tv Book TV After Words CSPAN January 23, 2011 12:00pm-1:00pm EST
clarencejones discusses his new book behind the dream. in it the former adviser and speech writer for dr. martin luther king, jr. examines the creation of the "i have a dream" speech. the stanford university scholar and president also discusses his relationship with the civil rights leader and several of his fellow advisers. he speaks with author and black studies professor herb boyd. >> host: clarence, you know i feel so absolutely blessed and astonished to be with you because over the years in all of my books i have been searching, seeking trying to get deputy to get a few quotes and a better
understanding of dr. king's life the reedy spent a solid eight years with them to read for five years out there, they mention your insight you. i need to catch up with them. i need to get some of that same information. i was never successful, but someone else was trying to catch up with you at that time, and that was dr. king. what would martin said, your first book, a very, very ribbing section in which you talk about the first encounter, the first time that you had an opportunity to speak to the opening paragraph. just quickly. first of all, i am delighted to be here. talking to you. we have so many mutual friends in common. while. your question brings me back so many years. i was 29 years old. i will be 89 years of age.
i was in 1960, the jury seven months out of the university's says. i get a call from a very distinguished judge and lawyer, herbert delaney. he had known me. he had written a letter of recommendation for me at law school. he called me and said, clarence, he said, i am the chief -- i have just taken on the chief defense counsel of defending dr. king for montgomery alabama who had been indicted for perjury and tax evasion of his state income tax return. we had three other excellent attorneys, to tax specialists from chicago, bob maine and laden. fred gray. the talks to me about the cases. we need a law clerk. we need somebody to do the legal
research. today, a law clerk, of course, has -- if you are cooking for a justice of the supreme court of the appellate system. i knew i was essentially going to be a law clerk, a legal bill for. geographically it was in montgomery, alabama. i was in california. i had just come to california. but so i listened. i said, well, i will be willing to help you and do anything i can. i would go to the law library, do research, male research to you. no, you have to come, clarence. i said, you know, i am trying to start a law career. he said, that's the reason i called you. the beginning of your long career, whenever you are doing, not trying to denigrate it, but this will be some good experience for you. i said, judge, i'm sorry. a just can't do it. it was difficult for me to say no to him.
that was on a thursday night. on friday i get another call. this time it is the judge again. i did not know it at the time of my conversation, but doctor king was planning to have a speaking engagement in california. in fact, he is in the air now on the way to california. before he left i told him that he should try to see you. i gave him your telephone number and so forth. i listened. i thought to myself, the judge doesn't give up. he does give up. he thinks that having a need dr. king, well, i'm not going to leave. i was in the suburbs in altadena. i'm not going to leave to go meet margin of the king -- martin luther king, jr. i said, no, no. it will diminish to come to your
home and visit with you. that was friday morning, friday night. two gentlemen are standing at the door. one had his hat on. both have dark suits. mr. jones. yes. i'm martin king. this is my colleague, i think he said, brother bradley. he comes into my home and sits down. at that time, recently nice tone. in some ways i was not quite living large, but i was living semi large. my wife who is now deceased, now deceased. she agreed. this beautiful plant. there was a tree in the middle of the living room and all of
that stuff. retractable ceiling. >> host: she would get along famously with my wife. >> guest: by the way, just to put it in context, this is 1960. dr. king had been successful in the montgomery boycott, the supreme court, 1957. between 57 and 1960, i don't remember the exact date. the supreme court handed down a decision addling segregation. but and he has been on the covef time magazine. so in common vernacular -- again, current vernacular he would be considered a celebrity. my wife, she reacted to him like he was a celebrity. when i told him he was coming and when he did come into the house he would have thought that a combination of moses, jesus
christ, michael jackson, george clooney, sidney poitier, everything you could think of all rolled into one had walked in. she was so, you know -- she didn't know in advance that he was coming. the house was prepared. everything. yes. and so he comes into the house. you know, cookies and snacks for him. he sits down third. he gets right to the point. you know, mr. jones, there are lots of white lawyers who help us in the south, help us in our work. help us. but what we need our young negro lawyers. we need young negro professionals. judge delaney has spoken so highly about you.
