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tv   In Depth  CSPAN  October 7, 2013 12:00am-3:01am EDT

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been really interesting. . . >> host: congressman john lewis, who was out when wilson? >> guest: out when wilson is a man that i first encountered on may 9 culminate in 61 in south
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carolina at the greyhound bus station. in 1961, i was at the freedom ride. we left washington ecma four, 1961, 13 of us. to test a division of the united states supreme court. been in segregation on public transportation. my seatmate on the greyhound bus from washington d.c., you must understand and 1961, black people in white people couldn't be seated together. ..
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assist the charges against him. well, for the two of us we arrived at a little greyhound bus station in south carolina. a group of white men met us in the doorway and started beating us and left us lobbying in a pool of blood and the officials came up and wanted to know whether we wanted to press charges. we said no we believe and of love and peace and nonviolence. i didn't know at that time may 9th, 1961 that this man was wilson, years later in february
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february 09 after president barack obama had been inaugurated he came to my office on capitol hill to seek out the peace grown. mr. lewis, will you forgive me? i want to apologize. i'm sorry. they hugged me. i hugged them back and i saw him since then he recently passed. but it demonstrated the power of nonviolence, the power of love and the way of peace to be reconciled. >> host: did he come to your office out of the blue?
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>> guest: he had gone from different places to self carolina students that attended local college, blank college students in 1960. he'd gone of around apologizing to them. a local press person made contact and they had been some of the freedom riders. so they still were working with them and discovered i was on the bus and i was one of the people there was beaten. he's in washington and the congress. >> host: another significant date you write about february 27th, 1960 national your first of rest. >> i will never forget that day as long as i live.
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20-years-old. we had been involved in the nonviolent workshops studying the way of martin luther king jr.. we had social trauma believe could, over the plan and hundreds of students had been sitting in for the peaceful nonviolent action waiting to be served and someone would come up and spit on you were put a cigarette in your hair. they would pour hot water or coffee on you or beat you and we were sitting there in an orderly fashion not saying a word, looking straight ahead reading the book, working on the paper, and people start beating us and the local police officials came
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up and arrested all of us and not a single person would ben ee engaged in violence against us. that was my first arrest and that day when i was arrested i felt so free e and liberated iop felt like i crossed growing up in rura al alabama wn i asked my mother and father and grandparents and great grandparents about segregationdn and racial discrimination about the science signs, white men, colored men, white women, colored women, and i said, why. that's the way it is. don't get in the way. don't get in trouble. but dr. king and rosa parks inspired me to get in trouble. so by sitting in, we were arrested, and we went to jail. 89 of us were arrested on that day. >> host: did you pay a fine? were you in jail for a while? >> guest: we were in jail for a few hours.
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matter of fact, the local school officials came down and bailed us out. that was my first arrest. that was my introduction to southern jails. and i tell people i grew up sitting down on those lunch counter stools and going to jail in places like nashville and birmingham, jackson, mississippi, atlanta, georgia and a few other places across the south. >> host: john lewis, what was the ultimate result in nashville prior to the larger civil rights movement? >> guest: the nashville community became probably one of the first major cities in the american south to segregate lunch counters and later desegregated all of its theaters. in nashville we took the, we started talking about the beloved community of making nashville an open city. nashville was considered the
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essence of the south, and there was people in the white community, very progressive, liberals that really wanted to see nashville make the great transition to a peaceful and open city. >> host: how'd you get to nashville? >> guest: i left rural alabama in september 1957, 17 years old, traveling by bus to study. i wanted to attend a school outside of troy, alabama, near where i grew up. i grew up 50 miles from montgomery, 10 miles from troy, and i applied to go to a school called troy state college, now known as troy university. submitted my application, my high school transcript. i never heard a word from the school. so i wrote a letter to dr. martin luther king jr. he wrote me back and sent me a round trip greyhound bus ticket, invited me to come to montgomery and meet with him.
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but in the meantime, i'd been accepted to college in nashville. i went off to nashville, an uncle gave me a $100 bill, more money than i'd ever had, gave me a big foot locker. i put everything that i owned, my books, my clothing and went to nashville, and i literally grew up in nashville. it was there that i started studying the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. >> host: who are shorty and sugarfoot? >> guest: shorty was a name that my mother and some -- my father called my mother sugar season foot. >> host: what did they do? >> guest: they worked on the farm. and i remember when i was 4, my father was a tenant farmer. but in 1944 he had saved $300,
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and he bought 110 acres of land. my family still owns that land today. and on this farm we raised a lot of cotton and corn, peanuts, hogs and cows and chickens. and i would be out there some days working in the field, and i would say to my mother, this is hard work, this is hard work. and she would say, boy, hard work never killed anybody. and i kept saying to myself, if i can just make it to the end of this row. and i complained, i said working in the field like this is just like gambling. you spend all this money on fertilizer and plants and seeds and sometimes you get too much rain, and you don't know whether you're going to make anything or not, and my mother would say that's all we can do, that's all we can do. but as a young child, when i was only about 7 and a half or 8 years old and later 9, 10, i would get up early in the
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morning and get my book bag and hide under the porch and wait for the school bus to come along to run -- to get on the bus to go to school. i didn't like working in the field. i didn't like being out there in the hot sun. >> host: would you get in trouble for that? >> guest: i did get in trouble, but they encouraged me to get an education. but at the same time, they needed me to work in the field. but it was -- i guess it was part of my first protest. on the farm it was my responsibility to care for the chickens, and i fell in love with raising chickens like no one else could raise chickens. >> host: you write about this in your most recent book, "march: book one," it's a graphic novel. and in here you write about preaching to the chickens. >> guest: well, as a child, as a young child, i wanted to be a minister. i wanted to preach the gospel.
