so i go to this church. reverend charles, baptist church, one of the largest baptist church -- minimum of 1500, maybe even more, minimum of 1500.
large church. and dr. king is introduced as the guest preacher and then he gets up and says ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the text of my sermon today is the role and responsibility of the negro professional in aiding our less fortunate brothers and sisters struggling for their freedom in the south. so i thought to myself this is one smart due -- dude because he came to the right church, the right place to deliver this message. i had never heard him speak before. i had seen him but it never heard him speak before. seen him on television and so forth. and so he began to speak in greater detail and a greater
eloquence and passion in an orderly. i had never heard anyone speak like that before. a passionate struggle of the south. and then he pauses, and by setting like one-third, not in the middle of a one-third. he pauses and then he looks at me and he says, for example, there's a young man sitting in this church today. my friends in new york whom i respect, they tell me that this young man's brain has been touched by the lord. they tell me that this man's brain touched by jesus. that when he goes into the law library and does thing and does niekro research, that's what they tell me, my friends in new , spect. that he goes all the way back to the time of 1066.
we have in the magnet carter, and then when this young man writes a that the words are so compelling they just jump off the page. sali thinking to myself i absolutely don't have the slightest thought that he's talking about me. he's looking at me, and i'm thinking to myself i've only been in los angeles for seven months, and i know starting out as a young person just like today it's about network. so i'm thinking in a church i want to meet this dude that he is describing. [laughter] i think it's going to aipbut i o visit with this young man where he came and oh, lord. then he began to tell the ch giu
is like the song killing me softly with your song, he was killing me softly with stories that i had given him about my life particularly about my parents as domestic servants. sd -- he quoted this poem from langston hughes and he sort of changed it a little by putting my mother in the position of the woman whose scrubbing floors, and then he used the point like so many of you sitting in this audience today, you know, you wouldn't be here but for the fact that somebody worked in somebody's white folks' home to make it possible for you to be a lawyer and so forth. but i think again, tabout this, particularly as you begin to put my mother with in the context of the langston hughes poem tears began to come down my
face. it's like, you know, it's over. i'm just stirred. so as i say come he was like ah. he's standing on the steps of the pulpit, and as i am walking towards him, he looks at me and smiles as a fait cat swallowed a mouse. [laughter] but he said i never mentioned your name, mr. jones, never mentioned your name. and i just kept walking toward him and he said you will understand we baptist preachers sometimes have to make an example to make our point. i just kept walking towards him and i extended my hand to him and i put my hand in his hand and i said dr. king, when the you want me to go to montgomery, alabama? i called -- at chollet gough i
called, just what martin said about me, but really the subtext title should have been the making of a disciple. it changed my life. there's no question about it. >> host: from there, clarence, you go on to the case -- what happened with the case? >> guest: the case -- to about this. in april -- i have to get my memory -- i forget the exact month, but the case is he is acquitted by an all white jury now it's may of 1960. the reason he is acquitted -- these two tax attorneys in chicago, one had been a supervisor for the internal revenue service. one had in the supervising
attorney for the internal revenue service and the other had been a tax examiner for the revenue service. they literally destroyed thesteo me the only way that those 12 white people could can't convict this because we are going to look like fools. racism may pride has to do something with that. they acquitted him because they just destroyed the government case. how can you convict somebody that look like fools? that. i don't think -- we had some great lawyers obviously coming and you know from 1954 case with charlie houston and hamilton, ci can't think of it, but brilliant, brilliant lawyers.