i would hope that you would help us help me in this case because the still anything so much of you. describe what he was doing in and ask me some questions about myself. well, you know, i was an only child. my father was a chauffeur. >> guest: it. >> host: born in philadelphia. >> guest: born in philadelphia. when i was born the january 8th 1931, the only house that they had was the house of the people in which they work with, domestic servants. so i have this recollection before the age of six of being in four different foster families. foster families or friends of my parents. >> host: i see. >> guest: looking back there and probably said, would you
keep little clearance for us? so four different families. but it's -- by the time we get to the age of six my grandmother said they have to change this. was raised by irish nuns. into a public school. i told them, my mother died when i was a junior in columbia college. she never lived to see me graduate. i was only 19 years old. it's a lot of things. and i repeated, i really would like to help you. in fact, i said, dr. king, i will do anything here that i can. now, to be contextual again, no self phones, no blackberries. i don't remember whether there were fax machines, i don't think there were. when you wanted to get something urgent you went to the post office and send it special delivery. i believe they had milligrams
that you could. but if you were one of the first this -- unless you used a special courier service. and he told me, a few minutes out of the door. my wife turns to me. she says to me, what are you doing? it's so important that you can't help this man that came all this distance to see you and ask for your help. i said, hold on. that's not quite accurate. he didn't come all this distance to see me. he had a speaking engagement in california anyway. the judge that he would stop by. he did not come just to see me. then she says, -- and i said, well, i don't -- you know, she pushed me. i do remember saying, book, just because some negro preacher got his hand, the cookie jar, that's not my problem.
if he wasn't guilty he would not have been indicted. she looked at me and says, i don't believe you. you just graduated from law school. i said, that's the way raphael. and she was angry at me. and then i began to be angry at martin king in my mind. i'm thinking, young couples and so forth. no major issues between us. relative domestic tranquillity. and here this negro preacher, this stranger comes to my house and in a matter of two hours my wife is angry at me. so i'm angry at him. i have a hostile attitude after that. next morning the phone rings. a pick up the phone. mr. jones? yes. mr. jones, my name is the door and mcdonald's. this is the secretary. you know, mr. jones, dr. king
enjoyed so much his visit with you and mrs. jones oba, but he forgot, he forgot to tell you that he wanted you to come as his guests. he is preaching in los angeles on sunday. i listened. and so i took down the information. the phone was on the wall and the kitchen. my wife was standing there. i turned to her and said, but told her what had been set. you may not be going to montgomery alabama, but you are going to the church. i said the invitation is for both of us. she was eight and a half months pregnant. she said, no, you go. it is in baldwin hills. 1960. as you know, i assume you know,
baldwin hills in california was the community in southern california of the black, the negro bourgeoisie. before successful blacks could move to brentwood and bellaire, this is where artists, entertainers, businessmen, lawyers, accountants, everybody loved. i go to this church. reverend hd charles. a minimum of 1500. maybe even more. a minimum of 1500. dr. king is introduced. he gets up. he says, ladies and gentleman, 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 who are struggling for their freedom in the south. i thought to myself, this is one smart dude. he came to the right church, the right to, the right place to deliver his message. i had never heard him speak before. i had seen him, but i'd never heard him preach before. and so he began to speak in greater detail, in greater eloquence, greater passion and oratory -- i'd never heard anybody speak like that before. just a passionate description of the struggle in the south. and then he pauses. i'm sitting 1/3 cup -- not in the middle, but one-third toward the front. he pauses.
he never likes of me. he says, for example there is a young man sitting in this church today. my friends in new york whom i respect, they tell me that this young man has a brand that has been touched by the lord. they tell me that this man's brain text by jesus, when he goes into the law library and reese things and does legal research, that is what they tell me, my friends in new york who i respect, he goes all the way back to the time of 1066, 1066. the conqueror, the magna qaeda -- the mac neckar to. and then when this young man writes down and tell me that the words are so compelling that they jump off the page. so i am thinking to myself, i
absolutely have no -- don't have the slightest thought that he is talking about me. first of all, he's not looking at me. i'm thinking to myself, i've only been in los angeles seven months. i know starting out as a gun person just like today, it's about not working. and thinking to myself, i want to meet this dude that he is describing. at think he's going to help me get ahead. then he continues on. i had a chance to visit with this young man. he had forgotten from whence he came. i said oh, lord. and then he began to a tell the church things -- he told the church things which i had told him about myself which was said in private, not necessarily confidential, but private. so the only analogy i can give you, killing me softly with your
sorrow. he was killing me softly with stories which i had given him about my life, particularly about my parents who were domestic servants. and then as he said, he says, he quoted this palm from langston hughes. he sort of changed it a little. he put my mother in the position of the woman who is probing the floors. and then he used the point like so many of you sitting in this of the -- audience today, you would not be here except for the fact is somebody made it possible for you to be a lawyer. as he began to talk about this and particularly as he began to put my mother and the context of the palm, tears began to come down my face.