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so from time to time with the help of my brothers and sisters and cousins, we would gather all of our chickens together in the chicken yard, and my brothers and sisters and cousins were lined outside of the chicken yard, and i would start speaking, preaching. but the chickens along with my brothers and sisters and cousins would help make up the audience of the congregation. and i remember very well, i fell in love with raising those chickens. the chickens taught me patience, they taught me hard work, they taught me not to give up and not to give in. if you don't know anything about raising chickens on a pardon fau have to take the fresh eggs and mark them with a pencil, you place them under the setting hen, and you wait for three long weeks for the chicks to hatch. the reason you mark with a pencil before you place them under the setting hen were from time to time another hen would get on the same nest. there were be more eggs.
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and sometime i would take these little chicks and give them to another hen, either take the little chicks and put them in a box with a lamp and raise them on their own. i was never quite able to save $18.98 to order the most inexpensive incubator for the sears roebuck store, this big catalog, some people called it an order book, other people called it the wish book -- i wish i had this, i wish i had that. so as a child, it was my duty, my responsibility to care for those chickens. and i tell children today some of those chickens would bow their heads, but i'm convinced that some of those chickens tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in the congress. they were more productive. >> host: what would happen when one of the chickens became sunday dinner? >> guest: oh, i would protest. [laughter] i didn't like the idea of my mother, father, some relative coming, getting one of the
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chickens we're having for dinner. it was probably my first nonviolent protest. >> host: john lewis, why is your most recent book on your life in this form, in graphic novel form? >> guest: a staff person of mine back in, oh, '08 came to me and said, congressman, you should write, you should write a comic book. well, the way it started he was going to -- the campaign was over, and he was going to go out to fandago to come -- comiccon. ore staffers -- other staffers started laughing about it. and i said to the staff, you shouldn't make fun of him, you shouldn't laugh. there was another kind of book that came out in late 1957, early 1958, i believe, and it was called martin luther king
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jr. and the montgomery story published by an organization called the fellowship for reconciliation, a pacifist group. and i said that comic book, that little book sold for ten cents, but it influenced many of us in the early days of the civil rights movement including the four students in greens burg, north carolina. and many of us in nashville. and so this young man named andrew, my co-author, came back to me and said, congressman, really you should write a comic book. and i finally said to him, yes, if you would do it with me. so the rest is history. and the book is doing very, very well. and this is just book one. we still have book two and book three. book two will come out in the pall of '14. -- in the fall of a '14. >> host: john lewis in both walking with the wind and march: book one, you write about june
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1951 and a trip with uncle otis. >> guest: i could never forget that. i had never traveled out of alabama before i was 11 years old. and i remember so well my mother and her sister and aunt staying up late at night baking pies and cakes, frying chicken, wrapping the cellophane paper, putting food in shoe boxes for us to have something to eat as we traveled from rural alabama, through tennessee, through kentucky, through ohio on our way to buffalo. it was my first time out of south, and i remember 11 years old being in buffalo, new york. it was my first time seeing an elevator, my first time seeing an escalator. and it was so, so different.
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it had an impact on me. i saw black people and white people working together, living together. it was a different world. >> host: why did you make that trip? i went there to spend part of the summer with another brother, my mother, an aunt and some of my first cousins. >> host: another date in your history, september 2, 1986, democratic primary. >> guest: that was the election day in atlanta in the 5th congressional district of georgia. that was the, that was the runoff. it was a very difficult race with a close and dear friend of mine by the name of julian bond who we had worked to together in the student nonviolent
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coordinating committee, we had been wonderful, wonderful friends. he had served in the statehouse, the state senate. he wanted to come to congress, and i wanted to come to congress. and it was a race that i never wanted to repeat one like that. >> host: you won? >> guest: i won. i prevailed. people, some people thought i didn't have a chance, that i didn't have a prayer. julian was so well known not just in atlanta, but around the nation. i probably was better known outside of georgia in alabama, mississippi and other parts of the deep south. well, especially nashville where i spent six years as a student. >> host: how did you get to atlanta? >> guest: i moved to atlanta during the early summer of 1963. i was 23 years old. i became the chair of the student nonviolent coordinating
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committee better known as sncc, one of the civil rights organizations. it was based in atlanta. i had just finished school at fish university in nashville. i spent four years at american baptist college, it was called the american baptist theological seminary and later became american baptist college, and i spent two years studying philosophy. so when i became the chair, i had to move to atlanta. i loved nashville. i fell in love with that city. it was the first city that i lived in. but i went to atlanta and spent a lot of time traveling all across the south going to arkansas, southwest georgia, to delta, mississippi, and to louisiana and north carolina, south carolina. but atlanta presented me with an opportunity to be the place not
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just to be there, but to come to washington to meet with members of congress, to come and meet with president kennedy, with martin luther king jr. and others. a few weeks after i'd been elected chair of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, i was in washington in the white house with president kennedy, and i will never forget that first meeting with the president and then getting on a flight, flying from washington back to atlanta and preparing for the march on washington. that was 50 years ago. >> host: who are the big six? >> guest: the big six was the head of the major civil rights organization. you had a man by the name of a. philip randolph. mr. randolph was considered the dean of black
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randolph who organized the brotherhood of dhaka car supporters rather than the man working on the railroad when you come to washington and work through the union station, there is the bus. he had been on his own posters and. you had martin luther king jr. who was the president of the conference board in atlanta georgia and then there was wilkins the head of the naacp the national association for the offense and of colored people and born in minnesota a wonderful man and then born in
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kentucky later became the head of the national urban league. there was another man by the name of james former. former had attended college in texas and he was part of the debating team. this little school, this team defeated harvard and a one. later they did a study at harvard university and became very involved with the naacp and later was one of the founders of the racial equality. it was the six of us in june of