all the way down to johnnie cochran. that is a whole separate discussion. >> host: what happened in terms of the transition from being his attorney to be like a confidante helping with his speeches and everything? >> guest: well, what happened -- i ended up being -- first of all, there is a person i haven't mentioned. his name is stanley david. should americans really know who he is? they will know if they read this book. i dedicated -- this book is dedicated to stanley. behind the dream is dedicated. now why do i do that? merten came in late 56 comer early 57, he was an independently wealthy, not
extremely wealthy but independently wealthy real-estate attorney, real-estate management attorney. he developed a bond with stanley had this art of writing fund-raisingl he letters soliciting money hunter martin king's naim or on the sutletter head were substantially if not entirely written by stanley levenson. okay. and stanley and i becamthyork. you moved what, to riverdale? >> guest: i moved to the riverdale in 1961, lead 1961, and i immediately began working with not cleveland, but the guy, one of the top labor leaders ind
stanley, but particularly with stanley, stanley defacto was the defacto northern office of the southern christian leadership conference which was thell was also. >> host: now interesting both jack and stanley had an organized left-wing background and i say organized by ne they were members of the communist party. stanley and his brother, identical twins, were members of the communist party until 1956i believe, not how i believe, i know, and they broke with the party, and i mean severed all relationships. and i've often thought the civil rights movement and the relationship with martin king
became the substitute for stanley, such an intense organized person. he severed the relationship with the communist party, and martin king and the southern christian civil rights movement became with the communist party had been to him. he devoted most of his nonprofessional working time, but they developed a close working relationship -- >> host: to close for some people. >> guest: and as a result and stanley then began to work jointly. in fact a large part of the cache, a large part of the of credibility which other than that which i earned on my own in relationship to martin, a large part of it was also from the fact that stanley would
consistently in my presence even when i wasn't around because martin would tell me, he would consistently refer to me as one of the people he could most trust, one of the people most essentials to him by and so martin began to look at me and stanley together, look at me sort of as a right hand. stanley was older than me that we worked together. and so, and they're came a time -- there came a time in june, 1963, when martin was having civil rights leaders of the house and john kennedy took martin away from the meeting and walked with him privately in the rose garden and said to him i have some bad news for you, dr. king. we have some information that the doherty were high ranking
people. one of them is a soviet agent, soviet spy. he said stanley levenson and jack goodell. now jack odell had been an organizer for the national maritime, and jack odell, when he had appeared before one of the committees he had taken the fifth amendment and so forth. the difference between jack odell and stanley and relationship to martin is stanley had told martin that he had been a member of the communist party and severed his relationship with him, okay? jack odell never told martin. it just never became an issue but he never told him. so that when president kennedy revealed this about stanley, i don't know exactly what martin said in the conversation with
the president, but in effect -- no, no, he said i told the president and i knew about stanley's background but there was a surprise about jack o'dell the president said they had to go. and the used the analogy at that time it was a scandal with the government and it was a sort of affair and he said i don't want -- if you get brought down meeting if you get brought down as a civil rights leader you will bring us down because we have a major civil rights bills and you've got to get rid of it. so, you know, the very next day martin comes to new york, so important he comes to new york and we are having a one-on-one conversation, and one of the most amazing things oh, lord and stanley before i did, and he said -- [inaudible] recently clarence, do you think he's a communist? i said no, i don't. and i said but you introduced
me. he said but he and i just wonder do you think that maybe he rejoined the party? i said absolutely not. absolutely not. i said he has an identical twin that he doesn't have two bodies. martin chuckled and i tell you why, aside from his son and his wife and occasionally when he sees his identical twin he sees most of his time with me and working on stuff with you, and when he's not in his office, he's with me or on the phone with me, so i don't know what kind of party members he could be because when does he do it? it would have to be like between 1 a.m. in the morning and 6 a.m. in the morning when he's supposed to be sleeping. it's not possible. and then i didn't know it at the time, and this is why the fbi think it was so vicious the fbi
say that stanley is a communist and king has to get rid of him, but guess what? the bureau approach to both stanley and benet after they broke with the party, knowing they had broken with the party, and asked them if they would be double allegiance. in other words, they knew they were no longer communists but wanted them to be -- to resume the party membership. savoy often wondered whether they were angry at stanley because he turned them down and he wanted to continue to paint him as a communist. >> host: that brings an interesting point the, clarence, because now here is clarence coming close to martin obviously, the whole wiretaping surveillance in motion at that point. >> guest: july 13th, 1963,