it was like he just, you know -- i am really just disturbed. so as i said, he was like a celebrity. the church service is over. he is standing on the steps of the pulpit, and as i'm walking toward imbedding he looks at me. he has this look like a cheshire cat. he says, you know, i never mentioned your name, mr. jones. i never mentioned your name. it just kept walking. he says, you know, you will understand, we baptist preachers sometimes have to make an example to make our point. it just kept walking toward him. i extended my hand to hand. i put my hand in his hand. i said, dr. king, wendy's you want me to get to montgomery, alabama? the deal was sealed. i called -- actually, i don't think i called.
but martin said about me, but really, the subset -- subtext should have been, a disciple. chased my life. no question about it. from there you go on to the case. what happened with the case? >> guest: think about this. in april, forgive my memory. the exact amount, but the case, he is acquitted by an all white jury. the reason -- may of 1960. acquitted by an all white jury. the reason that he was acquitted, you know, bob main, you know, these two tax attorneys in chicago, one had been a supervisor for the internal revenue service. one had been the supervising attorney.
the other had been a tax examiner for the revenue service. they literally destroyed the state's case. so it was clear to me that the only way that those 12 white people could come back and bring a conviction, they said assure the must've said we can't convict. we are going to look like fools. racism made me something. they acquitted him. they just destroyed. how can you convict somebody. they would look like fools. that was amazing. but i don't think that -- adopting that -- and ted's delaney, you know, we have had some great lawyers. obviously, you know from 1954, charlie houston, charles hamilton, hamilton, houston,
thurgood marshall. oh, god, clarence -- anyway. brilliant. brilliant. all right. >> host: of the way down to johnnie cochran. >> guest: uh-oh, please. johnnie cochran. what happens in terms of the transition from being his attorney to being a confidante? >> guest: well, i ended up being -- first of all, their is a person i have not mentioned. should americans really know who he is? they will if they read this book. i dedicated this. this book is dedicated to stanley. dedicated to. now, why do i do that? he met martin came in the late
1950 s. he was an independently wealthy, not an extremely wealthy, but independently wealthy real-estate attorney. he developed a bond with manque. primarily initially in terms of fund-raising stanley had this art of writing appeal letters, fund-raising appeal letters. virtually all of the appeal, the letters soliciting money under marking king's name were on southern christian letterhead, substantially if not entirely written by martin. stanley and i became very good friends when i came to new
york's. >> host: he moved to riverdale? >> host: >> guest: i move to riverdale in 1961. i immediately began working with -- of, god, not cleveland, joe gordon. one of the top labor leaders in harlem. in a philip randolph and stanley. but particularly with stanley, defacto. the north. the defacto north office of the southern christian conference which was in effect the fund-raising arm. jack cadel. >> host: jack cadel. >> guest: now, interesting, both jack and stanley had organized left wing. when i say organized a man they were members of the communist
party. stanley and his brother, identical twins, members of the communist party up until 1956. not i believe, i know. they broke with the party over the soviet invasion of laundry. and i mean, severed all relationships. i have often thought that the civil-rights movement and the relationship with martin king became the substitute for stanley. stanley was such an intense organized person. he severed all relationships. martin came became what the communist party had been to him. he devoted most of his nonprofessional working time to martin, but they developed a close working relationship. >> host: to close for some
people. >> guest: oh, yes. no. and as a result i and stanley then began to work jointly. in fact, a large part of the cachet, a large part of the credibility, other than that which i turned 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 was consistently refer to me as one of the people he could most trust, one of the people that was most essential. so martin began to look at me and stanley together, look at me as a right hand the stanley. we worked together be. and so there came a time --
there came a time in june 1963 when martin was having -- there was a meeting of civil rights leaders at the white house. john kennedy took more no way from the meeting and walked with him privately in the rose garden. he said to him, i have some bad news. we have some affirmation that two of your high ranking people are communists, and one of them as a soviet agent, a soviet spy. so mr. stanley livingston. >> host: jack cadel. >> guest: jack cadel. jack cadel has been an organizer for the national maritime. jack cadel had, when he appeared before one of the committee's taken the fifth amendment. now, the difference between jack cadel and stanley in relationship to mourn is the
stanley had told martin, had told him that he had been a member of the communist party and had severed his relationship with the. jack o'dell never told martin. it just never became -- initially he never told him. so that when -- so that when president kennedy revealed this thing about stanley i don't know exactly what martin said in the conversation with the president, but in effect what he told me, i told the president that i knew about stanley's background. it was prior. but the president said they had to go. in fact, he used the analogy, it was a scandal. so he said, i don't want -- if you get brought down, meaning if you get brought down as a civil rights leader you will bring us down because we have a major civil-rights bill. you have to get rid of them.