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63. you write in walking in the win by salles for the first time trip to new york city the of leading took place at the roosevelt hotel and provided my first look at the personality of roy wilkins. i can't say that i liked what i saw. he killed himself back when he met with the president but now among us he was asserting himself. we met in one of the hotel's private dining rooms and from the moment that he entered the room, he came across to me as some sort of new yorker who thought he was smarter than the rest of the group. what was memorable but the meeting that day much more than the details of planning the upcoming march was watching the dynamics among the participants there was an exercise in power and positioning of political rivalry with chatting and waiting to take their seats around the large dining table,
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wilkins immediately shook his head and began looking for a room having people on the shoulder saying who would stay and who had to leave to read these was powerful people and he wasn't very polite about it. he was particularly nasty to bayard ruston but he was highly more cordial to the others. he didn't suggest that anyone leave the room. he demanded it. congressman louis pugh you write it was amazing that he would do that and even more amazing was the fact that the others obeyed him. the >> guest: most of the members of the big six had a representative assistance and he asked that each one would leave and only the principal only the head of the organization would remain and the bankrupt what happened. we stayed and there was a long drawn-out discussions about who
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should head the march on washington, who should be the director and many of us felt that this man, this brilliant man, this organizer, that he should be the head and there was a discussion because the involvement and that the senator and people like strom thurmond and maybe eastland in the mississippi would use that against the march on washington. so, we had a caucus dr. king, james former and myself. we said we would select a philip randolph as the chair of the march of washington and let him
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select his deputy and that is what he did because we knew some people said it was so close that he would turn into him and that is exactly what he did. no one was going to question a philip randolph. >> host: good afternoon and welcome to book tv in debt for october 2013. this month we are talking with congressman john lewis a democrat of georgia and the author of autrey books walking with the wind a memoir of the movement was his first. the second came out in 2012 across that bridge and finally this past year, but number one was released as the first in the series. if you would like to participate in the conversation we will show you how. here are the numbers. if you live in the east and central time zones 385-8881. you can also send an e-mail or
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post a comment on the facebook page. if you want to send a message@book tv is our twitter handle and tv and book is our e-mail address. mr. lewis will be with us for the next two and a half hours. we will begin taking those calls in just a minute. >> august 28, 1963. what was that like for you? >> guest: the day of the march of washington. i remember that morning very well. i got up and i got dressed and i left the hilton hotel at 16th to downtown washington, d.c..
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we woke up or someone drove us all up to capitol hill and we asked for the leadership on the house side. it was a wonderful meeting. i remembered meeting everett, the republican leader from the state of illinois. i have a photograph with him and we met the chairman of the judiciary committee of new york city we left a meeting with house leaders, senate leaders
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and we were coming down constitution avenue and we look towards union station to the we were all working together and it was a humanity just hundreds of thousands of people pouring out of the streets coming from union station and we knew now it was meant to be more than 50 or 60,000 people. the people already marching and liberal wing dino they said there go my people let me catch up with them let's see if humanity just literally pushed us towards the washington monument on towards the lincoln memorial. up those steps we took our seats and we started preparing for the program. >> host: you are the only surviving speaker. >> guest: out of the big 6i am the only one still around.
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i feel more than lucky. i feel very blessed. >> host: you write a leader doesn't see himself standing out in front of the people. he sees himself standing among them. he doesn't tell people to dig a ditch. he gets down with them and helps dig himself. >> guest: you don't tell people to go someplace that you are not prepared to go. you go together. you work together, you pull and push together. real leaders must be fervent leaders. you must be one of the people. during my chairmanship with the student nonviolent coordinating committee during my early days as it would spend with someone primm the media would come up to me and say are you one of the leaders of this group and i would say i'm just a participant. i still believe that today.
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i'm just one of the participants that tried to help. >> host: who succeeded u.s. the chairman of sncc? >> guest: stokely carmichael succeeded me as the chair of the committee in may of 1966. >> host: why? >> guest: there was a feeling during those days that i wasn't militant enough. i got the image of being a radical during the march on washington, but i have always believed in a way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence, that we must not tear down. and i don't believe in a lot of rhetoric. i believe in 123 d-nd b.c. of doing something. that was the way of the student nonviolent coordinating committee. >> host: yet you talk about
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the generational differences between the black leadership and you as the young leader of sncc. >> guest: but during that period many of us felt some of the traditional older leaders were moving too slow even at the march on washington i said you tell us to wait and to be patient. we don't want our freedom gradually. we want it here and now. so the freedom ride was on just a vote against segregation and racial discrimination but was also every vote against part of the leadership. >> host: march 7th 1965. >> guest: march 7th, 1965 on that day a small group of us, 600 people attempted to march from selma to montgomery, to
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dramatize the state of alabama to the nation and the world that people wanted to register to vote. in the state of alabama like so many southern states it was almost impossible for people of color to register to vote. there was one county in alabama in march of 1965 where the african-american population was more than 80% but there wasn't a single registered african-american voters in the economy. in the little town of sali in dallas county this is the kind of seat that was in the heart of the black belt. only 2.1% could vote and in the only time that you could even attempt to register to vote was on the first and third monday of each month yet to pass the task on one occasion they would ask
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and on another occasion the past to count the jellybean in a jar. what provoked this and in the town and mary in alabama about 30 or 35 miles, this is the home county of martin luther king jr., the late mrs. andrew young. this is the home county of ralph abernathy and there was a march 1 evening in february and the confrontation occurred. a young man by the name of jimmie lee jackson was a veteran who attempted to protect his mother and was shot in the stomach and a few days later he died at a local hospital in selma and because of what
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happened to him, we decided to march from selma to montgomery. so 600 of last had a prayer we start walking in and i would never forget that day. i was wearing a backpack and in this backpack i had to books and apple, an orange, i wanted to have something to eat, something to read and i also had a toothpaste and two -- toothbrush. we get to the highest point on the bridge crossing the alabama river and down below we saw the sea of the alabama state troopers. behind the state troopers there was a share if who was a very
