we are marking 15 years of booktv on c-span2. >> here are some programs to watch this weekend on booktv. all weekend we are live from the 2013 southern festival of books in nashville would some of the opera's featured are kitty but the run end of light care, the removal of tennessee governor ray blanton in 1979. and the jfk association. see a complete schedule of the day's events and also a look at a late alexander cockburn's book a colossal wreck. aero difficult political scandals and american culture at 9:00 on sunday. a:00 p.m. sunday your thoughts what does not apply here.
>> up next representative john lewis, a democrat from georgia. the 14 term congressman talks about his role in the civil rights movement, race relations in the obama event political partisanship on capitol hill, he has written wind: a memoir of the movement," "across that bridge: life lessons and a vision for change" and "march: book 1". >> congressman john lewis, who is elwin wilson? >> guest: i'd met him in 1961. i was part of the freedom ride.
we left washington d.c. on may 4th, 1961, at 18 of us, to test the decision of the united states supreme court to end segregation in public transportation. my seatmate from washington d.c. you must understand in 1961, black people and white people couldn't be seen together when you get out of washington to try to go to north carolina or georgia, alabama, mississippi. we were on our way to new orleans. we didn't have any problems for the most part until we got to rock hill and the little place in charlotte, n.c. a young african-american man attempted to get a shoe shine in a so-called white barber shop that
was in the so-called white waiting room. he was arrested and taken to jail. the jurors dismissed charges against him. the two of us are arrived at the greyhound bus station in south carolina. a group of white men met us in the doorway and started beating us and left us lying in a pool of blood. the officials wanted to know if we would going to address charges, we said no, we believe in love and peace and the way of nonviolence. i didn't know at the time on may 9, 1961, that this man was edwin wilson. in february of 2009, a month after president obama had been inaugurated, he came to my office on capitol hill with his
son who had been seeking out what he had grown. he walked into the office and said mr. lewis, ed wilson. i am one of the people that beat you. will you forgive me? i want to apologize, i'm sorry. he started crying, i started crying. they hugged me, i had them back and with the times since then. the recently passed. the power of non-violence, the power of love, the power of the way of peace -- >> guest: >> host: did he come to your office out of the blue? >> guest: he had for a time gone to different places in south carolina trying to find students, attending a local
college, doing less sit in in 1960 going around apologizing to them. and made contact in rock hill. so the press person started working with him and discovered i was on the bus and i was one of the people that was been. and he was in congress and he made his way to washington. >> host: february 27, 1960, nashville, you're first arrest. >> guest: i would never forgets as long as i live. we had been involved in non-violent shots, studying the
way martin luther king jr. civil disobedience, what we call social drama. hundreds of students, sitting down to peaceful non-violent fashion waiting to be served and someone would spit on you or put a lighted cigarette out in your hair or on your back or just full hot water, hot coffee on you work off of this tool or beat you. we were sitting in orderly fashion, not saying a word, looking straight ahead, reading a book, and working on a paper, and people started beating us. local police officials came up and arrested all of us, and engage in violence against us. that was my first arrest.
on that date when i was arrested i felt so free i felt liberated. i felt i crossed over. in rural alabama, i asked my mother and father and grandparents and great grandparents about segregation and racial discrimination about those signs, fighting -- white men and colored women, i said fine. don't get in the way, don't get in trouble. dr. king and rosa parks inspired me to get in trouble. we were all arrested and went to jail. 89 of us were arrested at day. >> host: they uva a fine? were you in jail for awhile? >> guest: we were in jail for a while. as a matter of fact local school officials came down, that was
the arrest, that was my introduction, sitting down on those stools and going to jail in places like nashville and birmingham, from mississippi, atlanta, georgia. >> host: what was the ultimate result in nashville in the civil rights movement? >> guest: in national communities, one of the major cities in the american south to segregate restaurants and a year later desegregate all the theaters and in nashville, we took the beloved community and making nashville open cities, nashville would consider the essence of the south, and people in the community, very
progressive, really liberal, wanted to see nashville make a great transition, a peaceful and open city. >> host: how did you get to nashville? >> guest: rural alabama in 1957, 17 years old, traveling by bus to study. i wanted to attend a school out of alabama where i grew up, grew up 50 miles from montgomery, ten miles from troy and planned to go to a school called the choice state college, at troy university, and i never heard a word from the school, so a letters to martin luther king jr. he wrote me back and send me a round-trip bus ticket and invited me to montgomery to meet with him. so i was at the college in nashville, i went to nashville, give me a $100 bill, more money
than i ever had. put everything that i alone in this footlocker, my books, my clothing and went to nashville and studying the philosophy and nonviolence. >> host: who were shorty and sugar foot? >> guest: shorty was a name that my mother and -- called my father and my father -- >> host: what did they do? >> guest: worked on the farm when i was 4 years old, when i was 4, in 1944 he paid $300, and to the land, and on atlanta, on this farm there was a lot of
cotton and corn, and working in midfield, this is hard work. this is hard work and hard work never killed anybody and i kept saying to myself if i can make it to the end of this rogue. i would complain, working in the field . i would complain, working in the field like this is just like, you get too much rain and don't know if you make anything or not and another said this is all we can do. and 7 or 8 years old. and up early in the morning. and get my book bag.
and wait for the school bus to come along. i didn't like working in the field. >> did you get in trouble for that. >> 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. this was a report of my first protest. to care for the chicken. and to raise chickens like no one else raise chickens. >> host: you write about that in recent book march, "march: book 1," a graphic novel when you write about. the right about everything to the chickens. >> guest: i wanted to be administered. wanted to preach the gospel. with the help of my brothers and cousins, we gather my chickens together in the chicken yard.
and their outside the chicken tied -- i was preaching, and we have to make of the audience in the congregation. i fell in love with raising those chickens. the chicken taught me patience. taught me hard work. told me not to give up or give in. if you don't know anything about raising chickens on the from, take a fresh egg, placed them, wait for three long weeks for the chickens to hatch. and place them on the setting end. from time to time over here we get on the same thing and there would be a wave and fresh eggs that were already on the end. sometimes i would take those little checks and give them to
the an end and put them on not lantern. i was never quite able, $18.98 to order the most expensive innovator from this storm. and call this to order or the wish book, i wish i had that or that. it was my duty, my responsibility to care for the little chickens. and i tell young children today some old chicken without a head, i am convinced some of the chickens a preach to in the 40s and 50s, much better than my colleagues listened to the congress. >> host: what about sunday dinner? >> guest: i didn't like the idea of my mother, father and relative and chickens to have it for dinner. it was my first non-violent protest against my fans or other
relatives. >> host: why is your most recent book on your life in this form? graphic novel form? >> guest: a staff person of mine, they came to me congressman, you should write a comic book. the way i started, the campaign was over and he was going -- to comicon and other staffers, going to a comic book conference and i said to the staff, you should make fun of him, you shouldn't laugh. that was another kind of book that came out in 1957, early in 1958 i believe and martin luther king jr. and the montgomery story, this organization or
reconciliation of this group and it sold for $0.10 but forced many of us including the four students in north carolina and many of us in nashville. this young man, my co-author came back to me, you should write a comic book and i finally said to him yes, if you do it with me. the book has done very well. the book will come out and fall of 2014. >> host: "march: book 1," you write about june, 1951 and the trip was uncle lotus. >> never forget that.
i had never traveled out of alabama, i was 11 years old. i remember my mother and sister and standing up late at night. and in cellophane paper, putting food and shoeboxes to have something to eat and from world alabama through tennessee, kentucky, ohio on a way, it was my first time out of the south and i remember 11 years old being in buffalo, new york, first time in an elevator, first-time in an escalator and had an impact on me. we are working together, living
together, it was a different worlds. >> host: why did you make that trip? >> guest: to spend the summer with my mother and some of my first cousins. >> host: in your history, september 2nd, 1986, democratic primary. >> guest: induction day in atlanta in georgia, that was the runoff, a very difficult race. and a nonviolent coordinating committee, a wonderful friend, served in the state house, the state senate.
he wanted to come to congress and i wanted to come to congress. some people thought i didn't have a chance, didn't have a prayer. around the nation, outside of georgia, in alabama and mississippi and the deep south, and i spent six years as a student. >> host: how did you get to atlanta? >> guest: i moved to atlanta in the early summer, 1963. to chair the student nonviolent coordinating committee, one of the major civil rights organizations, it was based in
atlanta, just finished school in nashville. than four years at american baptist college, it was american baptist theological seminary and later became american baptist college. i spent two years, when i became the chair, had to move to atlanta in nashville. i fell in love with that city. it was the first city that i lived in. i went to atlanta and spend a lot of time travelling across the south, going to arkansas, georgia, the delta, mississippi, along with the anna, north carolina, south carolina, but atlanta presented me with an opportunity to be at a place, not just to be there but to come to washington to meet with
members of congress, martin luther king jr. and others. a few weeks after i was elected chair of the student non-violent with needing to me i was in washington, in the white house with president kennedy and i will never forget that first meeting with the president's, like flying from washington to atlanta and preparing for the march on washington, that was 50 years ago. >> host: who are the big six? >> guest: the major civil rights organization, you had a man by the name of randolph. mr. randolph was considered the dean of leadership, born in jacksonville, fla.. just a wonderful man. prince of a man. he said things like brother, let's stay together. we have come this far together, let's state together.