until december, 1967, listen to me carefully, every telephone call between martin luther king, jr. and clarence jones, between clarence jones and stanley, between stanley levenson and martin luther king, jr., every phone call was wiretapped, and the conversations were transcribed. and additionally with respect to clarence jones and martin king every meeting, every place we were agreed to meet was actually photographic surveillance. martin comes -- these repairmen
show up. >> host: your house is wired. >> guest: i used to think heavily but i love martinis, and during that period of time when i began to have suspicions, not proof, we would have conference calls, and he would double up with laughter because he is at a conference call at like 11:00 at night and i had suspicions so before the conference call with start i would say colin now, do you have all of your equipment? i want to be sure you get everything down because this is going to be a long conference. and then martin would say stop the theatrics. just to get on with it. but i really believe -- let me say so that we can move on -- i believe stanley levenson, this
jewish lawyer and any other context when you look back at the magnitude of his contribution to martin king and the civil-rights movement, he would be given our nation's highest medal of honor, white house pottery. so that's -- i think the movement, civil rights personally, i think the history of the civil-rights movement in relationship to martin king i think that stanley hasn't gotten his proper due. there is a little effort to rebalance or revisit history and not really bring the contribution made for front so i decided that no one else i'm going to tell a story whenever i can add it to keep this book to
stanley. >> guest: it's tecum like 47 years to get around to this particular book. >> host: what made you plan i've got to go ahead and do this book? >> guest: the original petition with respect to what would martin say i was concerned about the current and the king family, particularly correta, but after martin's death, i didn't see things the same in relationship to martin i certainly didn't see them in relationship to the assassination, and so i felt i could speak more freely, and the other thing is i frankly got
tired. i just get tired if everybody black-and-white, appropriating martin king's mantle, speeches for their own. perhaps the most current example of that if i was into the book when it happened i couldn't believe that bollenbach -- glen beck was going to hold a rally on the cd august, 28, 2010 coming into do it within the context of the i have a dream speech. now everybody -- martin king doesn't belong to me, doesn't belong to the civil rights movement. he is an american icon. but if you are going to associate yourself with him, or even think to claim part of his
mantle, do it within the context of the truth and accuracy. i guess i got so tired of hearing all of these opponents of affirmative action, quote, after time i am opposed to affirmative action because i stand with dr. king. i want my children to be judged by the content of character and not by the color of their skin so martin king would be opposed to affirmative action to get wrong. absolutely wrong. he was one of the earliest opponents of affirmative action. he understood the need, in fact she i think even indicated lyndon johnson's speech at the university. the one where he's getting to the commencement address and says you can't take a person who's been in slavery and say we
are going to put them at the same position on the starting line. you can't do that. that's not fair. this white southern man from texas can get it, and yet there are people who can't. now, i do think, and i come to my own conclusion that race-based affirmative action may no longer be an appropriate remedy from may be an anachronism for this kind to the extent there is going to be a reduction it's got to be economic based. in other words, what i am saying to you is the poor white person from malaysia may be entitled to and from the action remedies just as a poor african-american or hispanic person >> host: one of the things people understand about the speech and a beautiful analogy in terms of, or a before of
catching lightning in a bottle with this speech. now and riverdale he comes up there and you've already gotten this beach together but part of the time, not all of the time, so it's finished in everything but -- >> guest: no, no, we did not work on the speech as a finished entity. what we did work on these ideas. contant, and even things considered language that might be appropriate to express the idea. but ultimately, i sometimes read things and it says clarence jones, co-author of the i have a dream speech.
every speech that stanley levenson and clarence johnson and i didn't trust for martin luther king jr. the were not our speeches, the rot clarence jones speeches. the material which i am pleased to have contributed for the draft material for him to refer to and including his final preparation i'm proud he included it but once he included it it's his, it's not mine, and i want to make that very clear. the whole insufficient funds. >> guest: it shouldn't be any more clear than that because first of all i come from an investment banking background, but more than that as a lawyer i
had an experience in the money at the manhattan bank of going in to a bank vault and they are getting money to to to birmingham alabama. as a, i fought as i was using an anthology i taught that in the opening paragraph i talked about i said to him a good analogy would be you can't believe that we have come this far as negro people, can't believe we have come this far or think i actually said we have come here today, that's what it is, we've come here today -- know, we've come here today to redeem, too greedy and a promissory note that has been returned unpaid for insufficient funds.