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big man he wore a gun on one side and on the other side on the left lapel. we kept walking toward the line of troopers he said major john clyde of the state troopers this is a march you will not be allowed to continue. i will give you three minutes to disperse and return to your homes or to your church. this march will not be allowed to continue a young man from the organization leading the march with me was walking on my right side. he said major, give us a moment
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to pray. he said you saw the men putting on their gas masks. they came toward us beating us with nightsticks releasing the tear gas to be yet he had a concussion to bridge and i remember my legs command from underneath me and falling to the ground. i thought it was the last protest and i thought i was going to die and i kept thinking it happened to the people. i don't recall 48 years later how i made it across that bridge back to the streets of selma and back to the church but i do recall being there full capacity to protest what happened is someone said speak to the people and i said i don't understand is how president johnson can send troops to vietnam but for those
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only registered to vote. the next time i realized i had been submitted to the hospital with 17 other people. early the next morning dr. martin luther king jr. and ralph abernathy came to sell not to the hospital to visit, and he told me that he made an appeal for the religious leaders for priests and rabbis to come to selwa and they did on tuesday march 9th. and a few days later to be exact president lyndon johnson spoke to the nation on march 15th, 1965. they made one of the most meaningful speech as any american president had made on the whole question of civil rights and voting rights and near the end of that speech president johnson said we shall
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overcome. that was the first time that he and an american president had the civil rights movement. the congress debated the act and passed it and was signed into law august 6th 1965. >> host: a little bit later we are going to show you some of that speech. a final date of one to ask about right now april 4th 1968. >> guest: april 4th 1968. there isn't any way i can forget the date. i was campaigning with robert kennedy but i heard senator robert kennedy seeking the democratic nomination. i sent him a telegram and told him i wanted to help and he invited me with some of his staffers to go work in indiana and indianapolis to get people
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registered to have organized staffers there and the rally of the meeting to be heard that dr. king had been shot. kennedy came in and made the announcement that dr. king had been assassinated. we all cried and it was very sad. it or not for him i don't know what would have happened to me or to america. but this man had emerged as a leader of the nation. he was my friend, he was my inspiration, he was my big brother. >> host: >> guest: robert kennedy did make his speech. he stood up on the back of the car and because of what he had
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to say that evening, there wasn't any violence, any disorder in the city of an apple less --. annapolis. people had been trying to get me back to the spot but it's very difficult and one day i hope to have an opportunity to go back to indianapolis and go to the very spot that i was that night when i heard dr. king had been assassinated. >> host: new tracie lot of your history back. why not that spot? >> guest: it is painful because that is when i heard that dr. king had been assassinated. i think when you remember the places you were, whether i was in national what i heard
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president kennedy had been assassinated in indianapolis as i heard about dr. king i was and robert kennedy's room at the ambassador hotel when i saw on television that he was shot a was very painful. it took me years to go back to mississippi, not to the state, but to the site where these young men came up missing in 1964. >> host: in walking with the when you write something in the new movement died for good in 1966 but something to hide in all of america in 1968. the sense of hope and optimism and the possibility was replaced by the worst of times, the feeling that maybe, just maybe we would not overcome. it was a dark, dark time.
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>> guest: i do think something died in america and in all of us. that's why it's so important to finally be able to build that sense of hope. the brotherhood and sisterhood is one family, one people, one house because we all live in the same house. >> host: representative john lewis with hope found florida. it's always good to speak with you and to say thank god for c-span. congressman, we have skirted together in a lot of ways. i was at 41 park in manhattan at the headquarters and i had to
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eat breakfast many mornings at the lunch counter with james farmer. we spoke to stokely carmichael's sister i want to take you back to a speech that you made on the floor of the house in 1995, which i find offensive in which you said that coming for our children invoking passed on hitler that was a terrible thing to say. and i think that you deserve -- america deserves an apology. >> host: do you know what he is referring to? >> guest: he was dealing with some of the things that the republicans and the speaker had
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been proposing. if you feel offended or fathers feel offended, i don't mind saying i'm sorry and i apologize for that. >> host: new gingrich represented the district next to yours for several duress. what was your relationship? >> guest: we respected each other. i would always say hello, my friend. i always called him mr. speaker. and we never disrespected each other. we got along. it was part of the georgia delegation and even there may be some of my brothers and sisters that i disagreed with. but they were my colleagues and my friends.
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i would say hello my friend, hello my brother, how are you doing today? >> host: in your memoir you spend a lot of time -- there are several instances you make reference to what i'm referring to i am and have always been focused on dedicating to doing the right thing which does not always mean the bolack thing. this kind of attitude doesn't sit well in the 60's with some of my colleagues and it hasn't sat well in the 90's with some of my colleagues in congress. i believe in the death of my heart and my soul that we must pull together to create a society at peace with itself, not a blank society or white society or asian-american or
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native american. one of people, one family, one house. in my book walking with the wind, i tell the story about growing and will alabama when i was four and a half or 5-years-old. in the storm came up and we had been playing in the guard and she got us all inside of the house and the wind started and defender started and lightning started flashing. she just started crying terrified that the house was going to blow away. that is where i got the name of the book from. as the wind continued to go and of the lightning flashing it appeared to be lifted and she had us what to that corner to hold the house up.
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and with another corner the walking with the wind but never left the house. so it doesn't matter whether we are black or white or latino. we are one family and one house. but we are also a part of the house and must do what we can to save this piece of real-estate. call it america, call it some other port but we must try to save it. and we have put together in peace. >> host: hello, congressman lewis. it is an honor to speak to you. i have a couple of questions i will try to be brief. first of all i would like to
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hear more about the women involved in the civil rights movement. some people think they don't get enough credit and in particular thinking of diane nash and seeing her ask a direct question to the mayor of nashville that had to agree with her. another question i don't know if you have ever met lyndon johnson but irrespective of whether you met him would you believe his legacy is or will be in the future and finally, i remember seeing you in chicago on the night that barack obama was elected crying in tears i want you to describe what you felt the night barack obama was elected in 2008 and i will take my answer off the air.
