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tv   Authors Eddie Glaude Jon Meacham  CSPAN  April 22, 2022 1:13am-1:59am EDT

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>> i will just take control or i will not be able to. [laughter] you may remember in 1962 john kennedy held a very successful state visit to france and mrs. kennedy was enormously popular at the closing dinner jfk said i used to be the president of the united states now i am simply the man who accompanied jacqueline kennedy to paris. i'm the man who accompanied eddie to new orleans. [applause] and this is like baghdad. pictures everywhere.
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so i will start with a serious question. you wrote a marvelous book about baldwin and what he meant in real-time and what he can mean to us. give us your origin story. when did he become so vital? >> first of all thank you for the question. >> he is a cigar manually good thing about going to morehouse. [laughter] so my first encounter was in a graduate school and went high school on the coast of
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mississippi but at morehouse i was avoiding him but in graduate school and with those papers on ralph ellison and did not want to deal with baldwin because they were flesh because he was telling the truth cited on the serious encounter and tell i started to teach him. so then in brunswick mean and then suddenly began to open it. >> you have the honor.
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>> of appearing with you. >> . >> he is in his studio at home period had the honor of talking with john lewis so talk about that experience. >> i first met john lewis during the last election in 1982 with the georgia senate runoff in georgia was having it and on election night if you are a politician you want to give the impression you are off doing important things we were really doing is eating
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the same cheese cubes just in a different room and at the hometown newspaper walk into the ballroom and there was john robert lewis just standing there. among the people a senior congressman already the civil-rights monument that he began the unfolding conversation that did not stop until one week before he died on july 17 of 2020. and one of the things they had to fight in that relationship was treating john lewis as the
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black guys somebody like me would like sometime i call it theov easy listening version. because even in the beginning and king stansbury's tennessee stokely carmichael and john lewis went to battle over different approaches and john was seen as somebody doctor king and one of the leaders with stokely carmichael. and every time president johnson took the suits to the cleaners.
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but it's through the southern church the duty of the christian is not to succeed him the most cheerful guy he was on the bridge on the freedom ride in nashville that theological seminary the fancy kids went to morehouse and there were 100 students on the
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cumberland river and just an incredible story. and one of the most fascinating things is that he. became a walking monument. and to take congressional delegations back every year. and is the only public figure i've ever known and with that
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self reverential thing you could imagine so standing on the tightest bridge but it really wasn't about him. and that is the charisma and the purest sense and a gift from the gods one definition of charm and that's what john did. >> and then that complexity is
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selma. and then they say. >> and then says nobody willn turn us around but then there's also violence and then typically we tell the story of selma and uncomplicated wayso and then it finds out the complexity of the moment and then to identify with the young folks. >> it has flattened out and we
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think of tulane as the vanderbilt so thank you for having me. >> sorry mr. princeton. >> it your passport stamped on the way down so the way the story is told watching this on pbs you have lewis coming across the bridge at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon plenty sunday march 7, 1965 john is wearing his overcoat and his backpack how - - an apple and orange and it just brush and then he says may
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have a word there is no words to be had and then they hit the asphalt the troopers come in and the teargas everything she was throwing up because of the teargas but it was the dust but then abc plays the first broadcast so frank reynolds breaks and that night. the first to be broken into since dallas and then march is 65 and then it's lbj given the great speech the life of the
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nation so it was last weekend selma alabama. and then it signed and everything is fine. right. [laughter] >> someone of thens ways that i teach this is johnson speech plenty sunday but that was a lot but also lyndon johnson asserted control over the entire situation forces him to go to johnson one of the most
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important moments of modern american history and then to summon george wallace so the person would sink he leans over george wallace but then he says don't ship me this is not about 1968 or 88 but it's about history. when you die if you want a stony grave that says george wallace are a beautiful monument? and that is the mental
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question. do you want to hate or do you want to build? in the extent to which it is measured and celebrated so talk about that. >> one of the things i insist on in our conversation whether or not it will hate or build if you try to decide what type of human being he will be.