something like if you cannot say something good about someone, don't say anything. there was so much respect for this man. but randolph, who organized the brother who give stephen porter is, rather than demand working on the railroad and when you come to washington and walk through union station, there is a bus, his own poster stamp, martin luther king jr. was the president of the southern christian leadership conference board in atlanta, and then wilkins, national association for the advancements of colored people, born in minnesota, wonderful man and young was born in kentucky, the dean of the school of social work at atlanta university and later became head
of the national urban league. another man by the name of james bulger, former head of wiley college in texas, part of the debating team. the debating team debated harvard. later graduate study at harvard university and became very involved in the n.a.a.c.p. and later was one of the founders of racial equality. and made the six person. it was the six of us that met with president kennedy in late june of 1963. >> host: in july of '63 were planning a march on washington and you write in "walking with the wind: a memoir of the movement" eyes off the first time in july 1963 trip to new
york city our meeting took place at the roosevelt hotel and it provided my first real look at the personality of wilkens. i can't say i liked what i saw. he had held himself back when we met with the president but now peer among just as wilkens was really asserting himself. and from the moment will consented the room he came across to me in some sort of a new yorker who thought he was smarter than the rest of the group. what was memorable about the meeting that a much more than the details of planning the upcoming march was watching the dynamic among the participants. it was the real exercise in power and positioning and political rivalry but wilkens entered the room dozen or so people were chatting, waiting to take their seats around the large dining table, wilkens immediately shook his head and began walking through the room, chatting people on the shoulder saying who would stand who had to leave. these were powerful people he
was ordering around and was not very polite about it. he was particularly nasty to bayer ruston and hardly more cordial to the others. he didn't suggest anyone leave the room, he demanded it. it was amazing to me that he would do that. even more amazing was the fact that the others obeid. >> guest: at that meeting, any way that i would figure would happen, most of the members of the big six had representatives that deputize their system. he asked that each one leave and only the principal, only the head of the organization remained and that is exactly what happened. we stage. there was a long, drawn-out discussion about who should head the march on washington, who should be the director, and many
of us felt this man, this banker, this brilliant man, this planner, this organizer, that he should be the head, there was this discussion, and that people like strom thurmond, tapped in georgia or mississippi, use that against the march on washington so we had a caucus. dr. king and myself, and we said we would select randolph as the chair of the march on washington and let mr. randolph select his deputy and that is what he did because we knew -- some people said it was so close that mr.
randolph would turn to him, exactly what he did. no one, but no one would avoid the question. >> host: welcome to booktv's "in-depth" for october 2013. we are talking with congressman john lewis, democrat of georgia and author of three books, "walking with the wind: a memoir of the movement" was his first, the second came out in 2012, "across that bridge: life lessons and a vision for change," and finally this past year "march: book 1" was released as the first in a series. if you would like to participate in our conversation here are the numbers 202-585-3880, in the east and central time zone, 3881. in the mountain and pacific time zone. you can send in a week, an e-mail or post a comment on our face book page. of you want to send a tweet@tv
is our and facebook.com/booktv o is our twitter handle and facebook.com/booktv is our face book page and finally firstname.lastname@example.org is our e-mail address. mr. lewis will be with us for the next 2-1/2 hours ago and we will begin taking those calls in just a minute. august 28th. what was august 28th, 1963, like for you? >> guest: the day of the march on washington for jobs and freedom. i remember the morning very very well. i got up, got dressed and i left the hilton hotel at sixteenth and k downtnthn washington d.c.. it was the capitol hilton hotel. most stayed there at the willard
hotel. we woke up, someone drove us to capitol hill and we met with the democratic leadership on the house side and the senate side. we met with democratic and republican leadership and i remember meeting the republican leblier from the state of illinois, wonderful man, have a photograph with him, meeting with him. we met with the judiciary committee chair from new york city. i believe he was from brooklyn. and left a meeting with house leaders, senate leaders, and we were coming dnthn constitution avenue. we are all walking together and
saw the sea of humanity, gethndreds of thousands of peop pouring out of the streets from union station and we knew it was going to be more than 50 or 60 people. the people alrebliy marching, ad i know all of us said there go my people, let me catch up with them. the sea of humanity literally pushed us toward the washington monument toward the lincoln memorial and we went up those steps and took our sing toguri started preparing for the progra-f >> host: you are the only surviving speaker? >> guest: out of the big six, out of ten sping togkers, i am only ones still around. i feel more than lucky. i feel very blessed. >> host: in "walking with the wind: a memoir of the movement" you write a real leader doesn't see himself as standing in front
of the people. ec's and saltus standing beside them, among the-f doesn't tell people to dig a ditch. gets doa in the dioeh with them and helps take it himself. >> other leaders must be there. you don't tell the people to go some place you are not dared to get a. you see and pushed ted pether. real leaders must be sovereign ling togders. must be one of the people. during my chairmanship of the coordinating committee during days of my participation, someone from the neediest will say you are one of the ling tog of this group, participants and believe that today. i'm just one of the participants and just trying to help. >> ing fst: who succeeded u.s.
chairman? >> guest: carmichael succeeded le as chair of the student nonviolent toward meeting committee in may of 1966. there was a feeling on the board of some people in those days that i was not militant enough. i got the image of being a militant radical during the maeoph on washington, alwachai believed in the way of peace, the way of law, the way of nonviolence that we must come together and not be divided. i don't believe in a lot of rhetoric. i believe in dof that was the way of the student nonviolent coordinating comduurinee. >> host: in "walking with the wind: a memof you talk about the generational differences between traditional black lebliership and as. the
young leader. >> host: many of us felt the trbliitional lebliers were movi too slow. even the march on washington, yoee.tell a story, tell us to b patient, we cannot wait, we carbot be patient, don't want our freedom gradually, we want it here and now. the freedom ride was notis gust revolt against segregation and racial discrimination but also a revolt against part of the old guard leadership. >> ing fst: march 7th, 1965. >> guest: march 7th, 1965. on that day, that sunday, a small group of us, thanbe mpeop attempted to march to montgomery, to dramatize to the state of alabama, the nation and the world that people wanted to register to otite.
in the state of alabama like so many others southern states, it was almost iand i ossible for pe of color to register to vote. there was one county in alabama in march of 1965 where the african-american population was 80% but there was not a single registered african-american voters. in the little tnthn in dallas county selma is the kind of -- this is in the hing togrt of th black belt, only 2.1% of blacks are registered to vote and the only time you caning togrven at to register to vote was the first and third mondachai of in month. on one occasion a man was asked to cut a bar of siolp. on another occasion to cut jellybeans in the jar.
people didn't arrest or be in jail or beaten and what provoked their aurinempt to maeoph to lontgomery in a little town called marion, alabama, 30 or 35 liles away, this was in the black belt, this was the county of martin luther kingis gr. the late mrs. angel young, the home county of ralph abernathy, one evening in febrdayry. the confrontation occurred, a young man namedis gimmy lee on obrdson was ais teteran, aurd to protect his mother, was shot in the stomach and a few days later he died at a local hospital and because of what happened to him we decided to march to montgomery. 600 of us, ordethanbvok peacefu
had a prayer, we start walking in twos. i will never foeciet that da fe i was wing togbrdsng a backpack. i had two books, and apple, an orange, something to ring togd, something to eat and toothpaste and toothbrussome p i thought would be arrested and go to jail wanted to be able to brush my teetsome p we got to the bridge, crossing the alabama river. dnthn below we saw a sing tog o alabama state troopers and behind the state troopers was sheriff clark, jim clal sheriff, was a very big man, he thouof st he was a general paur, tbrdsed to dress like him.
he wore a gun on one side, niof suritibrd on the other sid. he carried an electric hair product in his hand. we kept walking. toward this line of state troopers. the man sgetke up and said i am major john clark of the alabama state twoopee b. this is an uthe will not be allowed to continue. i give you three minutes to disperse and return to your homes or to your cgetheopsome p this march will not be allowed to continue. the young man from dr. king's orgadedzation who was ling togde march with me was walking on my brdsof st side s. hd maun r, gkepe us a moment to kneel and pray. the sheriff said twoopee b advance. you saw them put on their gas masks. they came tnthard us, beating
with nightsticks. i was hit in the head by state twooper with a n. abacstick and had a concussion. i remember my legs gof from under me and falling to the ground. i thought it was the last protest. i thought it was going to die and i kept thinking what envok pened to other people i dt recall 48 years later how i made it atesoss the bridge back to te htreets of selma, back to the little church we left from but i do recall being in the church, full to capacity, more than 200,egbe mpeople getting in to protest what happened and someone said that is something, sping tog sawto the people and up and said i don't understand ennth presidentis gohnson can s troops to vietnam and cannot send troops to sell tarch to prote-t people to register to vote.
the next thing i ring toglized o u been admitted to the good samaritan hospital with 17 other peoplted eard o the next morning dr. martin luther king jr. and reverend abeerstatis w and his colling toggue came to cellmark instilled to visit us and he told me he had mo cf1 o ue an apping togl to religious leaders, priests and rstatbinee and nuns to come to helma and they did on tuesday, march 9th. a f, a days later president d ondonis gohnson spoke to the nation on march 16th, 1965, one etf the most bing togutsh ul sp any american president made in modeerst time on the qugstion o civil rights and near the end of that speech presidentis gurcch said and we shall oveeopomted the first time hearing an amebrdscan president use the wos
etf the ckepil rights movement. congress debated and passed it and it was pulled off on august 6th, 1965. >> host: later on "in-depth" we will show you a little bit of the speech, final day tie want to ang' you statout, april 4th, 1resi8. >> guest: april 4th, 1968. there is no way i can forget that date. i was in indianapolis, indiana caand i . hgning with robertdenennedy. when i heard senator robert kennedy was seeking the demotesatic nominee's asian -- nomination i told my wanted to hegn. emnvited me with his stael ers go and work in annapolis to get people registered. that was mo hoslized, a rally,
heard dr. king had been shot. uge didl dtdennoinuehis conditi just that he had been shot and robert kerbedy came in and mo co ue the arbouncement that dr. king had been assassinated and we all just cbrdsed and it wasis tery o u. martin luther king jr. i don't n tonth what would have happeneo me or to america. this man had emerged as the moral ling togder of the nation. the -- he was my friend, my inspiration, my b. a brotheth >> host: rfk mo cf1 o ue a speech in indianapolis, didn't he? ãsan sfies1965. robertdenenne3 a did make an impromptu speech, stood on the back of a car, sgetke ou of his deburi and bec, fse of wt he said, there was not any
vigrence or disorder in arbvok gris. . it is hard for me, people hanne been ty.ing to get me to go back and look at that spot but it is vey. dsh on ts andlt and one da hope to have an opportunity to go back to indianapolis and go to theis tery sgett where i was that night where i heard dr. king ho cf1 o u been assaneeinated. >> ht an1965. you trace a lot o history going to the geogramenical places, wis w no that spot? >> guest: is so painful. that is where i hing togrd dth enad been assassinated. i think when you remember placeo where you were, i was in nashville when i heard president n theenne3 a ho cf1 o u been aneeassinated, we hing togrd about dr. king.