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>> guest: i feel that more so today that the women never got their due. they played a major role in the civil rights movement. i work with diane nash. she was our leader in the movement. and she became a leader south wide nationally. she was the chair of the movement for the central committee of the student movement in national. she was from chicago and she would attend the non-violent workshops and would hold us together. she would organize the set in and coordinated the efforts on the freedom ride. but they will be considered the mother of the student nonviolent coordinating committee. she would work with dr. martin luther king jr. and she was the one that planted the meeting for
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sncc, the student nonviolent coordinating committee. she went back to north carolina and the school district but you have on the eastern shore in cambridge a young lady by the name of gloria richardson and in little rock go back to rosa parks and the women it was and dr. king's idea of montgomery. it was a college professor at alabama state a young lady by the name of joe and robertson that used the old hand and a graph machine to get those leaflets but all across the salt and america there were women, black women and white women standing up and organizing. so, the women should be highlighted like the naacp. they were so brave and
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courageous to come in and the tent people. now, i don't want to forget the question. you mentioned -- >> host: lbj's barack obama. >> guest: i met president kennedy -- i also met lyndon johnson. and i said before the speech and i wish every student on the american politics, every high school student to know anything about the civil rights movement and voting rights should read the speech of president johnson he started by saying for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy at times history and faith on any freedom. he went on to say it was more than a century ago to lexington
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and concord for the last week in sulla alabama. he condemned the violence and reduced the act. and as i said before, he was the first one to use the song of the civil rights movement by the speech in the statement when he said and we shall overcome. the morning of august 6, 1965, he called james former and myself the only to to meet with him this morning when you signed the voting rights act of 1965. lyndon johnson was very colorful and used choice words that i cannot repeat. but he told us we have to go back to the south and get people registered. he was committed and he later spoke at the university and other places. he was committed to the civil rights. he has never received a credit
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that he should receive. he ushered in the great society not only of the civil rights bill, the voting rights bill, medicare and medicaid, the fair housing act during his administration with high regard to what he did. the day president barack obama was elected i was at the church speaking when i saw the state of pennsylvania go for him and i knew then he was on his way to being elected president. i didn't think my feet were going to touch the floor. i started crying and a reporter asked me that evening we noticed you are crying so much. and i said they are tears of
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happiness and he said what are you going to do if you are crying so much tonight what are you going to do when he is unaudited and you come to washington? well if i get tears left i will cry more and that is exactly what i did. when i was sitting there as we had been inaugurated i kept thinking about robert kennedy, president johnson, dr. king, the civil rights workers in mississippi and countless people that never lived long enough to cast their votes to get registered to live long enough to see a man of colored elected president. >> host: john lewis, is diane nash still living? >> guest: she is still very much alive in chicago. i seen her from time to time. she is a wonderful, gifted organizer. >> host: if you can't get through on the phone line, you
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can send a tweet and make a comment or send an e-mail book new york city war on with the congressman and author john lewis. >> caller: hello. thank you. it's a privilege to speak with you, representative lewis. i was part of the occupied wall street movement in the early months, and i felt the moment i knew personally that the occupied movement would fail was when you were denied a chance to speak at one of the rallies. i don't remember where it was taking place. but i felt like occupy at the time they thought they were being very clever in rejecting a lot of the basic strategy that you and the other members of sncc had laid out on the civil disobedience back in the 60's. i felt they felt they were being
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clever if you didn't have a mission you couldn't be contradicted if you didn't have leaders they couldn't be jailed or assassinated and if you don't proclaim your goal you can never be told that you failed. i would love to hear anything you have to say about the organizing strategies not modern organizations and how they have learned or failed to learn from what you and other men and women did back then. thank you. >> guest: he only thing i'm trying to do on that particular date in atlanta i left my office which was only half a block from where they were occupying and some of the people wanted me to speak but i didn't feel offended or anything. i a understood very well. but i tell the people that are
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not so young to read the literature and before we went on the freedom ride and before we marched we studied the way of peace and nonviolence. we studied the greek religion of the world. we studied the civil disobedience. we studied for dr. king and rosa parks and montgomery and we were ready. you have to be prepared and you have to have a vision to get other people to share in that vision. and though one accord we said to people to non-violence as a way of life and living not simply as a technique. >> host: you write about the occupied movement as well as the issues in egypt that egypt faced over the last couple of years.
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harrisburg oregon go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: its been a great honor to talk to you. i was interested in your take on the legacy of the civil rights movement and how the other movements in the world used it to motivate their own and i was wondering the example of misuse on the civil-rights legacy to really try to motivate people. i will take my answer offline. thank you very much. >> guest: the notebook that i have completed with one of my colleagues on but number one is
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a graphic novel, but it was to help inspire another generation. earlier, i spoke of dr. king's book martin luther king's story in montgomery, but people in egypt and other parts of the world and south africa and others used this book as a tool, as a technique to get the message for the way of peace and nonviolence. you create a mass movement and i appreciate the fact that when you travel almost any part of the world today people know something about the american civil rights movement. ..
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hundreds and thousands of citizens. i think they are witness in america what i like to call the nonviolent revolution, the revolution of heuvel use and our country is a better country and we are better people. there are some people that say nothing has changed. they said you are just too hurtful and optimistic that you have to be hopeful. you have to be optimistic. those signs are gone and they will not return. the only place is our children and those signs would be in a book, in a museum, or on a
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video. the reason that i grew up here is it is a better region. the people were better people. we are on our way toward a creation of a truly multiracial space society. when i go back to truly alabama or montgomery or places in mississippi or south or north carolina, the people want to see us take that a great leap forward. i think that people were the head of the leaders. we need leadership in many parts of our country at local level and the state level. >> host: back to walking with the wind. something was born in gisela during the course of 1965 but something died there, too.