>> host: in terms of a promissory note because of dhaka father. >> guest: that's right, and we can't believe that they are not sufficient funds in the fault. i've been to the bank vault. i've not been in, but i've looked, and so i said i still can't believe that the non-sufficient funds in the fault of justice to redeem this promissory note. essentially that is the and then on and on some other things. >> host: to a certain extent the talking points, the hot line, the language and stuff you helped him with. so here he is now on the podium. where are you, you are off to the side. he goes along and gets to i think the word despair he gets to about the nine . then what happens with that speech? >> guest: what happened is that jackson, who is --
[inaudible] she had a special relationship with martin king. he would call and say -- she would sing to him in the phone and two of the many things, hymns that were his favorite, i don't know what his favorites, but the was that he asked among those, precious lord and the old rugged cross. so he had a special relationship with her. so she is sitting up there and i don't know what -- she turns to him and says tell him about the dream, martin, and i have often thought why did she shot that? in fact someone asked me that just a couple of nights ago. why do you think that she
interrupted and said tell them about the dream. when she shouts that to him, he acknowledges, looks out the podium, and i read his body language. i turned to somebody next to me and said they don't know it but they are about ready to go to church. i often thought why did she of that? for the first time just this week i've and maybe she thought she had heard him speak so many times before and this was such a special location, and somehow think she was trying to say to him martin, you need to preach. i think she was trying to say to him is she didn't say preach, martin but tell them about the
dream, because i think she knew there would trigger him. now i read his body language when she said tell him about the dream. he grabbed the podium and looked out at the audience and that is when i said we aren't ready to go to church. now that's the i have a treen portion. the i had a dream phrase was used before the speech just in june and in chicago. but it's the way that he considered the i have a dream trays with other words. now in the book i think i say this, which is if i don't then it should be said. martin king aside from being an extraordinarily gifted or as we all know using contemporary technology this brother,
dr. king could cut and paste in a real-time. i want to make sure you understand what i'm saying. he's speaking in real time. but as he is speaking his mentally cutting and pasting and inserting into his extemporaneous oratory those things which he said before. now you know that's what charlie parker does. john coltrane. excuse me. when he finished i went up to the podium and i said you were john coltrane, charlie parker, it was unbelievable. >> host: and you can speak to that music thing because you have the music background. but, you know, as i say, it's a
combination. it was a beautiful day. it's the vision of 250,000 plus people. it was the excitement. i mean, think about, you know, he was philip randolph introduced martin luther king jr.. you could feel it and he says now it comes to that time because he's the last speaker, comes from that time, brothers and sisters, and now it is my pleasure and my privilege to introduce the undisputed leader of this nation, the reverend dr. martin luther king jr.. and the place just -- now why we
cannot let me -- you know, there was some discussion in the planning of the march on washington of who was going to speak and for how long. now, those of us around martin and martin himself really felt that he should be the last speaker. but he certainly felt, and all of us around him thought it wasn't appropriate for him to say i want to be the last speaker. so, they had raised it and they're seemed to be some resistance to it. so finally they said why don't you come to the meeting with me? and they are talking about well, i think that, you know, he will tend to speak so long. i listened to the discussions
and i am not going to get into names but they were all talking the position on who was went to be the closing act. and finally i looked at him and i sit now i want you to think about this. do you really want to follow martin king? think about that. do you really want to follow martin king? and they said why you say that? i said because you run the risk of people getting up and leaving. i said you know, you don't -- we have a major concert. if people country charles you don't want to put clarence jones where ray charles is supposed to be because i can't sing. so apparent that, apparently that, just that question and
they said what do you think? i said i think martin should be the last dr. king. everybody else referred to him as dr. king. it is amazing how that question was the leveling ground. [laughter] so the right man and the right place at the right time as you see it. >> guest: and you know what that speech was? you know the phrase i have a dream which is repetitive celebrated, when you look at it from the syntax to he is speaking in the future, speaking in the future tense, not present tense.
that's because martin king had more confidence, greater vision of what america could be than america and the government had of itself. do you know what america was before martin luther king jr.? america was like a dysfunctional alcoholic, a drug addict, who had become addicted to racism and segregation and tried different forms to rate their addiction and nothing worked until this preacher from montgomery cantelon and he initiated a recovery program of nonviolence. its multiple steps come in on violence, civil disobedience, which forced america's
conscience to publicly see the contradiction between the reality in which he treated to all% of the population people of color, and what is enshrined in the declaration of independence and in our constitution. and if force in america to see that contradiction that was the first step to enable us to embark on a peaceful recovery. when he was introduced in oslo, norway to receive the nobel peace prize in 1964, among those stated by bruno -- i can't think of his last name now, the chairman of the nobel peace committee, among the things he said, martin luther king jr.