robert kennedy -- at the hotel. i saw on television where he had been sho- emt was vey. painfusai it took me years to go back to missineeipdem. not to the state but to the site where these three young men came up missing. mtresi4. >> host: in "walking with the wind: a memoir of the movementvl you wbrdste something of the cil rights movement died for good in mtresire ibut something died in of america in 1968, the sense of hope, optik ism, getneeibility replaced by tour, the worst of times, the feeling that maybe, just mapite we would not overcome. it was a dark, dark time. ãsan sfibeen 1965. i think somed in america. i think something died in all of
een as. emt is iand i ortant finally to hoped, that sense of tany etheerstess, the sense of brotherhood and sisterhood and the sense of one familvok one people, one house we all lived in the same house, the american housted ãsan sshotst: rciis gurcn lewis guest on booktv. dannid in hope sounpe fla.. ãsan scaller: how are you doing? always good to speak to you and alwawors good to say f. hnt g ct for c-span. congressman, we have ng'irted tany ether in a lot of wawors. i went to pace college, 41 park row in manhattan and next ogar is hing togdquarters and i had breakfast many mornings at a gn.nch counter in that building with james's father. as it happens i went to h. ah
hchool with three cark ichael's sisters in the bronx. uge have skirted_ we hanne never met but we have skirted. i want to take you back to a hpeech you mo cf1 o ue on the f b.or of the house in 1995 which i frankly on tnd oel ensive in wh yopposaid they are coming for or children, invoking pastern the move on hitler. that was a terrible thing to say and i think you deserve, amebrda rieserves an vok grany y from yr it. >> guest: i remember the speech. emt was dealing with some of th things the republicans and sping togker newt gingbrdsch, s felt offended or others felt offended, i don't mind saying i
am sory. and i aget b.choze for. >> host: newt gingrich rciresented the dis trict neando nours for several years. what was your relationsh? ãsan sfibeen 1965. we respected other. i always say hello, my friend, yy brotheth ad aays call him mr. speaker an we never disrespected each etther. we got along. he was part of the georgia congreneeional delyou ation and some of my brothers and sisters that i disagreed with, was rest the1 they are my cgrleagues, my friends, we are brothers and sisters and serve in the house so many times, i would had the on the babrd, helly a my brothe ho was rare you doing today, brother?
in your memoir "walking with the wind: a memoir of the movement" you spent a lot of time, slkeral ich wtances where you make reference to what i am about to ring togd here and i wo get your reaction to it. i am and have always been f hused on and dedicated to doing the right thing which does not always mean deltng the blab thing. this kind of attitude did not sit well in the 60s with my cgrleagues and it has not sat well in the 90s with my black sgrlesome of ms. ãsan sfibeen 1965. i ad aays tr what i felt and continue to feel ems brdsye- > i believe in the dcith of my hing togrt and my soul we must together to create a society at ping togce with iurielf. not a blank society, not a white society, not a hispanic or asian amebrdscan or natyoure american. one people, one family, one housted emn my book agwaget ing with th wind: a memoir of the movement"
was tell the stoy. of growing in rural alabama what i was 4-1/2 or 5 ying toge b ogi and m same be. got us all inside the house and the wind started b b.wing and thunder started rgrling and lightning started flashing and the wagin started bing togting o old shotgun house and she started crnevng, terbrdson ted house was geltng to b b.w away with the children inside the phouse. that is where i got the name of the book from. as the wind contin of md to blb and thunder rolling and lightning flashing, corner of the house apping togred to be l. she has go to that corner told the house with our b cties and hogi the house down. another quarter little children waget ing with the wind but we never left the house.
so it doesn't matter whether we're blabrd or white or latino or asian american or native amebrdscater uge are one peo b e, one housted we are an american house but we are part of the worgi house. we must do what we can to save this little piece of real estatted sall it america. call it some other poor, call it the planet, call this a space ship. would be yes -- we must try to hanne it and ling togve it tanyn peace. >> host: john in virginia beach. hello.caller- emt is an honor to speak to you. a couple questions, will ty. to be bbrdse p. i would like to hear more about ivil omen invgrved in the - r. abacs m onemen- some people think they don't get enough credit for what they di. a emn particular i am thinking of
diane nash, seeing her ang' a direct so of mstion to the mayor of nashville, had to agree with pher. another so of mstion was have is i don't know if you ever met ãb yndon you o cf1 o sch won but what you think of nd you thought of him as a man and whether yopporespect him, what you thought of him as president and what yoppobelilke histgyou ems or will be in the future an finally i remember seme ng you n shicago the n. abac barack obam was elected, crying in tears. em want to hear you to des huibe the wave of emotion you felt that night and barac sawobama w elected in 2008. i will take my answer off the air. ãsan sfibeen 1965. thanu you fo question. i always felt more and more so t ctay, that women nlker got their due. women played a major role in the
syouril r. abacs movement. i worked with diane nash. she was ourtging togder in the nashville st obent m onement. and she became a leader south ugide and nationalnd she was the chair of the movement called the central committee of the student movement in nashville and diane was a student from chicago and she would attend non-violent workshops and all of us together and hanne orgatgized a sit in a coordinated our efforts on the freedom rides and it was dlilne nash and? the mother of the student noof committee. you worked with dr. martin ãb uther king jring iand was th that planted the meeting, the student alabama coo? somto hsenee was founded. you went to north carolina, the
schogr she gwagy dated fro1 but on the eastern shore of the island in cambridge the young lady named g b.brdsa brdschardsd david bates in little rock. go bac sawto rosa parin th and womert martin luther king's ida in montgomery, a college professor at alabama state, you lana robinson, that used mammany wagms' machine to get te ãb ing togthe sets all across t and all across america, women, black women, white womert standing up, organizing, women shougi be hiyeliyeted and the leyou thl den'ch we ut nd, so gd courageous, that would come to den'nd pelanale. pelanale -- i don't want to fort your question. you mentioned --
ãsan sof obama. was met president kennedy but that didn't mean i met president kennedy, also met ãb . >> don m leysoter i said before the speech that lyndon johch won ganne on march 15th,? american politics, every high hchool snowdent, sh you want t know about voting rights, should read that speech of president m leysoter she stated that speech by saying i speak for the d. atgity of ma and the destiny of democracy. at times history and faith meet in a single b acted more than a century ago, that is where it was at appomasenox in selmf t aln
as i said before, he was the first one to use the theme song of the cyouril r. abacs movemene shall overcome. the mortging of aan i. sixth 19 phe called james farmer and myself, the only two of the ho-called b. a 6 to meet with hm that morning to sign the voting brdsyete aech inghtning5. ãb . >> don m leyson was very colorfl and used some choice words. phe togind as we hed je to get e registered. he was committed, later spoke a howa? places, he was committed to yvil r. abac phe never receyoured the credit should receive. he ushered in the great s hie's , not only the right field, the
voting rights field, medicaryi ssedic. hhan then h id administration. high regard, nothing but respeeh for what he did. the day president barack obama was elected i was at s, e.in ti shunorth, not the ogi ctgitnort the new church, in the state of ethio and per. sylvanlil, and i knew then that he was on his way to being eleeched president. was jumped so h. ah was dod t my feet were going to touch the ? a b.or. i started huying. reporter asked me that evening, we noticed you are cy.ing so oich, and i said they are tears of happiness, tears of mfnd were you geltng to do your cy.ig so much tonight, what are you going to do when he is ornaan iurated in washington?
i said well, if i have tears leeas i will cy. some more. what i did, when i was sitting there as he was bme ng inaudywagted i started thinuing of president kennedy, robert ker. ed: w president m leysort king, three civil rights workers in mississippi that were killed, peo b e that never livehan goin to cast their vote to get repeecstered,tgyoure b.ng? see a man of color elected president. ãsan sof dlilne-still living? >> guest: diane-is very much alyoure in chicago. or see her from time to time. she is all wonderful, gifted etrgano wer. >> host: if you can't get through on the phone lines you can send a tweet at booktv, you can make a comment on our face book wonge, ligceoulk.com/bin t or send an e-mail,
email@example.com. i's , thanus for hogiing on. you are on with congressman and sterethor you o cf1 o sn lewiy ãsa> thanu you. it is a real privilege to speak to you, representatyoure m ley ãb hisis. i was part of the occupy wall street mityent oent in the n er months and i felt that the moment that i knew personally the occ bey mityent oent would . hl was when you were denied a chance to spn ek ha, one of ther rallies. i don't remember where it was taking place but i felt o he be ont the time, as th they were being clever in rejeeching atgot of basic strategy that you and the other meeas ers of snake ha,tg. hd out, thetgaws of civil disobedience back in the 60s. they thoan ibac they were bme n clever that you didn't have a mission, you cougid that be contwagdieched if you didd that leaders, couldn't be jailed or
onn aassinated. orf you donud proside. hm your bowl you can never be told that you ligiled to or are off message. i would love to hear anything you have to say n oryou thtgizing sng,atnew pies organizations and how they have learned or f. hled to learn frong c what you and other great men and women did bac sawthen. >> guest: the oheyy thing i trid to do that particular date in atlantf ttgeft my ofley ce whic was only half a block from occupying the par sawand which some well and some people wanted me to speak but i didn't feel etffended or anything. ornd anderstood very well but i tell young people, people not so ? young to rea, thetgiterature c ..