the very next day martin comes to new york. it's so important to comes to new york. we are having a 1-on-1 discussion. he knew stanley before i did. he said,. >> host: i never asked. >> guest: he said to me, clarence, do you think he is a communist? what? i said, no, i don't. you introduced me. he said, well, yap. you think that maybe he rejoined the party? i said absolutely not. absolutely not. where you so sure? said stanley would have to -- he has an identical twin, but he does not have two bodies. let me tell you. aside from his son and wife and occasionally when he sees as a decline he spends most of his time with me and working on stuff with
you. when he is not in his office he is with me on the phone with me. i don't know what kind of party member he could be. when does he do it? it would have to be between 1:00 a.m. in the morning and 6:00 a.m. in the morning. he is supposed to be sleeping. it's not possible. i didn't know it at the time, and this was why the fbi, so vicious. the fbi be, they say the stanley is a communist. king has to get rid of them. guess what, the bill approached both. after they broke with the party knowing they have broken with the party. ask them if they would be double agents. they knew there were no longer communists, but one wanted them to resume their party. i often wondered whether they were angry at stanley because he turned them down and he wanted
to continue to paint him as a communist. now, so that raises an interesting point. now here is stanley coming close to martin. obviously the whole wiretapping, surveillance, pro and sell. the emotions. my brother. july 13th 1963 until december 1967, listen to me carefully. every telephone call between martin of the king jr. and lance jones, between clarence jones and stanley, between stanley and martin luther king jr., every telephone call was wiretapped. and the conversations were transcribed and written down.
and additionally with respect to clarence jones and martin came every meeting that we attended together, every place that we would agree to meet or actually for was under photographic surveillance. your home, for example. >> host: martin comes. these repairmen show up. >> guest: yeah, right. that's right. in fact and i said -- >> host: your house is wired. >> guest: the wiretap. i was thinking -- i used to think -- in no, controlled drinking. i love. during that time when i began -- when i began to have -- when i began to have suspicions we would have conference calls. he would double up with laughter. we'd like to have conference calls at 11:00 at night. suspicions. so before the conference call starts i would say, hold on.