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>> guest: the selma movement was so peaceful, so orderly and people were so committed and we didn't follow through, we didn't follow up. there is a need to pick up where we left off. we needed from selma to montgomery on to washington with the pass of the act. people got elected but we can learn from selma, from the mistakes and blunders. that's why during the past 13 years with a group called faith and politics we have taken members of congress back to birmingham and montgomery and selma. the last trip we went to tuscaloosa and i wish all of america could have been a witness for what happened to get
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to have governor george wallace's daughter and sister and one of the people governor wallace stood in the door and tried to block wasn't married to the attorney general of the united states. the head of these two young women engaged in a dialogue on the university of alabama and the president of the university of alabama, i believe the only woman president of the school as the moderator was amazing and when these women finish their prole wasn't a dry eye in the building. but to go back to a place like montgomery, beaten in may 20,
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1961, and the local police chief and several members of congress, the kennedy family, the johnson family and at the reverend ralph abernathy church came in to speak to us he wasn't even born during the days of the freedom ride. he may be 40 or 45-years-old. but the chief came in and spoke and said mr. lewis when you were here during the freedom ride the police department had a march to beat you and i want to apologize for that. i want to show you that our police department today is different. we teach people about the civil rights movement and about the
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selma and the birmingham and about non-violence. but he said i want to do something else. i want to take off my badge and present it to you. i said you can't do that don't you need your badge? he said i can get another one. he took his badge off and he gave it to me. and the members of congress and other police officers and people from all over america 400 or 500 people just all unmoved by this. the southwest changing -- south was was changing to make america a better america.
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a good america. >> host: terrie e-mail are you hopeful about the future in light of recent developments like the supreme court decision on voting rights and the trayvon martin case? >> in spite of the supreme court decision on the voting rights act, which i consider a setback which i believe that decision put a dagger in the very heart of the voting rights act of 1965. the decision on the trayvon martin case. i said to people the time and i see it again today that you must never ever get lost in the sea of despair. you must be hopeful and optimistic and continue to fight and stand up and do what you can to create a better society.
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we just cannot go to sleep. we have to be in the arena and be fighting for what is right and what is fair and what is just. ..
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>> should be based on trust on the political process. i said the march on washington. one man one vote. it doesn't make sense in a country such as ours to some man or woman, then 93 years old, never have a driver's
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license living in north carolina or georgia you have to have an identification to vote. they are afraid of fraud but people in alabama, georgia, mississipp i, and other parts of the south just open the process let people participate. >> host: december 21st december 21st, 1968. >> guest: the day i got married to a beautiful beautiful, beautiful young woman. board in los angeles long dash board in los angeles i guess it was called hollywood high school and
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went to ucla and went into the peace corps and became a librarian. she loved books and loved to read and follow the civil-rights movement in south we that 1967 and married february 21st. she just passed new year's eve of last year. daddy kane martin luther king's father dash 83 on page daddy king he said you obey and the audience started to laugh.
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we obey. >> host: why did they laugh? >> guest: because they thought they were instructing lillian to listen. she was ice-t says she needed encouragement to obey her husband. >> host: what has your last life been without her the past year? >> guest: i still wear the wedding band. imus her. it is hard to take off. i wish she could witness the changes of our son. our closest and dearest friend and a wonderful companion and gave me great advice. she kept up with everything
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and read everything the newspapers and books. someone said you should be terror. she will take you up you need her to keep your papers i assure her she is looking down from have been. >> host: where's your home? >> guest: at held in atlanta. into music and technology he loves sports but he loves music more than anything. >> host: michigan please go ahead with your comment
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for congressman lewis. >> first of all, my condolences on your loss. you have been one of my heroes and as a disabled man for the last 25 years i have some idea of what it feels to be discriminated against. do you think part of the right-wing conservatives conservatives, led the team party folks is their inherent racism of what their agenda is with social services or against the president? i think it is very disturbing the things that they propose.
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what you think about that? >> guest: i don't like to label people we all have a capacity and ability to change that is why i think the numbers of congress try to get into other people's shoes one representative went with us to birmingham montgomery and he said my voting record would be different if i met you earlier. >> they have to walk in other people's shoes than they have to feel for themselves. i am not quick to label someone but we don't come
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into the world to put people down if they are able llord disable the aura of a certain race we are taught to hate we come in it so innocent sometime along the way they're innocent children that would happen to them along the way the also in our society may be with american politics to feel in order to get ahead they must be seen as crusaders against something. >> host: in the book "across that bridge" you right at the root that is why we are engaged in a struggle now in the congress
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led by one group of people who truly believe their role is to defend the privileges. >> it is a feeling somehow the individuals feel this is the role i have been chosen to play and i must play it well. i understand how people make it in society. poor people a and black black, white, latino, they need help in this powerful government to help the
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children when in a and the disabled to provide housing stop spending so much of limited resources on bombs and guns. we should be humane some way to humanize these institutions for education, financial institutions and politics. >> host: in the state chapter of "across that bridge" to me it is snowing in the core of your soul the work is done as sure as you are about your dreams as anything you know, as a hard fact.
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>>. >> you have this goal a and idea you have to make it real because it is already done. talking about the freedom ride you know, in your gut how the victory is already one. >> host: you said when you first got arrested national that you set free -- you felt set free? >> guest: i felt free. i felt liberated. that the greatest society or the country would be liberated. teeseventeen from new jersey.