as a way of life and as a way of living not simply as a technique or a tactics. >> across that bridge you write about the occupied movement as well as the issues in egypt that egypt faces over the last couple of years. harrisburg go ahead with your question or comment for john lewis. >> caller: its a great honor
to talk to you. i was interested in your take on the legacy of the civil rights movement and how other movements in the world have used it to motivate their own. contrary i was wondering what is an example of misuse of the civil rights legacy to try to motivate people. i will take my answer offline. >> the thank you. >> the book that i completed with one of my colleagues, bouck number one, is a graphic novel to help inspire a generation.
i spoke of dr. king's book the martin luther king story of 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 of the way of peace and nonviolence. you create a mass movement and i appreciate the fight. but when you travel almost any part of the world today, people know something about the american civil rights movement. they know the words we shall overcome. it is my hope people will not just say the words we speak the words but they will try to live the way of peace and live the way of life. dwight live the way of others.
people have to find a way to make some - to push and pull and not be satisfied, disturb the order of things. >> host: after jury election victory over julian bond in 1986, what happened to your friend should? >> guest: well, our friendship was not destroyed for a few months or maybe a year we didn't have much to say to each of their but we are as close as ever today. >> host: you also write about andrew young that there is tension. >> guest: he said he was neutral. he was and that natural but today we are the best of friends. >> host: one other politician, former president carter. >> guest: i think president carter from time to time i run them for him -- run into him and
i worked for him for years in washington and during the anniversary of the celebration of the march on washington, we spent some time together talking and reminiscing. he's a wonderful man and friend. i worked for him for almost three years now. the >> host: would you have reference to the speech a couple of times and i want to show you that. >> we cannot and we must not refuse to protect their right of every american to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in what triet [applause] we ought not and we cannot and we must not wait another eight
months before we get a bill. we have already waited 100 years and more and the time for waiting is gone. [applause] so i ask you to join me in working long hours and nights and weekends if necessary to pass the smell and i don't make that request likely to be where i sit with the problems of our country who i recognize that
outside this chamber is the outrage conscience of the nation , the grave concern of many nations and the harsh judgment history. even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. what happened in selma is part of a larger movement that reaches to every section and a state of america. it is the effort of american negro's to secure for themselves the full blessing of american life. their cause must be our cause, too because it's not just negros but it's all of us who must
overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice and we shall overcome. [applause] >> host: almost 50 years ago that speech was made in the house of representatives. when you look back, what has changed? >> guest: because of the work of the individuals in the conference and presidents like lyndon johnson who, john f.
kennedy he made a speech in 1963 and the involvement of hundreds of thousands of our citizens. it's like to call the nonviolent revolution. and our country is a better country. and we are better people. there are some people saying nothing has changed. some people say you are just too hopeful and optimistic. but you have to be hopeful and you have to be optimistic. those signs are gone and they will not return. the only places our children and those children will see those signs in a book, in a museum or on the video. the region that i grew up in is a region of better people. we are on our way towards the
creation of a truly multiracial space society. when i go back to alabama, montgomery or birmingham, places in mississippi or not carolina, the people want to see us take a great leap forward. we need leadership in many parts of our country get local level and the state level. >> host: something was born in selwa during the course of that year in 1965, but something died there, too. the road of non-violence has essentially run out. selma was the last act.
los canellos elma movement was so peaceful and people were so committed but we didn't follow through that there is a need to pick up where we left off. we need it from selma to montgomery on to washington with the pass of the voting rights act. people got elected but we can learn from the mistakes were. that's why during the past 13 years with the group favors and politics we've been taking the members of congress back to birmingham and montgomery on the last trip we went to tuscaloosa and i tell you i wish that the whole of america could have been a witness for this to happen. to have governor george wallace 's daughter and sister of terry malone jones, one of the
people john wallace stood in the door to try to block was married to the attorney general of the united states. these two young women engaged in a dialogue on the campus of the university of alabama, and the president of the young are city of alabama, a woman, believed the only woman president of the school as the moderator -- when these two women finished there wasn't a dry eye in the building. but to go back to a place like montgomery when we arrived on may 20th, 1961 but the local
police chief, the members of the johnson family, the reverend ralph abernathy and the chief command to speak to us he wasn't even born during the days of the freedom ride. she may be 40 or 45-years-old. but the chief came in and spoke and said mr. lewis, you were hearing the freedom ride. the police department allowed the mob to beat you and leave 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. pond montgomery, sola, not violence. but he and 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. he took his badge off and gave it to me. the members of congress and other police officers and people from all over america, 400 or 500 people were moved by this. it's my belief that the american south one day will lead the way and make america a good america, better america. >> congressman, are you hopeful about the future in light of recent developments like the
supreme court decision on voting rights and the one trayvon martin case? >> guest: despite the decision on the voting rights act which i consider a step back because i believe that decision put a debtor in the very heart of the voting rights act of 65. even with the decision and the tree long martin case -- trayvon martin case i'm still optimistic. i said to people the time and i say today that you must never get lost in the sea of despair. you must be hopefully and optimistic and continue to fight and stand up and do what you can to create a better society. we cannot go to sleep. we have to fight for what is right and fair and just.
>> host: with the increase in the districts what are your thoughts regarding the top american politics and the two-party system. it is my belief that the congressional districts are one of the country -- and i think that is why we have such polarization in today's american politics. the american people are smart. they get it and we will see a transformation in american politics. people are going to vote for individuals. what are your of rejections to the picture id requirement for voting whacks it is amazing he writes that voting is based on
trust. voting should be based on trust. weech and open up the political process and let people come in. we shouldn't be afraid -- i said at the march on washington in 1963i said one person, one vote one man and one vote. i said in my march on washington speech one man and one vote is ours, too to read it doesn't make sense in a country such as ours to say to some man or woman 95, 93-years-old who never had a driver's license somewhere in pennsylvania or north carolina or georgia that you must have an id to be able to vote. some people said we are afraid
of fraud. but people in alabama and georgia and mississippi and other parts of the south just open up the process and let everybody heard dissipate. >> host: december 21st, 1968. >> guest: december 21st, 1968 is the day that i got married to a beautiful young woman who was born in los angeles, attended the school and i guess it was called hollywood high and went leader to the peace corps. she became a librarian and loved books and she loved to read.
she came self and followed the civil rights movement. we met in 67 and were married on february 21st, 1968. she just passed last new year's eve, december 31st of last year. >> host: you were married by what you referred to as daddy king, dr. king's father we all called him daddy king, you for my wedding he said in a ceremony lillian coming year obey and everybody spoke up laughing when he said well you obey. >> host: why did they laugh? >> guest: because they thought that he was instructing her to listen. of course she was a little
feisty and needed some encouragement to obey her husband. >> host: what has the last year of your life been like without her? >> guest: i think about her all the time. i still wear my wedding band. it's just hard to take off. i miss her and wish she could be here and witness the changes that have occurred with our son and all life and -- she was my closest friend and was a wonderful companion. she gave me great advice. she worked so hard in the campaigns and she kept up with everything. she read everything. the newspapers, the books, everything. someone told me you should meet this young lady. she loved to go to the airport.
you need someone to keep up with your papers and writing and that sort of thing. i'm sure she is looking down from heaven. my son is at home in atlanta. he's into music and technology. he loves sports but he really loves music more than anything. >> host: michigan, please go ahead with your question or comment for the author and commerce and on louis. >> guest: first my condolences on your loss. >> guest: thank you. second coming you have been one of my heroes.
as a disabled man the last 25 years i have some idea of what it is to be discriminated against. but i wanted to ask you if -- do you think that part of the right lane conservatives, the tea party folks, do you feel like it's inherent racism and the that their agenda is against social services, against the president. i think it's very disturbing some of the things that they propose. i was wondering what you think about that. >> guest: i believe we all have an ability to change
cabinet that's why i take members of congress and try to get them to locker in that in people's shoes. in one occasion a senator from one of the southern states went with us to birmingham montgomery and selma. he came back and said to me if i had been on this trip earlier, my voting record would be different. i think sometimes you have to get people to walk and other people's shoes. people have to see and feel the to tell you something for themselves. so i am not one of these that are quick to label someone. but i don't think any of us come into this world putting people down because they are able or disabled or rather they are of a certain race. i thought we are taught to
dislike and hate. sometime along the way we are innocent little children and something happened along the way. on the letterhead i think in our society today that the individuals me be in american politics that field in order to get ahead they must be seen as crusading against something rather than for something. >> host: and across that bridge in the reconciliation chapter, congressmen coming you write that is why we are engaged in the struggle now in the congress led by one group of people who truly believes the role is to defend the privileges of the elite.
>> guest: i think that in some way they have been elected and that individuals this is the role and must play. i've been chosen to play this role and i must play it well rather than looking at everybody. it's important for people to kind of walk in the shoes of others. i don't understand how people make it in our society. poor people. black, white, latino, asian americans, native american. the need help. at the government, our government, this powerful government should be there to assist and help people, help the children to when men and the disabled.