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and that fundamentally t despises them so whether a lot we allow hatred seven we think about this moment and use a symbol of the black panther so we think of the black panther paparty but that first image comes from alabama. and there's no more freedom now.
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so this ongoing battle of how do we respond between the you hate to know you build? how will we raise our babies are doing the interim as a make those decisions? and how long must we wait for progress? and we must lose another george floyd. and lose our own babies. and is a story to be told from the vantage point and in the
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midst of the high political drama.t jimmy baldwin is committed to the idea of the new jerusalem. and then you pull over on the side of the highway. >> i knew he would bring a flood. >> so he is always committed to the idea of the new jerusalem but in order for that to happen we have to grow up and who we are as a nation. >> so i'm not asking anybody
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to wait and this is a description of human nature and the perennial struggle between light and dark and then in the fullness of the nation itself because of democracy and those dispositions have just enough force and focus to create the rule of law. that is one slight management i would propose. >> and somebody asks because
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there was a citizen and someone asks me you have the decision back in the motel and people ask what got into these kids? america. america is what got into these kids. so what was the baldwin definition of america in that sense? >> maddening. >> badness one —- madness. >> like a renaissance. >> in their refusal to live the truth we believe we are the shining city on the hill
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in an adjective of john winthrop's description. >> is a very important point. i know this is important. [laughter] and we have discussions about president reagan. they are called spats if we werere married. [laughter] >> can you do that in the wheezy in a quick. >> probably not. [laughter] reagan's phrase shining city on the hill is adding the exit to to the sermon on the mount. reagan did that so well i've actually heard ministers say
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as jesus said the shining city on my own. i didn't know president reagan but i did know mrs. reagan a little bit. [laughter] if ronnie married nancy the first time he would have won an academy award. [laughter] s but i heard i would he and she wouldn't and i would say i just heard a minister say that president reagan improved on jesus. she said yes that's the kind of thing that ronnie did a lot. [laughter] may someday we all the loved das nancy davis loved reagan. [laughter] >> i don't believe that. >> is part of the shining city on the hill and the redeemer
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nation and it keeps us from confronting who we actuallyha are. so that binds us to the truth. and withh a streetcar named desire and then to evade what is looking back in the mirror it is the matter is that calls for. >> so my sense it is a good thing and then seeking justice
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that aspirational element that there is a gap. >> it out read the sentence in that way that motivation is that aspirational claim and baldwin is constantly saying at howard with many young activists there were these various clicks in the fifth national groups and then you have the dc folks.
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stokely carmichael. that people don't remember this. and so they are in this apartment building they got the link scotch so they go until the sun comes up and baldwin season their eyes the exhaustion young people who believed wholeheartedly and nonviolent protest is when the police attacked doctor king.
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and then american made the zhou people that is how they act courageously and want to ask you a question be with theju biography of president bush you just citeded nancy reagan which i don't believe. [laughter] >> why would i make up the nancy reagan story? [laughter] >> because you are you. [laughter] >> you should hear my julia grant story.