now, the fbi, do you have all of your equipment ready? , to be sure you get everything give yourself comfortable. martin would say, parents, stop the theatrics. let's get on with it. i really believe. so let me just say so that we can move on to my belief stanley levenson, this jewish lawyer in 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 -- he would be given a civilian medal of honor. he would be a white house honoree. without question. c-span2 he died 1979. >> guest: yes. and so i think that -- i think
that the movement, the civil rights -- personally i think that the history of the civil-rights movement in relationship to martin came, i think that stanley has not gotten his proper due. that think that there is a little effort to rebalance our revisit history and not really bring the contribution that he has made for front. so i decided that if no one else i am going to tell the story wherever i can and dedicate this book. >> host: it has taken 47 years to get around to this particular book. what hesitation, what made you finally decide, i have to go ahead and do this book? >> guest: well, the original hesitation was with respect to what would martin said? i was concerned about credit and some of the king family. particularly corona. i have great respect and
affection. but after martin's death i did not see things the same way that she saw them in relationship to martin. i certainly did not see them in relationship to the assassination. and so i felt that i could speak more freely. and then the other thing is i frankly get tired. i just got tired of everybody, black and white appropriating martin king's mental, his words, his speeches for their own. perhaps the most current example of that, i went into the book when it happened. i could not believe that plan back was going to hold a rally at the foot of the lincoln
memorial on the same day of august 282010 and do it within the context of the "i have a dream" speech. now, everybody, martin king does not belong to me. he does not belong to the civil rights movement. martin king is american, he is an american icon. if you are going to associate yourself with them or even seek to claim part of his mental but do it within the context of truth and accuracy. i guess i got so tired of having to hear all of these opponents of affirmative action "time after time, i'm opposed to affirmative action because i stand with dr. king. i want my children to be charged by the content of our character and not the color of the skin. martin king would be opposed.
wrong. absolutely wrong. he was one of the earliest proponents on affirmative action. he understood the need. in fact, he even educated lyndon johnson. if you read lyndon johnson speech. the one where he says he is giving the commencement address. >> host: know, yes. >> guest: you can't take a person has been in slavery and say we will put them at the same position. he can't do that. it's unfair. even a white southern man from texas can get it. yet there are people who can't get it. now, i do think and i have come to my own conclusions that race-based affirmative action and no longer be an appropriate remedy. it may be an anachronism for this time. to the extent that there is going to be affirmative action, it has got to be economic based.
in other words, what i'm saying to you is that the poor white person from appalachian may be entitled to affirmative action remedies just as a poor african-american or hispanic person. >> host: he put it an economic speech to a think it is an anachronism. >> host: one of the things that people understand the, i think it would make a beautiful analogy in terms of -- or metaphor, catching lightning in a bottle. now, in riverdale body comes out there. you are working on the speech together. >> guest: part of the time. >> host: it is finished and everything. >> guest: well, no. we did not work on the speech as a finished entity, of venice, you know, the text. what we did work on with ideas. we worked on phrasing, content,
things that should be in it. >> host: sure. >> guest: even considered language that might be appropriate to express the idea. but ultimately, you know, sometimes i read things and it says, clarence jones, co-author of the "i have a dream" speeds. that is not accurate. that is an overstatement. every speech that stanley levinson and clarence jones and i contributed in draft form to martin luther king, jr., they were his speeches. the material which i am pleased to have contributed for and to, this draft text material for him to refer to answer to include in his final preparation, i'm proud that he included it, but once
the included, it's not mine. it is says. i want to make that very clear. there shouldn't be any more clear indication of my contribution than that. first of all, i come from an investment banking background. more than that of was a lawyer. i had just had an experience with money raising from the rockefellers and chase manhattan bank of going into a vault and seeing money. bail money to take down to birmingham, alabama. so i thought as i was using an analogy, i talked about in the opening paragraph, i said to him, a good analogy would be you can't believe that we have come
this far as negro people. i cannot believe you have come this far more at think i actually said we have come here today we have come here today to redeem a promissory note that has been returned unpaid for insufficient funds. >> host: that was the key thing. rockefeller. >> guest: and we can't believe that they are not sufficient funds in the vault of been in the bank vault. i have looked. i said, i can't believe there is not sufficient funds in the vaults of justice to regain this promissory note. >> host: yes. >> guest: essentially. and then i added on some other things. so i didn't --
>> host: to a certain extent the talking points, the outline, some of the language and stuff you had helped him with. >> guest: no question about it. >> host: here he is on the podium. where are you? >> host: off to the side in the back. >> host: he goes along. he gets to the words despair. he gets to the ninth paragraph. and what happens? >> guest: what happened. manley jackson -- >> host: she had already performed. >> guest: she had a special relationship with martin luther king. he would call up. sing to me. she would sing to him. but two of the many things that were his favorite. i don't know all of his favorite, but those that he asked -- among those that he asked, precious lord and the old
rugged cross. so he had the special relationship. and so she is sitting up there. i don't know. i don't know what -- she turns to him and says tell them about the dream. tell them about the dream. i've often thought, why did she shot that? in fact, someone asked me that just a couple of nights ago. why do you think she interrupted martin and said tell them about the dream. >> host: he is going along. >> guest: he is reading. and when she shouts that to him, tell them about the dream, he enologist. he looks up and out at the podium. i read his body language. but this is all in real time. i turn to somebody who is next to me. don't know it today. now, i often thought, why did
see of that? for the first time just this week i think that maybe she thought that she had heard him speak so many times before. this was such a special occasion. somehow i think she was trying to say to him, martin, you need to preach. what she was tied to say to him. she didn't say preach. she said tell them about the drain. she knew that would trigger an. should read the body language. in look down at the audience. about ready to go to church. >> host: that is the i have a dream. >> guest: the i have a dream phrase, that was used before. it was used before in a speech in june. and. >> host: and in chicago.