>> stop spending so much of zero resources on bombs and be more humane. i think there should be some way that we can humanize america. humanize our institutions. our education institutions and financial institution and our politics. >> host: in the fifth chapter in a cross that bridge you write faith is nothing in your core that the work is already done even if the idea is being conceived in your mind. it is being as sure your teams as anything as a hard fact. >> guest: i believe it's already done. you have this idea and this goal. you have to make it real because it is already done.
when we started talking about this it in with the freedom ride from selma to montgomery, and you know in your gut the victory is already one and there can be no turning back. >> host: use it when you first got arrested in - fill you felt free. >> guest: i felt free e and liberated. individuals that become liberated and the greater society, the country will be liberated. you have to believe it. >> host: new jersey. didier butcher for name. >> caller: hello? >> host: hello. >> caller: i didn't even know you had me on the line. >> host: what is the name of your town? >> caller: [inaudible]
>> host: i can't hear you. >> host: please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: i wanted to speak to the representative to tell him how happy i am today that i happened to be flipping through the tv. i have admired you for many, many years. your spirits is love and empathy and hope and it's the same spirit that i have but i want to read the books i see you have come out with. i have two grandsons that i certainly want to read that cartoon book. and as for the hardcover i just want to make sure i got the right title. this is walking with the wind? >> guest: one book is walking with the wind, yes. >> caller: and the other is the cartoon book and is that also called i couldn't get it as
he was saying what the title was >> guest: it is called march book one. >> host: there is on the screen triet >> caller: i hope my family and i will be able to come to washington, d.c. to visit the capitol. i would love to meet you in person. i think you are a wonderful and courageous man that is full of love and as martin luther king said in one of his letters love will always be stronger than hate. i believe that and i know you believe it, too. >> guest: when you come to washington, come to my office and we have a gathering of historic photographs from the 60's that dr. martin luther king jr. and others. >> host: congressman, and walking with the wind you write
about on september 2nd, 1986, 52-48 you beat julian bond in an upset. 15,000 applicants for those positions. do you still attract that national audience of people that want to work for you? >> guest: even today we get hundreds of thousands from people all around the world. there isn't any way that we can hire everybody but major cities and towns, state governments want me to come and speak about dr. king.
representing the people in georgia everybody would like for me to come to address the college and university and we get requests from the student groups to meet them on the steps and we see a lot of people from are now the world and i enjoy talking with students telling them about the movement and shoving them photographs and videos. it keeps you young and to engage with your students to read a lot of these young people do not believe that i got arrested 40 times during the 60's. i never thought about getting up. i couldn't give up. i couldn't give in. >> host: the brinkley writes in a cross that bridge about you
he forges on word that rare politician that draws the respect of every colleague on both sides of the partisan aisle when he steps up to the podium people hush. everyone wants to hear the spirit of greatness. that is the fruit that his life was born. do you ever get tired of reading stuff about yourself? >> guest: i try not to read it because you start reading and keep reading at you start believing it and i don't want to believe that. i just tried to help out and make a contribution. i didn't like hell i was growing up and i knew there was a better way. people like martin of tours king jr. and rosa parks provided a way out and a way and. >> host: in march but one that the graphic novel in one of the early stories you flip back from the current day to your past
life and one of the stories is a woman bringing her two sons to your office and you were there. is this a real story and how often -- >> guest: this is a real story. people come all the time. it was the day of the inauguration that woman came in. i get letters and telephone calls i want my children to meet you. i just want to come by for five minutes and we try to accommodate people. sometimes people will wait and they come from a distance. some people write a letter, making a telephone call and come away from california to washington, d.c.. i want to come by and see you. and i have people come by sometimes -- another problem we
have -- and my staff people will tell you people walk in and they start crying. they say i'm going to cry. i'm going to pass out. i say please don't pass out to and i'm not a doctor. and we have that problem sometimes. i was doing a book signing and the american people are good people. as human beings we are good and people want to share their feelings and a motion and i understand that. people say i want to hug you. and i would say it's okay. i need a hug. >> host: from anchorage alaska. >> caller: hello. how are you? >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: i am a native of
alabama i tend a&m university. and one year with the doctor from the political science department we attended selma for bloody sunday and i have the excellent opportunity of meeting you alongside with rosa parks and a lot of outstanding people. i've been living here in anchorage alaska for ten years. i am an employee for the bureau of land management and i was able to receive my master's degree in planning and i was so gung-ho about coming here and working and everything but working here in anchorage alaska and corporate america i find it hard to advance as a black female and i'd was just wanting
your words of encouragement for halting me to keep hope alive and just being accepted more as an individual not just because i'm black but because i'm an individual and in a human being and i have nothing but love and harmony and peace that runs through me and every day i try to instill in me the words that my 89 year old grandmother tells me that she lives in rural alabama. she tells me to do everything you do with love and i have been applying for advanced to become advancement because i look at myself as a leader and the workers to work with tell me all the time on a daily basis that i should be a supervisor. i need to be in d.c. to make changes and things. so i would like to hear some of your thoughts to kind of help me keep that fire alive.
>> guest: thank you very much for calling. i've been to your university. and i get that from time to time. thank you for your service and worked in the government. i said don't become better. keep the faith and never give up and the faith and hope and love continue to work and hang in there and pursue your dream. >> host: jason posts on the page thank you for helping design a movement. i'm a student at the university of pennsylvania who has helped form a statewide social justice organization directly based on
sncc. can you please talk about you and others how you and others were able to negotiate the voice to the front of the civil rights movement and what lesson can young people today learn? >> guest: as you know before we went on any protest we studied and we have used ourselves with the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. we never, ever tried to put someone down. we were always trying to respect our opponent and fellow human beings. be organized and honest and truthful.
have goals and follow your sense of what is right and what is fair and just. it's not only the persistent, but also be interested and operate on great principles. >> host: gail from montana to read our guest is author and congressman john lewis. >> caller: thank you for all of your hard work over the years. my question is legally we instill words of the federal government and we've utilize every civil-rights tool we can from the voting rights act to tribal poverty initiatives. but i find it perplexing that the bureaucracy, the federal government creates the affairs and now a new one called the office of special trustees then
we lose some of our brightest talent to the federal dhaka sees that aren't coming back to the reservations because of the jobs that are in the federal bureaucracy's. and i just want to ask you how can we push that turnaround? >> guest: i have a great deal of concern what happened to the people, to the indian nation. during the carter administration i had an opportunity to get out and is set about three years ago i had an opportunity to travel to oklahoma and visit a cherokee nation. on one occasion i went to arizona to visit the navajo
nation. organized and continues to bring people together and get them to never, ever forget the land they come from and to get politicians and elected officials, members of congress, people in the obama administration to come out and visit and to see what is happening to indian people. >> host: in march book one you talk about how you plan the and studied and got ready for civil rights activities. you also plan they had studied and tested each other on how to prepare to get arrested or harassed. there is a great visualization and the book about how you would torment each other essentials lee the prior to going to a set
in -- sit-in. >> we did everything we could to test ourselves to break our spirit and dehumanize each other. you can see some of the captions here on this page. you literally split the fleet could spit on each other, blue smoke in each other's face, called each other names. >> guest: we really did. we call that role-playing and social,. the one word that no one should ever use. we put the iain word there and i remember on one occasion a waitress said to one of the purchase of -- participants we don't serve you in here and he said we don't eat them and
people thought this was really funny and i guess it was funny to her and to all of the participants. but it was an attempt to prepare people of what could happen and to be ready. people were ready. it became one of the most disciplined movements because we have a man by the name of jim lawson. wonderful teacher coming down methodist minister who attended vanderbilt university in nashville. he worked for the fellowship at the reconciliation had traveled to india and studied. dr. martin luther king jr. would come to an ashbel during the spring and he would say that the national student movement was the most disciplined. it was well organized and the people were accepting the way of nonviolence as the way of life and as a way of living.
and it was there that many of the young people like diane nash and bernard lafayette and who is going to be the body president in a few weeks. these people didn't only go to jail and get arrested in nashville but they went on the freedom ride and they became organizers all across the south. today many of these people are still working for of social change and justice. >> host: 50 miles from your house near troy alabama what happened in montgomery and what do you remember about that? >> guest: i young woman, rosa parks, was arrested for refusing
to get up and give up her seat. to a white gentleman. because of the action of rosa parks there was a mass meeting a few days later where martin luther king and others spoke and the decision was made to have the boycott. i remember i was 15-years-old and the tenth grade but i remember like it was yesterday. i followed the trauma of montgomery. it inspired me. at that time we didn't have a subscription to a newspaper. but my grandfather had one and each day when he would finish his newspaper we but listen about what was happening in
montgomery and many of the teachers that i had in school would come during the weech and they would tell us about the montgomery bus boycott. and when i had an opportunity to meet rosa parks to years later in 1957 and to meet dr. king three years later, it changed my life. i was so inspired by dr. king and rosa parks during the montgomery bus boycott that in 1956 with some of my brothers and sisters and cousins we went down to the public library in troy alabama. to try to get library cards and check out some books and we were told by the librarian that the library was for white only and not colored. i never went back to the public library in coley alabama until
july 5th, 1998 by this time. for a book signing of my book walking with the wind we had a wonderful program. many whites and african-americans showed up to the we had food and something to drink. at the end of the program at the end of the book signing, they gave me a library card. >> caller: thank you so much. it's a little touching after one you just shared. and how poignant that you married a library in and how wonderful they know the street and they could give you a library card so i built my whole peak of around watching you live because you have been a hero for me for so long and i just have a question, congressman.
as you shared in 1968 something died in the american consciousness and for me it did. i was only 10-years-old. but watching dr. king and bobby kennedy being assassinated changed something for me and i've devoted my life to that and now as an adult and wanting to create a curriculum for young people that will help inspire that same kind of five-year it that we are talking about and be inspired by this vision of the community and civic engagement and character building and that commitment to racial justice and social justice and economic. so if you have some thoughts you can share on what we might bring to young people and i'm thinking third grade through graduate school, young adults how we can inspire and be that vision. thank you. >> guest: we've been using a
growing number of schools. one leading college or university in america is using the book for freshmen and other schools are considering that. i'm going to be speaking at a convention of social studies teachers in st. louis before the end of the year, but there is a teaching guide you can contact the publisher in the book, but i would recommend march. it is for young people to learn about the civil rights movement. but to learn the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence.