aside from donaghey is the only person in the western world who ushered in and lead a fundamental political and social transformation in a major country without violence. think about that. one of the things in the new book that struck me that i didn't know about was the whole measure on your part to copyright that speech, not for profit sake the post to press dirty. >> guest: well it wasn't so much posterity although it had that -- it was because i had headed up to here with so many people ripping off martin, and i just i had no sense that this was going to be -- i knew that yvette was going to be major but i had no sense that was going to be a major speech. but i did have the sense that whatever he said was going to be
used to and exploited cry and i think this time let's stop it right at the past. and so i and the limited copies made available in the kit i made them pull the belt and i put a little circle to be sure his common-law copyright wasn't terminated by the large distribution because if you have a copyright of something and it's distributed without any limitation, you lose your -- you lose your ability to subsequent the copyright it in the united states copyright statute. so, i did that. now i didn't know how important that was until after the march and some where near my office. all the record places were blaring out the speech. now i knew the march kennedy had made a deal with berry gordy of
motown records and the had the exclusive rights. i thought this was a motown record being played so i went into the store and said this isn't motown, this is why it century fox, so uicklygot on the phone, called the people and things that we are going to do this in the public domain. i said excuse me, partners david and jonathan, lawyers from harvard law school, with their help and advice we quickly went into federal court and got an injunction and request for an accounting of proceeds, and in the decision of the judge, southern district of new york upheld the copyright. at the beginning of october, i don't remember what date it was, but by then formally submitted the speech for statutory
copyright protections. in fact the copyright certificate was issued to martin king for the speech fights and as the author of the speech, but it sent to me, the copyright is issued in my name. in other words, the owner of the copyright is martin king but as you see the copyright certificate it's addressed to me as the person who found it, and i do a reproduction of the certificate in the book so that everybody sees it. >> host: one of the things that struck me is the possible makes for clarence jones, the letter from birmingham jail, and you played a very significant and instrumental role in getting that and facilitating that letter. tell us a little about that. >> guest: well, it was the height of the demonstrations in birmingham in april, 1963. dr. king was incarcerated as his lawyer, and of the only people
except for his family would come and visit and so i went to visit him and when i went in to see him i wanted to go and see him to get his advice because we were having an enormous problem raising bail getting pressure from all the parents whose children had followed his leadership and the were in jail and we didn't have the money to build out of the we were getting money for the uaw we still did not have enough money so i said we have a serious problem. and he almost dismissed me. i know what -- i said i want you to understand how serious this is. and i was really saying there are some people who suggest i talked in your name. he really -- not that he dismissed me that he didn't pay serious attention to the problem i can to discuss with him. he was riding on toilet paper, on the edge of newspaper, anything. i said what this? he said have you seen this? i said once this?
to full-page ad from the birmingham paper signed by eight or ten white clergymen which told him to get out of town, he was a troublemaker. and he sat down to write a response to that and so i took the riding out and to get to mcdonald and then brought him paper and he said when you come to visit again bring some paper, so i would bring paper so he could continue to write. i never looked at what he wrote until -- i put it inside my paper. i wasn't going to be foolish. >> host: is it is possible next book for you? is there any way you contextualize the hall behind the dream. >> guest: let me just say the letter from the birmingham jail is an extraordinary -- it is almost like an manifesto in some
ways. but what blew me away when i went to read that he had no books. he had nothing. and i'm reading this speech and i would expect him as a doctorate in theology and of the scripture. i would expect that but he was quoting from philosophers, poetry. if you see me working on the draft, mr. martin, i'm trying to get this and so forth, i was thinking things to myself dr. king was able to pull out from his memory bank. it was masterful. now the next book which are you going to do next? >> guest: the next book i'm thinking of it is something i learned on philip randolph with respect to negro participation.
the working title is no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. the local participation of african-americans in the 2012 elections. folks, you heard it first year and i think it will probably be as successful man of course what is happening here with behind the dream and you have an extraordinary journey and those years with dr. king as prophetic as he was in many degrees. such a pleasure to talk with you. >> guest: thank you. thank you very much. ..
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