>> guest: but it is the way that he can figure it the phrase. in the book at think as a this. if i don't then i should be set. martin king, aside from being an extraordinarily deft -- gifted orator, using contemporary currency of technology , this brother, dr. king, he could cut and paste in real time as he is speaking. i want to be sure you understand what i'm saying. he is speaking in real time, but as he is speaking he is mentally cutting and pasting and inserting into his extemporaneous oratory those things which he said before. you know that is what charlie park status. >> host: john : >> guest: excuse me.
>> host: improvisation at its highest point. >> guest: i went up. you or john coltrane. >> host: you can speak to that music thing. >> guest: you know, as i say, it is a combination. it was a beautiful day. it is the vision of 250,000 plus people. it was the excitement. i mean, think about. you know how a philip randolph introduced martin luther king jr. you could feel it. and now it comes to that time.
he is the last speaker. >> host: who wants to follow dr. king. >> guest: now it is my pleasure and privilege to introduce the undisputed moral dictator of the station, the rev. dr. martin luther king, jr. and be just like. by the way, let me back. you know, there was some discussion in the pre planning of the march on washington about who was going to speak. >> host: and how long. >> guest: and how long. now, those of us who were around martin, and martin himself really felt that he should be the last speaker. he certainly felt and all of those around him felt it was not appropriate for him to say i want to be the last speaker.
so they have raised it. and this seemed to have some resistance. finally, come to the meeting with me. so they are talking. well, i think that, you know, one of the reasons we want to have martin it to speak, he will tend to speak so long. i listened to the discussion. i'm not going to get into names, but they were all jockeying for position on who was going to be the closing act. and finally i looked at him and said, i want you to think about this. do you really want to follow -- did any of you really want to follow martin luther king? think about that. do you really want to follow martin attacking? and they said, why do you said that? and i said, because you run the risk of people getting up and
leaving. you know, you don't football -- if you have a major concert you don't -- you don't. >> host: the opening act. >> guest: if people come for ray charles you don't want to put clarence jones where ray charles is supposed to be. i can't sing. apparently, apparently just that question. he said, well, what do you think? i said i think dr. king -- dr. king should be the last speaker. it is amazing how that question was the leveling ground. do you really want to follow dr. king? so. >> host: the right man in the right place at the right time as you see it. >> guest: as i see it. and you know what, you know what
that speech was to backbar in know, the phrase "i have a dream" which is repetitive, celebrated phrase. when you look at it from a syntex standpoint he is speaking in the future. he is speaking in the big future tense, not in the present tense. that is because martin king had more confidence, had a greater prophetic vision of what america could be than america and the government had of itself. >> host: yes. >> guest: do you know what america was before? america was like a dysfunctional alcoholic or drug addict who had become addicted to racism and segregation and had tried to different forms to break the
addiction and nothing worked. until this preacher from montgomery gamelan. he initiated a recovery program of non-violent civil disobedience. it is multiple steps. non-violent civil disobedience. it forced america, conscience to publicly see the contradictions between the reality in which it traded call% of its population, people of color, and what is enshrined in the declaration of independence and our constitution. it is forcing american of 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 the paragraphs that are stated -- i can't think of his name now. yes. the chairman of the nobel peace committee. among the things that he said martin luther king, jr., aside from mahatma gandhi, the only person in the western world who ushered in and led a fundamental political and social transformation and a major country without violence. think about it. >> host: one of the things of the book, though, that struck me that i did not know about was the whole measure on your part to copyright that speech, not for profits sake, but for
posterity. >> guest: well, it was not so much posterity. it was because i had had it up to here with some many people ripping martin of. i had no sense that this is going to be -- by new the event was going to be major, but i had no sense that it would be a major speech. i did have a sense that whenever he said bonn was going to be used and exploited. i figured this time let's stop it right to pass. and so in the limited copies that were made available in the press kit, but pulled it out and put a little circle. be sure that his common-law copyright was not terminated by the large distribution.