>> host: scott e-mails and you, congressman. as a mom liberal, 60 something white guy from the northwest i am enormously proud to claim you as a fellow citizen of the united states despite our differences on the opinion on many topics. thank you for all that you have accomplished in the country. affirmative action has succeeded however like all good ideas it also has unintended side effects. we all know that it must end some day but it seems that nobody wants to talk about that yet. so, when can we began to talk about declaring affirmative action of success, the monument in all big cities? >> guest: we are not there yet. we haven't yet created the beloved community or one america, one house, one family. there's still the need to include the purchase a patient
of all of our citizens in the american way. it doesn't matter whether they are black or white or latino, asian americans, native american. it doesn't matter whether they are gay or straight or protestant or catholic, jewish, religious or non-religious. all of that must be included. so there's still the need to the involvement, the inclusion participation of all of our citizens. >> host: another e-mail and this is from it looks like mrs. moreni has a lover of statistics and the pursuit of truth i feel that civil rights activist julian hobson could be a colorful and syria's role model for people's imaginations. however many parents might object to the staunch atheism. question number one, did you
know him and number to do you think a picture book on him could be acceptable? >> guest: he had great ideas and was a true activist. i think it would be fitting and appropriate for that to be a picture book. there's great stories that need to be told and shared not just with the washington community that the american community. >> host: did his atheism hold him back? >> guest: i don't think it did because i don't think many people knew his view when they came to the faith community. >> host: in march about one you write the first time you ever saw your print was in the montgomery advertising newspaper front page and the head line boy
preacher. >> guest: i do remember this picture of me holding the bible and the montgomery advertiser. the paperback had what we called the colored section of the paper >> host: why were you in it? >> guest: there was a local committee there of young people from troy alabama that received a license as a baptist minister. >> host: are you still a baptist minister today? >> guest: i am baptist and from time to time called upon to deliver a sermon. i just recently on. i just recently spoke at the church in washington celebrating
the 150th anniversary. so i tied it altogether in the so i tied it altogether in the sermon than the 150th anniversary of the emancipation proclamation. the church was started in virginia and later it was burned and many members of the conquered asian left virginia and moved to washington and here the church grew and grew and today it is one of the strong guest churches, a place of faith in washington, d.c.. i remember coming in what dr. king and others holding meetings at this church back in 1963 and '64 and '65. but i also tied into the 50th anniversary of the march on
washington in leader 50 years. >> host: next call comes from nancy in georgia. >> caller: i consider this a great honor. i think the congressman lewis said a perfect example that the greatest shall be a servant. i recently moved to georgia and i've been learning about a woman here who was the granddaughter of slaves but was the principal of a segregated school. she left an endowment to the college and now they have a center for the scholarship and i wondered if congressman lewis is familiar with the concept of the leadership and knows robert greenly for the efforts of the
university of virginia for the front leadership. >> i have been there a few short years ago. they delivered the commencement address and have an honor very degree. on my way from atlanta to alabama sometimes to visit my younker brothers and sisters and before my mother and father passed and would come right through the heart of downtown i know it very well and i know the whole idea of the leaders and leadership that's what i believe in and that's why i encourage young leaders to try to be fervently terse and leaders must leave. they must show the way and not just get up front each time,
looked at the prepared to do the hard work. >> host: as no california please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: it is an honor to speak with you. at the time of his death, dr. king was fighting for economic justice. and so i would like to ask about reparations for blacks. what happened to the 40 acres and then you'll promise cracks black men overpopulate the presence comes down to defeat could stand your ground law facilitate the murder of young men likened trayvon martin. our voting rights are being checked away. why aren't black politicians mobilizing blacks to fight for economic justice in the form of reparations? something like the marshall plan to go into urban cities with a sustained effort to erase the
poverty which is the root of the problem. >> guest: thank you. >> guest: many african-american elected officials and others stand up and speak out and organize, and we talk about economic justice. we tried to get more resources. it's been an ongoing fight to get resources from black farmers that were discriminated against, and american farmers and others. we don't think in this climate in this environment that we are going to see all right payment of something called preparation. but our efforts must be to do what we can to see that all
young people -- it doesn't matter whether they're black or latino, native american, that the get the best possible education so that they get jobs and make a contribution to the larger society and stop warehousing people in the institutions. >> host: from walking with the wind, congressman, it was this time i began believing in what i called the spirit of histories. others might call that fifa was destiny or a guiding hand but whatever it is called by came to believe the forces on the side of what is good, what is right and just and is the essence of the force of the universe. >> guest: i had a teacher who was a philosopher teacher at the american baptist church college
and he would run around the block board and he was like a flying saucer and we but just run. he wasn't a very young man that he could move. you may want to go other direction or maybe you just want to stand still. but i call it the spirit of history that track you down and say this is the way you must go. this is what you must do. i feel today and i felt it back during the 40's and 50's on that farm in rural alabama that something was pushing me that i
had to answer the call. when i heard the words of martin luther king jr., when i read about rosa parks i knew then that i had been touched. i didn't know what to call that but i started calling it the spirit of history. this is what you must do. dedicate yourself to the call of justice and what is right and fair for all humankind. >> host: one of the others said you got to stop preaching the gospel according to martin luther king and start preaching the gospel of jesus christ. >> guest: there was a young man that i loved and admired. he was so smart and at the same time he could be very loud. he was my roommate for a
semester and i couldn't take him anymore. he was walking down the hall preaching and would go to the shower preaching and everything just preaching what he called the gospel of jesus christ. i would be talking about dr. king was saying and he would say the preaching of martin luther king jr. is the preaching of jesus christ. he's making it real. he's not talking about over yonder by and by that he's talking about here and now. ..
>> host: what did your parents, older generation, of landover, what did they think of your activities in college? >> when that first got involved and a mother heard about it she thought i was crazy. she thought i had lost my mind. i remember her writing the letter saying you went to school to get an it you cajun and now you are involved in this mess. you are going to get hurt and i wrote her a letter back, trying to paraphrase the words of martin luther, something like i have to be the dictates of my conscience. i don't think she understood what i was saying or trying to say to her. she was afraid, she was afraid
that i would go to jail and be in jail for a long time, the andy bean, she feared for me and many years later one of my younger brothers told me when they were growing up, much younger, they would get telephone calls and don't say anything to be about it, don't tell me, don't tell me, she didn't want me to worry. they lived in constant fear, they thought the house would be burned, a bomb, they thought they would lose their land, not be able to get credit. but after the voting rights act was passed and she was able to register to vote, my grandfather was able to register. she became a crusader, everybody should become registered to vote
and she was so proud to be elected to congress, i regret so much that she didn't live to see president barack obama elected. she didn't come to washington. but she lived to meet president clinton in atlanta and to see local people elected. >> host: where they ever threatened? >> guest: they returned through telephone calls. and got telephone calls and my father became so proud. and he was very proud -- >> host: the producer of this
>> booktv's online book club selection for october, rep john lewis's "walking with the wind: a memoir of the movement". >> as a young child i faced segregation and racial discrimination. my mother, my father, my great grandparents, why segregation? racial discrimination? that is the way it is. don't get in trouble, don't get in the way. in 1955 when i was in tenth grade, fifteen years old, i heard rosa parks, the voice of martin luther king jr. on the radio and the words of dr. king inspired me to find a way to get
in the way. in 1966 members and sisters and cousins, we went to the library in the little town of florida, alabama, trying to get libraries costs, check some books out. in the we were told by the library in the libraries were 4 whites only and not coloreds. on july 5th, 1998, i went back to the library in alabama for a book signing of my book "walking with the wind: a memoir of the movement" and hundreds of blacks and white citizens showed up and gave me a library card. [applause] >> a book of the, hope and courage, not just my story but the story of hundreds of thousands, cal was men and women, black and whites, and to
end segregation and end racial discrimination. >> no need to register, start reading the book and those your thoughts at any time on the book club chat room, booktv.org/bookclub. we will post a booklet related items to encourage conversation including links to interviews, the author, book reviews. >> host: one of your greatest influences is the reverend kelly miller smith. >> guest: this man, one of a kind, was born in mississippi, in the heart of the delta. and in atlanta, that his divinity, grief from howard university and washington d.c..
attending collagens in nashville he was a great or later, up wonderful, wonderful minister. the first baptist church in downtown nashville paula this church was old, red, brick building with overlapping roof and the membership came out of the balcony of the white church. since the days of slavery in tennessee. it was located less than a block from the state capital. one of the median places during the height of the movement. you go -- talked-about preaching the social gospel, this man did. his sermons were short.
10 to 12 minutes. when you heard his sermons, heard him speak, you were ready to get up and move your feet. he became a close and dear friend of martin luther king jr.. he was tall, handsome, he spoke with authority. he believed -- what he was saying and he lived it. he was concerned about all of nashville, black night filled done -- national, middle-income low-income, wealthy nashville. wanted to bring the city together. i admired him. i loved him. he inspired me.