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>> that's a journey from george herbert walker bush. to write about john lewis and publish that after he goes on to glory what do you see? i see. a shift. >> . >> and i slightly reorder the question? >> now.rt >> so here is the commonality. these are the only two living
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people i've ever written about and they didn't fall in love with either one and it's hard to imagine two people beginning their lives in a more different place so them born on june 121924 grows up in greenwich country day school to join the united states navy shutdown saturday september 2nd and then losing two roommates spending the rest of his life
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every day asking why was i spared and not them? a man of immense empathy, ambition those two things were in constant conflict ultimately he resolved them in his mind and more what he did when he had it we can argue all you want about that but that's how he saw it john lewis the great-grandson of the enslaved men son of a sharecropper he is to say that chickens listen more carefully than those in congress ever did. and never saw a white person
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until he was 14. and then moved by the gospel very interested in how you apply the sermon on the mount did not like the figure from montgomery who gave over so radically different. so my view that they both represent parts of the american experience that are worth emulating george each of
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you bush was the last eisenhower republican like the last dinosaur. that is dead. that party is imperfect but one way to think about american politics from the new deal until now it is figurative conversation between fdr and reagan on the relative projection of force. and the relative role and they have essentially governed and sometimes there is a george w. bush sometimes there is a land
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and johnson i have run this by bush and clinton and president t obama they all agree that that was the dialectic. and the resulting many people want which is why it fell apart. i don't see that as a shift but what i do see is four years ago exactly i believe that trump m was the fullest manifestation of our darkest impulses that like joe mccarthy but it n would burn out not that it would go away but
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the forces would have been flow and what january 6 dead and it took me a long time to get there but there's something more permanent about this. but i did not foresee that unless you think this is a miracle therapy but i disagree with people say something terrible that happened at this is who we are. of course of the then? do you literally know no americans? there wasn't a once upon a time in american history and there won't be a happily ever after that's why it matters so
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much so there is a story about politics and intellectual ambient philosophical life. in the importance of ideas and it is exodus with an! have you ever had that comparison? >> now. that's what i'm here for. [laughter] >> my work is done. >> it is the exodus narrative how it shapes the black
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experience. i am less optimistic than i was but maybe because i want sto be forgiven for all the stupid things that i do. maybe i just love too much. [laughter] >> and part of what it means for me is to say to you in some ways glad you finally see it and so what i mean we all grew up in the south. we just have to cross the railroad tracks. all we have to do is look at our lives. [applause] and it always has been.
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those have to endure it some of us have lost and we watched for generations a country walk past the dead so in this revelation happens it's like a wonderful thing we want to be patted on the back. and in this moment of crisis this sets the stage for the possibility for us to be different. does that make sense. >> of course now that we're in full y therapy mode but this is
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an important point. and then he was attacking me in his book. >> by the way i was tiptoeing my criticism of ronald reagan it is that if you're going to criticize reagan go after him. >> you had a parenthetical saying he might be a racist. i said you might want to unpack that. [laughter] >> so one of the things that he dings me for and does it gently and eloquently that somehowe or another that my view of history is
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self-congratulatory for the country. i disagree because of the power of narrative. if you don't tell the story that moves people to replicate something that was good then what was the point and you are unilaterally disarming. >> my response is what we stchoose to leave out of our stories reveal all too often from justice. [applause] i got applause. you did not. [laughter] >> i know. i forgot that they were here. i was about to curse. >> okay but you have to tell the story.
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>> that's why the blues tell a different kind of story. when you cost those railroad tracks. >> i yield to you. >> when you cross the railroad tracks at the midnight hour. >> now he's doing the preacher thing now you feel the voice. >> there is a story that had not been told a question of what is thought of as the major plot line quick. >> here is a direct question. >> far more direct but is the world better off or worse off before my john lewis book? >> is that a celebration?
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>> i know what you struggled with. >> what is better off is the revelation in the journey that we all make because when we end up there as long as you went up there in the point that i am making is to say okay. now you see. let's build a new america. because i am a mississippi boy we are at the heart of it if only we would confront who we
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actually are. >> questions? [applause] you can only ask one. g who wants to ask the question? no pressure. >> we told people we would blow through the question-and-answer period. >> . >> one of the things that you mentioned is how exhausted james baldwin was an for many
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of us growing up in a civil-rights era that we are exhausted. so i try to avoid anticipating that we can actually find an answer and one of the reasons why i wrote that as i was suffering from a debilitating despair. here we were we had commander ferguson all the jean people risking their lives and ending up dead committing suicide. and the country responded to their efforts with the election of donald trump and in the country responded to the murder of richard nixon on —- but then having to push the
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dam boulder up the hill again and again and again baldwin tried to commit suicide at least three times. and then he is coming off one of those attempts trying to make sense of this moment because he is trying to tell a story to offer resources for us to imagine. so the way that i came out of this it's not the end but the actual pushing it is a beautiful struggle itself. w and to see the precondition for the struggle but if not we will not make it. [applause]
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>> will he be signing the large posters around the city? [applause] tonight we are celebre
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master of gonzo journalism hunter s thompson at the launch of a new >> tonight we are celebrating hunter thompson at the launch of a new book entitled savage journey and published by friends at university of california press focusing on influences and development in


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