you lose your ability to copyrighted. so i did that. i didn't know how important that was until after the march downtown near my office. even up in harlem. all of the video and record places were firing out the speech. i knew the march community had made a deal with motown records that they had the exclusive rights. but i thought this was a motown record being played. went into the store. this is twentieth century fox. so i quickly got on the phone. well, this is public domain. excuse me. so much to law partner bring it to lawyers from harvard law school. with their help and advice we quickly went into federal court
and got an injection. but a decision of the judge, the federal district of new york, he upheld the copyright. and then the beginning of october, i don't remember what date. i formally submitted the speech for statutory copyright protection. in fact, the copyright certificate that was issued to martin came for the speech sites and as the author of the speech, but it is sent to me in my name. in other words, the owner of the copyright is martin king, but the copyright certificate is addressed to me as the person who filed it. but two of reproduction of that in the book so that everybody sees it. >> host: one of the things that struck me is a possible vote for clarence jones, the
letter from birmingham jail. you played a very significant and instrumental role in getting that this -- facilitating that later. >> guest: that's correct. >> host: tell us a little bit about that speech to the height of the demonstrations in birmingham dr. king was incarcerated. but one of the only people besides his family who could come and visit him. i went in to visit him. when i went in to see him i wanted to go see him to get his advice. we were having an enormous problem raising bail money. in other words, we are getting pressure from all the parents whose children have followed his. they were in jail, and we did not have the money to bail them out. we did not have enough. so i go again. we have this serious problem. they almost dismissed me.
well, i know. speak of want you to understand how serious the says. the you suggest i talk in your name? not that he dismissed me, but he did not pay serious attention to the problems that i can to discuss with him. he was writing on toilet paper, on the edge, newspaper, anything. he was scribbling. what is this? have you seen this? a full-page ad from the birmingham "herald," the newspaper signed by eight or ten white clergyman which in effect told him to get out of town and he was a troublemaker. he stepped down to ride in response to that. so i took to writing out and put it under my shoe. a ticket out. i brought him in paper. when you come in to visit me again bring me some paper. i would bring from the jail what he wrote, give it to doors to type and bring him paper said that he could continue to write
it and never looked at what he wrote of was not going to be foolish . but. >> host: is it possible as the next book? on that. q contextualize the hole behind the dream. >> guest: let me just say, the letter from the birmingham jail is really an extraordinary -- it is almost like a manifesto. what gloomy away when i finally found it, no books. he had nothing. i am reading this speech. i would expect him as a doctor to know the scripture. i would expect that. but he was quoting from philosophers, from poetry. now, when i used to do -- if you see me working on a draft speech you see me sitting with a pile
of books. than trying to get this. so i'm thinking, and doctor king was able to pull out from his memory bank. it was a masterful thing. but my next book, i think my next book. >> host: what are you going to do? >> guest: the next book and thinking about is something i learned from h. philip randolph with respect to negro participation. the working title is no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. a new paradigm for the political participation of african americans in the 2012 elections. >> host: folks, you heard it first year. at think it will probably be as successful. of course what is happening here with "behind the dream." you have an extraordinary
journey. having those years with dr. king, just as prophetic as he was. a pleasure to talk to you speak to thank you so much. thank you very much. >> we are here at the national press club talking with author ted about his book, a secret gift. >> the secret gift was a gift made in the deaths of the great depression in 1933 by an anonymous donor to 150 families. his identity remains unknown for 75 years. two years ago a suitcase was handed to me that contained hundreds of letters from that time, and the identity of the secret donor who was my grandfather. >> and, can you tell us more about the gift? what was the donation? >> the gift was $5 to 150 families who have written to him. for the last two years i have
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