he lifted me. >> host: we have an hour left with congressman john lewis on "in-depth," author and civil rights leader. ambrose in rochester, new york, go ahead with your question or comment. >> >> caller: when we went to atlantic city, remember going there? the democrat? >> host: i apologize. it is a little difficult, there's some breakup in the phone. >> caller: let me into the office speakerphone. >> host: we are going to put you on hold but we will come back and chat with you for just a minute in the control room and get you back. speakerphones don't work with
all the technology, make a lot clearer for everybody to hear if you just use the had said. melissa in tucson, arizona. >> caller: civil rights, human rights activists from the 60s in suburban detroit and study these things from south africa and all that. and included -- i live in tucson, arizona and one of my assignments over the last couple years is the civil rights movement, over here. american studies in the main school district a couple years ago and for me this is on par with getting evolution in the schools or desegregating
schools. >> host: are you saying they don't teach civil rights in tucson school? >> tucson unified school district in tucson, band the american studies program a couple years ago. i am sure the congressman is aware of that. they made a big deal out of it. acl you made a big deal out of it but the people didn't come. university based the largest sobor rights community didn't come. american studies in the school system and people like john lewis, if they had been here, we are one hours, when people. >> guest: maybe one day in the not too distant future i will have an opportunity to come and
speak. several of my colleagues in congress have urged me to come to tucson. another part of arizona and i look forward to the day that i will have an opportunity to come and visit the schools and some of the organization's. >> host: when you see or hear about how civil rights is taught in schools today, all we learn enough? are we teaching the next generation enough in your view? >> we need to do more. we need to do much more. in some places, a places like california, there are individual organizations and groups, student groups, study groups, one high school teacher in northern california, organized sojourn into the past and the past few years brought more than 5,000 high school students to the south for ten they isn't da have spoken to every single group, they come in groups of
100. i have spoken to every single group except one. they come to atlanta, visit tuskegee, go to montgomerie, go to selma, birmingham, jackson, mississippi, little rock, and they recruit students from other parts of the country, from cleveland, new york city, new orleans, to travel. it is away of learning and it is not tour. they have to do papers, white papers, read books, watch videos. i get students in my own city of atlanta and going on vacations some place, going some place and having fun, maybe you should do a field trip, just a day trip to birmingham, montgomerie, selma, to learn, walk-in other people's shoes. >> host: september 15th, 1963. >> guest: it is impossible to
forget september 15th, 1963. that sunday morning i was home in alabama visiting my mother and father and younger sisters and brothers. we heard that bomb had gone off at the sixteenth street baptist church in birmingham. and i received a telephone call from my office in atlanta saying you must make it to birmingham. my mother and my father did not want me to go, didn't want me to board a bus so the same uncle i had traveled with to buffalo, uncle otis, who lived 60 miles south of freud, said i know what to do so he took me to a little town south of troy so people
would not see any board to bus and make it back to birmingham. i made it to birmingham sunday afternoon and met my friend julia bond. agreed photograph of the two of us standing across the street from the church. that was the sad and dark time, to see what happened when these girls were killed on sunday morning. i cannot forget that. i stayed there for the funerals, dr. king had eulogy for the girls. it was there because of what had happened in birmingham that we intensified to get the right to
vote in mississippi and alabama and especially selma. >> host: what is the longest since you did in jail? >> guest: the longest time i spent in jail was in mississippi during of the freedom rides. it was 44 days. jail is not a pleasant place. to be in jail in alabama in mississippi or any place in the south, to be in jail for, you lose your freedom. just being in a crowded cell block, the food is not the best. we conduct non-violent workshops. we singsongs, good old moses way
down in egypt land, tell old pharaoh to let my people go. in silence in jail, had no money to go on bail. but it was there that we became a circle of trust, a band of brothers and sisters, young people, white and black getting arrested and put in jail. we would get arrested together, sitting down together, in a bus together, in a waiting room together and get to the jail they segregate us. >> host: when was the last time you were a arrested? >> guest: last, was arrested was in washington d.c. at the sudanese embassy, a got arrested there twice, we were protesting against the way our people had been treated, something congress
and -- arrested four times, twice at the sudanese embassy, once at the south african embassy, and once at a meeting of a major company in atlanta because of their investments in south africa. >> host: would that be coca-cola? >> guest: it was not coca-cola. coca-cola's policy, was trying to use their influence to change the plight in south africa. it was another major corporation. >> host: dave in washington, go at it with your comments or questions for john lewis. >> caller: thank you very much for c-span. i watch daily, love it, thank you, john lewis, for your citizenship, your insurance, and your hard work to build a more perfect union. i am a the owner of this. the conservative movement, and was watching bill maher and he was saying, had a guy who was
part of the tea party saying they are winning and i agree with him. the conservative movement has been winning by using narratives, divisive narratives that pull this country further and further to the right. my question is arch the so-called privileges of the elite really entitlements taken off of the backs of the working class? is there a way we can take some of their words like entitlements and other phrases that they use and flipped the script on them, flip it back on them and show them how they are actually the ones that are cheating? they cannot win without cheating? they gerrymander to win the district's they didn't otherwise win. what else can we do to flip the
script? >> thank you very much. we must continue to pull together and work together and our methods must be caught up in the end we seek. we want to create a more perfect union, we want to create a more peaceful union, a more just union. then the way must be more peaceful. more just. and much more fair. we cannot use the methods and techniques of another group. we are all in this thing together. we must look out for each other and we must care for each other, to build and move towards the beloved community at peace with
itself. >> host: springfield, georgia e-mail. i never had the pleasure of meeting you, someone i deeply respect and admire. i am a former schoolmate of supreme court associate justice clarence thomas and deeply disappointed in his judicial philosophy. do you have any comments? >> as a member of congress i remember i had been invited to testify when he was being considered to become a member of the supreme court and i was one of the people that testified -- i didn't think he had the temperament and i didn't share his political philosophy to be a member of the united states supreme court. i think as the nation and as a people we can do much better. >> host: have you gotten to know
justice thomas? >> guest: i met him long before he became a member of the supreme court. i was one of the few african-american members of congress at the time, maybe the only one to meet with him. >> host: ambrose in rochester, new york, please go ahead. >> caller: how are you doing? i haven't seen you since 1964. i was a member when you were a gentleman. as a matter of fact -- i remember -- >> guest: i remember the atlantic city convention very well. i was there as chairman of the award and dating committee. i got -- one of the women that stood up, she was so brave, she
was tough, and she had a great voice, she knew how to use her voice to organize and she was courageous. >> he had gentlemen been in from the top of the head to the bottom of her feet of your member correctly. i was there when we were guarding her. >> i remember that very well. another fighter, another leader from the delta of mississippi. >> host: he got me involved. >> host: if you could give us a brief synopsis of your life. tell us what you have been doing since 1964. >> in 63-64, i came to
california in 1965. as a matter of fact i have been working with the group john talked about, taking kids to college, ten days through black college, recruit black college students so i try to work with through the system for 28 years and just retired. i am about four years younger than john. >> guest: >> host: sorry, i thought you finished. >> guest: thank you for your work over the years. the >> host: warren, please go ahead. >> i want to thank you so much. you put your life on the line for what you believed in. i know that is like. i called richard butler at a
legislative hearing a was testifying at, a bigot to his face and got a lot of press but as you can hear i am still alive. i was at the stanford deal where al sharpton was parking, 30,000 people. i was so excited. less than 50 white. where i am disappointed in the civil rights movement is this year in february, the 100th birth day of rosa parks. in central florida we did nothing. in july of this year, sixty-fifth anniversary of integration of the military which i got to think truman for because when i was in the marine corps i served in a great organization and it would have felt terrible if i had served in a segregated one.
my philosophy is organize and educate because i find so many people don't know how the civil rights movement moved up. >> guest: thank you. thank you very much. i agree we must continue to organize, mobilized and digit kent informed. knowing your history and studying history, people need to to read. when i was very young in alabama, i have a wonderful teacher who's said to me over and over again, reid, my child, read. i tried to read everything. >> host: christine wright thank you for serving your country. what is your point of view of the worst of the n word in my generation?
>> guest: i don't think we should use the n word. i don't think we should use it. it is negative. we shouldn't use it in music. and be used. we should respect the worth of every human being. >> host: elizabeth tweets could john lewis tell us something about bayard rustin we may not know? >> guest: he grew up in chester, pa.. he was committed to the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence. back in the late 40s he was doing something called a journey
simply because he was gay. they didn't want to see him up front. they tried to keep him from being the head leader on the march on washington in 1963 but without byron ruston, there wouldn't have been in march on washington. >> host: was a known fact that he was gay? >> guest: most people in the hierarchy of the movement new and at one time he had been at arrested on a charge i believe it was out in california or some place because he was gay and people tried to hide that but he never tried to hide his homosexuality. >> host: this is somebody that you quote, somebody writing
about you. if you can tell us who this is. the poker game continued as i moved into the living room. one of the guys on the floor caught my eye began to sway. he had a round body. he was john lewis, the secretary of sncc and one day he would be castigated by his own people for not being militant enough. she was loved and sold and just to be with him made use my allin site even though you knew she would never make it because he was too sweet. his dancing was laced with mr. f. we grew to the center of the floor and in two minutes we are putting on a show. >> guest: i think that was the actress shirley maclaine writing that about me. >> host: do you remember this? >> guest: i remember very
well. she wanted to meet people within the movement and there was a little party gathering at my place and she was there. i saw her many times. she was wonderful. like so many of the people from the entertainment world, they wanted to get to know people within the civil rights. it was individuals who became very supportive like henry belafonte and tony benet and at the end of the march from selma to montgomery, they wanted to identify the march on washington they want to say i stand with you.
i remember bobby dillon coming to the mississippi delta out on the field singing and playing his music, peter paul and mary, they are always there. those were the days of hope and optimism that people were prepared literally to put their bodies on the line, to use their sense of feeling and capacity to say yes we stand with you, yes we are with you. >> host: umar 73-years-old. any plans to retire from congress? >> guest: i am 73 but i don't feel like i am 73. i feel much younger.
and my own staff -- they are younger than i. but they cannot keep up with me. >> host: is that a point of pride? >> guest: when we had a parade in atlanta i don't usually ride in a car. there would be hundreds of thousands of people and i would literally run to the streets of ballan tara shaking hands with people. >> host: the night after you won your e elections comer second, 19861 of your staffers are arranged for a limo to take you to a victory party. what happened? >> guest: i said no we are going to block. i've always wanted to walk up the street in atlanta and we literally get out and we walk. that is lillian walking with me.
just a wonderful evening to be able to block -- there's nothing like a victory walk. >> host: thanks for holding more on a author and congressman john lewis. >> caller: representative lewis i want to offer my assessment of the racial situation. i've been analyzing this for about half a century. i want for comment. i believe that people assessed the situation properly i believe that there is obviously white racism and black racialism but i also believe that white and black racialism speak to no one
has the guts to talk about it. the only people that talk about it are canadians. i want your opinion and i also want to add that the emmet hill ks if you analyze it and are honest about that is a sexual crime because all they did is whistle at a white woman will make a comment and look at the price he paid all because of whistling. that is a psychotic and pathological and people don't even talk about in terms of the motive. so, i would like your assessment on the situation. but ultimately above that, what you tend to agree that there is an aspect to racialism that people in poach? >> guest: it is my hope and it is my belief that somehow and in some way we should never put
anyone down or had someone or castigate someone because of their race or color or because of their gender. we should look up on each other as being our fellow human being, our fellow brother and fellow sister that we are all members of the human race and that hate is too heavy of a burden to bear as martin luther king jr. would say and his father would say paid is too heavy of a burden to bear. >> host: how old were you when emmet hill's murder happened? >> guest: he was murdered august 28, 1955. i was 15-years-old.