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>> host: what is the name of your town? >> caller: i live in new jersey. i want to tell him how happy i and today i am flipping through the tv and there you were. i have watched too many years with love and empathy and with that same spirit that i have but i do want to read the books that you have come out with. but i just want to see if i
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have the right title is it called "walking with the wind"? and the other? i could not get. >> guest: "march, book 1". >> host: is on the screen. >> caller: i hope my family and i can come to washington d.c. to visit the capitol and i would love to meet you in person you are a wonderful courageous man in this martin mr. king said love will always be stronger than pate. i believe that. >> guest: come to my
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office and we have a gallery of historic photographs from the '60s with martin luther king, jr. >> host: congressman lewis id "walking with the wind" you rightabout after your election you beat julian bond in the upset 18 staff positions and 15,000 applicants for could do still attract that national audience of people to work for you? >> even today we get hundreds of thousands of letters and e-mail us from people all of around the country. we cannot hire or see anybody but major cities and
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towns in state government people want me to come to speak about dr. king is impossible. but i add to represent the people in georgia but everybody would like for me to come to address a group that a college university. and hundreds of thousands of student groups we see a lot of young people in to assure them of the videos and photographs. and the people don't believe that. that i got arrested 40 times.
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how do you do it? did you think about giving up? i couldn't. >> host: right thing about you he forges on word to draw respect of every colleague -- called a double sides of the idle people hush which he steps to the podium everybody wants to hear the spirit of greatness >> host: you get tired of reading the news like that about yourself? >> guest: i tried not to read it i don't want to believe it then you start to believe that. just trying to make the contribution. i knew there was a better way people like on the and
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rosa parks had no way in. >> host: in your most recent one of the early stories going from current date to the past life and one is a woman bringing her two sons to your office is this the real story or how often? >> it is a real story. there was a day of the inauguration of. that i just want to come by for five minutes. we try to accommodate people. sometimes they will wait to after they come along distance. they come all the way from california to washington d.c..
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i have people that they just want to see the you are human. and his staff people will tell you that they will start crying. that i am going to cry or pass out. please don't pass out. i am not a doctor. we have the problem sometimes. the american people are good people and they want to share that feeling in there you motion. it is okay to give you a
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hug? >> guest: it is okay. i need a hug. >> caller: i am a native of alabama and and from the political science department we are therefore bloody sunday and i have the excellent opportunity to meet you alongside with rosa parks and i have spent living here in acre age alaska for 10 years in ibm and employee of the bureau of land management and i got my master's degree of urban planning i was so gung-ho to come here and work but working here in corporate
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america i find a hard to be ince as a black female. with your words of encouragement to keep hope alive to be accepted more as an individual. not just because i am black but an individual in a human being if they have nothing but love them and harmony and peace that runs through me. every day i tried to instill the words that my 89 year old grandmother tells me that do everything you do with love. i looked at myself as a leader in my workers tell me all the time on a daily basis i should be a
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supervisor in be in washington d.c. to make changes. i would just like to hear your thoughts to help me keep the fire of life. >> guest: thank you for calling. i have been to your university. and also for your service and your work in the government. keeps the faith. with faith and hope in the love and having their. pursue your dream it will come true. >> piggie for helping to design the use movement i am
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a student at university of pennsylvania who has helped form the use led social justice organization directly based on cynic could you please talk about you and others were able to negotiate with the voice to the front of the civil-rights movement. what lessons could young people learn today? >> guest: you are doing the right thing to study what we attempt to do with the student nonviolent coordinating committee. we study in the abuse are saul's and we never ever try to put someone down. always try to respect our opponent.
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to be organized into fall and follow this sense of what is right to a and fair persistent and also an assistant to. hated there. >> host: we have ever guessed author and congressman lewis caller from montana and the. >> caller: as an indian tribe in the united states it is the war of the federal government q use every civil-rights tool but what i
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just find it perplexing is the bureaucracy the federal government creates the bureau of indian affairs now the new one called the office of special trustees to take $0.90 of every dollar that congress like dash congress appropriates for the tribes and the league gives a dime to the reservation some of our most brightest am brilliant talents are not coming back to the reservation because of the jobs in the bureaucracy how can we switch that around? >> guest: i have a great deal of concern what is happening to the indian nation. through the carter administration i had an opportunity to get out in a visit about three years ago
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i could travel to oklahoma to visit the cherokee nation of. to visit the navajo nation. but to bring people together they never ever forget the land they come from. the people in the obama administration to see what is happening to the indian people. >> host: in your book "march, book 1" you talk about how you play and a and studied and got ready for civil rights activities. you also tested each other
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how to prepare how to get arrested or harassed and there is a great visualizations in this book about how you could pour mitt each other prior to going to a set in. >> we tried to do everything we could to test ourselves to preach to others spirit to dehumanize one another. >> host: you can see the drawings and the captions on this page you blew smoke in each other's face scott mcauliffe each other's names? >> guest: we did. we would call it social drama and role play. that no one should never use >> host: you do put in the end word tea one on one occasion a waitress said to one of the participants she
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said we don't serve n here. we don't serve n here and he said then we don't eat and they thought this was funny and it was funny to her and funny to all the of participants. but it was an attempt to prepare people we had a young man there a wonderful teacher a young minister who worked for the fellowship of reconciliation and had traveled to india two's study the way of gandhi and
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then he would come to dash tell and said the student movement was well organized organized, accepted as the way of nonviolence in many people how to be a non nobody -- these people not only went to jail but went on the freedom ride and many of these young people are still working. >> host: december 1st december 1st, 1955. 50 miles from your house here troy alabama of what
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happened in montgomery? >> guest: december 1st december 1st, a young woman those of parks was arrested and refused to get up and give up her seat to a white gentleman. because of the action of rosa parks, there is a mass meeting today's later in the decision was made to have the bus boycott. 15 years old i remember like it was yesterday. as a young person i followed the job of montgomery.
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we do not have a subscription to a newspaper but my father did -- my grandfather did we will listen and what was happening in montgomery. many of the teachers i had from school would come of it during the week to teach during the weekend they go to montgomery and they were telling us. and then had the opportunity to meet rosa parks it changed my life. but then we went down to the public library with my sisters and cousins to troy alabama. to try to get library cards
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or to check out some books and we were told by the library and that the library it -- a library was for whites only not for coloreds i never went back but did july 5 company to 98 as a member of congress for a book signing of my book "walking with the wind" we have a wonderful program whites and african-americans showed up with food and something to drink at the end of the program and at the end of the book signing they gave me a library card. >> host: new york. >> caller: is still little touching it but hard to speak yet how poignant you married a librarian and how wonderful they could give
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you a library card. that is beautiful. i built my whole week around watching you guys because you have been the hero to me for so long. i just have a question. you shared id 1968 is something died did the mayor can consciousness. i was only 10 years old but watching dr. keying and bobby kennedy be assassinated change something for me and now as an adult i want to create a curriculum for young people that will help to inspire that same fire in the belly be talk about today with the vision of the beloved community in the commitment to racial and social and economic justice. if you have some thoughts you key and share i am
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thinking third grade through graduate school how to inspire that they should never be very grateful. >> guest: "march, book 1" is used in a growing number of schools. won the been college or university is using the book for all freshmen. and other schools are considering i'll be speaking in st. louis before the end of the year. but in "march, book 1" there is a teaching guide in the book but i would recommend
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it "march, book 1" for young people. to learn about the civil-rights movement and the way of love for nonviolence. >> host: there is an e-mail as saying on liberal 60 something white guy from the northwest i am enormously proud to claim you as a fellow citizen as the united states despite differences of opinion on many topics for affirmative action has succeeded however like all good ideas it has unintended side effects. we all the litmus to end some day but it seems somebody wants to talk about that so when can we begin to talk about declaring affirmative action a success to build monuments and been sunset? >> guest: we are not there
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yet we have not created the beloved community with the inclusion with all citizens in the american way. doesn't matter if they are black or white it does not matter gay or straight or protestant or catholic. religious or non religious. in all this be included. so for the inclusion of participation for all citizens. >> host: coming next. >> i feel civil-rights
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activist hops in could be a colorful and a serious role model for a people's imaginations but many parents may object to his atheism. diego you know, dubious? also to the good picture book on him could be acceptable? >> guest: i did. he was a wonderful man with a vision he was a true activist. for those to be a picture books there are three stories that need to be told they and shared not just the washington community but the american community. >> host: did his atheism hold him back? >> guest: i don't think so. when it came to the faith
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community. >> the frontpage in the headline is boy preacher. >> i do remember that very well. this is a pitcher of the holding the bible in the montgomery advertiser. looking in this section the paper and that was the colored section. >> host: why every you in it? >> guest: there was a local community because he received his baptist minister license.
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>> guest: i do consider myself a baptist and upon once a time i am called to deliver a sermon. i just spoke at the baptist church is in washington and. they were celebrating there 150th anniversary. i tried it all together an a sermon. 150th anniversary of the "emancipation proclamation." the church was started in virginia. and later it was bob or burned rather. many members of the congregation left and moved to washington and here the church grew and grew and today it is one of the strongest churches or place of faith in washington d.c.. i remember coming with dr. king and others back in
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1963 and 64 as a wonderful place but also tied to the march on washington. that was 100 and hater 150 years. >> caller: this is a great honor. i think congressman lewis is the greatest example of the words the greatest of you shall. recently moved to georgia and i have been averaging about the granddaughter of slaves but the principle of a segregated school heard the ms edna said night brodie and now the college
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has a sirvente scholarship and i wonder if congressman lewis is familiar with the concept of service into a leadership from the university of virginia for service leadership? >> guest: thank you very much. i have been to the college a few short years ago to deliver a commencement address their id have the honorary degree from their. on my way from atlanta to alabama sometimes to visit my younger brothers and sisters i go there before the heart the whole idea to serve allegiance a and leadership. that is what i believe to encourage young leaders to
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do to be servant leaders. that they must show the way. to get out front each time but me prepared to do the nitty gritty. >> host: fresno california please go ahead. >> caller: is a pleasure to speak with you. black men overpopulate the prison in stand your ground was just like trayvon martin
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and also for the economic justice is part of preparations just like the marshall plan to go into urban cities was a sustained effort to erase the poverty that is the root of the problem. >> guest: african-american elected officials and other stand up and speak out and organize to talk about economic justice with the fight to the black farmers were discriminated and women farmers were discriminated the native american farmers and others. we don't they give this climate or environment we will see out right pavement
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called reparations there have been legislation introduced. our efforts must be to do what we can said to have the best possible education to make a contribution to the larger society to stop warehousing people in our institutions. >> host: from your book "walking with the wind" at this time may begin believing in what i call the spirit of history. others call it fate. whatever it is called a team to believe of what is good and what is right the justice of the moral force of the universe. what is the spirit of
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history? >> i had a teacher at a know how this came within my being that he was a philosopher's teacher at american and baptist college in he would run around and a flying saucer and this would just run but he could move. i just add this belief if you want to go someplace or not you're go in another direction but some force with the spirit of history that track you down that this is the way you must go. this is what you must do and
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i feel today that i had to answer the call. when i heard the words of burton mr. keyes, jr. -- martin luther king, jr.. that was the spirit of history. this is your calling in what you must do. but the call of what is right and what is fair for all humankind. >> host:. >> you need to stop preaching the gospel according to al qaeda but according to jesus christ. >> guest: that was a young
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man that i love and admired and he was smart it at the same time could be very loud. he would go to the shower everything was preaching in talk about dr. king and i would say preaching to them space is the preachiness of jesus. he is making it real. we tried to convince them to attend the non-violent workshops but not tell we
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heard we were arrested that we became convinced with the great profit with the movement the idiot of the gospel of said bill kay of social gospel it became a great belief. . .
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