i had been working in the field when i heard it and it shocked me because i had cousins about the same age living in buffalo and new york. i kept thinking it could be one of them. >> host: did it scare your family or neighbors? >> guest: i would hear them say that you must be careful what you say and of what you do. but my family at the time a lot of things they just didn't talk about. but every so often i would hear things like the night riders may be coming.
and they didn't mention the klan but years later i still say that the night riders were the klan. i never knew of the clan coming to try or alabama but i would hear it in montgomery or birmingham. >> host: do you remember the first time you met a white person? >> guest: yes. i do. i do. we had people come by from time to time who would be selling a product or selling something. it could be an old broken-down bus.
he would be selling things like maybe sugar or flour, may be flavored or something. and sometimes my mother would want to trade a chicken, which i didn't light coming trade a chicken for some flour for cooking oil or something to read >> host: but that was your first interaction was the rolling store man and here is a picture right here. do you remember the first time that you realized that people were treated differently than white people in this country? >> guest: when we would visit -- when i would visit with my parents and my cousins and a little town of troy and go to
the theater to see a movie on a saturday afternoon, they had to run up in the back of me and i saw the signs in the corner of the store at waterfront in. it would be a shiny fountain marked white and then there would be a spigot in the corner marked colored. or going to the store and seeing the sign that says white men, colored men. white women, colored women. i saw that as a child. >> host: did you ask your parents about it? >> guest: i've asked my mother and father, i would ask my grandparents, i would ask my uncles why this, why that?
sometimes they would say that is grown folk business. and sometimes just that's the way it is. don't get in the way. don't get in trouble. and that's why i tell people today rosa parks, dr. king inspired me to get in the way, to get an good trouble, unnecessary trouble. i didn't like those signs. so, i wanted to do whatever i could to bring down the signs >> caller: congressman lewis, it is honor to speak with you. it is my deepest tradition that we need economic justice and a programmatic trust to lift blacks out of poverty to a marshall plan on world war ii. contrary to what many people say, we have to target blacks in
particular who are economically so downtrodden due to the legacy of slavery. so, my question is what can be done to target the eradication because symbolism. >> host: second time we've gotten that call. >> guest: back in 1963 and '64 and '65, the late a. philip randolph made a proposal to the relevant -- president to congress to introduce something called the freedom budget. and i believe -- i'm not sure about the number but i believe he proposed something called a budget of $100 billion to free people come to liberate people from the legacy of slavery. and it's never considered by the
president or by members of congress. not just african-american but all people. >> host: rusty e-mails and since you're so close to bobby kennedy and martin luther king jr. please tell us your warmest memories from working with both men. >> guest: martin luther king jr. was a special human being. i admired him, i loved the man to the issue was my inspiration, he was my leader. he was like a big brother. to be at the march on washington 50 years ago.
i had a dream deeply rooted, the train to be keeping with the american dream. to see him transform the steps of the lincoln memorial into a modern-day pop, i could hear him now, i could see him now. i just wish more people would understand what he said. years later on april 4th 1967 he delivered a speech at the riverside church in new york city and i wish every student, every young person in america, every member of congress could read that speech or could listen to that speech on tape.
>> host: is that the speech where he came out against the war? >> guest: that's the speech he came out against the vietnam war and he spoke about the bombs we were dropping in vietnam, the aftermath of the result would affect america. and a year later he was assassinated. >> host: when is the last time you spoke with him? >> guest: i was in a meeting with him in march of 1968 in atlanta at a restaurant where one of the few places in the land for years where black people and white people could meet and eat together, sit down together for a long time. it was in the area of the atlanta university where you had
morehouse college and atlanta university and car can ever city where he would organize people, black people, white people come asian-american, native american, hispanics, coming together to go to washington for the poor people's campaign. he was a man that was so funny at times and so serious at other times. on one occasion i remember us being in alabama and we were passing by some little hole in the wall restaurant and he said we should stop here and get something to eat because if you get arrested and go to jail at least you will go to jail on a full stomach and he thought it was so funny. sometimes he would say to me do
you still preach? i said yes, dr. king. >> host: you called him dr. king? >> guest: i never called him to his face martin. i always said dr. king. i had so much respect and love for that man. he was unbelievable. and bobby kennedy, i admired him. i admired him, too. he inspired me. he was very fond of paraphrasing the words of george bernard. i dream of things that never were and said why not. he believed that. he was a dreamer, he was a
believer. and on one occasion, he said in the spring of 1963, he said i now understand that young people, the student. you all have taught me something. he understood, and he felt in his heart, he felt in his that what the struggle was all about. so when dr. king was assassinated and he came to the land for the funeral, it was one of the few white politicians in america that could walk the streets of the land for more than a mile to the second for dr. king in the heart of the african-american community. >> host: did you ever meet with or try to meet with james
earl way? >> guest: i never tried to meet with either one. i never tried. >> host: jackie in louisville kentucky. go ahead, please. >> caller: yes, it is an honor to meet you, mr. lewis. here in louisville -- >> host: you have to turn down the volume on your tv. >> host: here in louisville and in hopkinsville i have a son locked up and he's been locked up for six years now, didn't live in hopkinsville or anything and the judge whose name is andrew, he is the one that is
keeping my son locked up all because of the law that was quoted to him about being locked up and all the racism is still there and hopkins fell and there are other guys still there doing it the same way like the use to do it back in the 60's that they are doing it now in a sneaky way and it's still there. >> host: what is the charge? >> guest: they've got my son charged with 38 robberies' and he didn't know where he was going -- he didn't know the people to be a plus he had his son there with him and all of it is because of this judge. he isn't supposed to be on his case and the prosecutor is doing
everything, too. >> host: let's hear what the congressman has to say. >> guest: jackie, as a member of congress have not been a lawyer and not from louisville, i cannot give you any advice. i would suggest that you talk and speak to the local officials and community leaders in louisville and harkin's bill. >> host: a couple of calls have raised the issue of young african-americans in prison. michelle alexandre's book the new jim crow, the size about the black prison population much of it because of drugs. how do you feel about the legalization of drugs? >> guest: i tell you, we've got to find a way to break the cycle. we've got to end it.
the pipeline for so many of our young people and so many young african-americans were being sentenced for many years. we've got to stop it. the attorney general has said we are going to find a way in this administration to lessen some of these convictions. the prison system has become a real industry in many parts of the country. in most of these crimes they are non-violent. we've got to redirect people away from the prison system. >> host: carmen in washington, d.c.. >> caller: yes. good afternoon to you, host. i don't think anybody said good afternoon to you yet. >> host: thank you. >> caller: i appreciate this,
and this is indeed a billion times honor to speak to you, congressman. let me just say that all of this stuff is going on -- i called your office i guess about two weeks ago now and before this shut down. and i was talking about the health care in this country. and i was telling your office -- and i left my phone number but i know you're busy and they said he's in georgia. and i said i understand that, but we all have health issues in this country no matter what city or county or state we live and. and after hearing use the at the 50th anniversary on the march on washington i said i'm calling john lewis, that's all there is to it. and so, what i wanted to -- i was trying to explain to your office and i wanted to speak to
you so much -- i wanted to get in touch with you. i am a diabetic. i am a type to diabetic. and for 29 years, congressmen, the doctors couldn't do nothing about my diabetes. i am a very active person to a fine what to do -- >> host: i apologize for interrupting, ma'am. we are a little short on time if you could get to the point. >> caller: i just wanted to know -- i want to say i heels mai tais etds come i've cataracts in both eyes, i heal those now going on ten years and my kidneys. i didn't have to have any of that stuff done and i just wanted to talk with somebody to see if i could get in touch with somebody on capitol hill to help and i just thought about you after seeing you and i know your history. i just need somebody if i could call your office back tomorrow -- >> guest: why don't you call me tomorrow. i will be in the office.
just call the operator and they will connect you to the office and leave your number and i will call you back. >> host: do you get a lot of calls nationwide? >> guest: we get a lot of calls from all over the country. we'll get a lot of calls. and our staff -- we have a very large staff and we try to be responsive and we try to answer the e-mails. >> host: but at the same time you're elected by the people -- >> guest: elected by the people of georgia and there's about 750, 770,000 people. and it's very hard to keep up with everybody but we try to be responsive. >> host: congressman, do you feel that president obama has been vilified?
>> guest: i think if my mother were alive this is what she would say. she would say this president, barack obama has been called everything that a child of god. that's the way she would put. i think president obama is one of the most -- i've known a lot of president. i've met with every president. i've been in the company. i had a one-on-one for the most part with every president since president kennedy. president ronald reagan on one occasion invited me to come to the white house and i didn't understand why he wanted me. he was signing some piece of legislation and invited me to come and he made it a point of saying as a young man here today who was here so many years ago he was signing a housing bill.
and i saw someone on the staff and i had a wonderful chat with him. >> host: that was your first term. >> guest: i only served to terms with president reagan. and i remember president ford. the only president i didn't meet with the white house was president nixon. >> host: why not? >> guest: he never invited me. president nixon, i saw him when he was out at the airport at washington and he said to me your jerry lewis and i said no mr. president i'm john lewis. jerry lewis is from california. i'm from georgia. and so we chatted for a while at the airport. >> we are going to leave the last few minutes of this program now one book tv. our regular weekend programming. you can watch any of our book tv programs online at c-span.org.
we are leaving because in just a few moments of the senate will be gaveling in today. they are expected to vote within the hour on whether to limit the the date and move forward with the debt ceiling bill introduced by the senate majority leader harry reid earlier this week. this is a test vote and that measure would increase the debt limit until december 2014. currently, the u.s. is set to reach its debt limit five days from now on october 17th unless congress acts and if cloture is invoked a vote on the final passage of the bill would come sometime next week. live coverage now on c-span2. give our senators this day the special gifts of wisdom and understanding, patience and strength, motivating them to