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tv   Congressional Black Caucus 50th Anniversary  CSPAN  August 22, 2021 5:32pm-6:33pm EDT

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former member of congress, most notably he is the chair and president of the national archives foundation. welcoming remarks will introduce our moderator please welcome governor jim blanchard. >> thank you patrick. and i welcome of you one and all. for the celebration of the annual black caucus. i am chair of the national archives foundation more importantly for my point of
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view i serve as a member of congress many years ago with 12 of the 13 original members it was quite an outstanding group. very diverse group from shirley chisholm who is first woman a distinguished member from new york and her own right was a silver medal winner from the 46 olympics. a close second to jesse owens. i might also add held the world record for a number of years before that. he went on to be a political science teacher and distinguished member of congress. civil rights he helped us with the chrysler rescue all the way back then. then was my friend who is the leader of the civil rights
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chair of the judiciary committee. member of the original 13 or chairs of committees that led with distinction. the original founders was charles of michigan. charles diggs junior was a mentor to me. he helped form an earlier group of black caucus members before the formalization of the black caucus in 1971. charles diggs was a leader and d.c. hall, also a leader in anti- apartheid in south africa. chair of the african subcommittee and chair of the district of columbia you will hear all about them i'm happy to add as my vice chair secretary rodney slater.
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rodney slater from arkansas was not only a secretary of transportation but an administrator. for many years i've been privileged to work with him he was a special advisor to president bill clinton. he was previously also an assistant attorney general and arkansas. he's one of the co-owners i might add washington nationals baseball team. so glad to have a serving in the archives to be a moderator and guest host. i turn it over to you secretary slater and thanks. thank you governor, thank you, mr. chairman pure wonderful leadership of the national archives foundation. thank you for your distinguished service over the years. especially thank you for
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kicking off our program and sharing with us some of your personal experiences with some of the early members of the congressional black caucus. we are delighted today to hear from the majority whip we will hear from in just a moment. we will have a series of question and answers and really enjoy the benefit of his rich background and history. not only as a history professor but as a distinguished member of congress and a leader of the congressional black congress as well. we also very much appreciate the clip that we are going to hear from the chair of the congressional black caucus chairwoman joyce beatty. we very much appreciate her participation in the program
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as well. >> good afternoon. i am congresswoman chair of the congressional black caucus and representative for iowa's third congressional district. on behalf of the 57 members of the congressional black caucus i would like to begin by congratulate the national archives foundation on your virtual programming, recording history into thank you for highlighting the congressional black caucus as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. i am pleased to join my colleague and leader the majority whip and third ranking democrat in the united states house of representatives congressman james clyburn. i also want to extend a warm thank you to the esteemed event participants governor james and blanchard my friend former u.s. secretary of transportation rodney slater. in 197113 black members of
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congress, 12 men and one phenomenal woman founded what would become one of those consequential legislative bodies in our nations history. known as the congressional black caucus the conscience of the conflicts with the congressional black caucus is now the largest legislative caucus in congress. we are critical to the passage of any legislation and the house. we use that power to ensure the interests of black people in our community are strongly represented. the congressional black caucus continues to be on the front line just as 50 years ago when then president nixon refused to meet with them, they went public and boycotted the 1971 state of the union address. and still today we are fighting for equality of
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results for racial justice, voting rights, a comprehensive justice and policing child tax credit, equality, housing, education, jobs and financial for our community. the congressional black congress wrote and championed the passage of the george floyd justice and policing in the house. we continue to advocate for its passage in the senate. the congressional black caucus works hand-in-hand with the biden-harris administration to support legislation aimed at closing the racial wealth gap. we believe in building back better bison morning small businesses and investing in the infrastructure and jobs and opportunities for black people. we are the leading voice behind voting rights. hr for the john r lewis civil rights leader.
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for the passage the american rescue. in the cdc is a rich history in spearheading, passing legislation and fighting for diversity, equity and inclusion. preparation, working the violence in making martin luther king day and juneteenth national holiday. currently the congressional black caucus counts among its membership and legacy six committee chairs more than 25 chairs 26 and black women the 4h president of the united states and the current vice president and first black woman to serve and as well as numerous cabinet members, senior administration officials, advisers to the
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president and agency haste. so let us not forget we are the stories of hope, perseverance and this is our message, our power the congressional black caucus. >> the majority whip is someone we know very, very well. he has been a member of congress since 1993. he represents the sixth congressional district in south carolina. he is a distinguished author and just a renowned public servant. the majority whip clyburn we are so very, very pleased you are with us today. you have heard some of the opening comments from governor blanchard about his experiences as a member of congress with many of the early members of the congressional black caucus. we know it was an organization
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founded in 1971. we are now honored to recognize its 50th anniversary. before we talk about some of the current activities of the congressional black caucus go back a little bit more and talk a little bit when it was just 13 they were getting started. and needed to form a group to give themselves support frankly one to another. and then to do battle with an environment that was somewhat different than it is now. still quite challenging. what are some of your memories as you reflect on how the organization got started? why it was necessary to be such an organization. an frankly does that need still exist? >> thank you very, very much for having me.
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and to be here with you all. remember some congress and michigan. thanks to you for your tremendous service. down and arkansas. what you have become, one of my favorite people, thank you so much. the 1968 champion richard nixon running for jane finch of china of states. as you recall richard nixon is called a southern strategy. that was a code word, i think we all know of course that is
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the -- he won the election. and of course members of congress who look like me were concerned as to exactly where he would be taken the country. as members of congress they saw it to see whether or not there were things they could talk about. in order to chart the way forward. been in pursuit of perfection for a long time. it's the preamble to the constitution. as to form a more perfect union the recognition the unit is not perfect. we know what happened in chicago in 1964.
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and the person who one he saw an audience were refused. it's fine to not go there individual ways. to chart and get president of the united states to respond to people of color. now you say times are different now, yes. they are different. but the more things change the more they stay the same. today of what we saw back then
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, it's another four years of presidency which is what we were doing last year. clearly as you noted we've come a long way from even the number of members. thirteen then and now 57, a record. even when they were received the word no firm president nixon i think it's important to touch on that a little bit more. they did not just step back and go away. not only did they organize but i think he had a special event where he was speaking where they may have had a little something to say as well. >> it's called the state of the union. that's one of the reasons i
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didn't want to get too bogged down. the state of union address is gotten everybody's attention. we saw something similar happen. three or four years ago when members of the congressional black caucus boycott the state of the union. it was not a total boycott. some of us in leadership in order to ensure they are not going to take it. they were going to respond the best they could. and of course as with the black caucus at the time which is now a special assistant to the president of the united states. when he had his meeting i was
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in the room with him then. i can tell you what would be avail for the photo op. it got to be much more than that thanks innovative leadership of sedrick. and all of those part of the original group and trying to get the attention of richard nixon. now we know from history why they needed to be doing what they were doing.
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if more people had listened to them he would not of been reelected in 1972. make sure they do not get a reelection. >> let's maybe talk about that. when you mentioned 68 with doctor king or robert kennedy as you know. shook us to the core when you talk about the voices of freedom and democracy and efforts to silence those dreams were able to be sustained by others.
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moving from 13 to 57 how does that change things about the power of the congressional black caucus. you mentioned richmond now on the white house staff. congresswoman former congresswoman marcia fudge now, that is a powerful testimony about the enduring power of the carcass. let us not forget vice president kamala harris is a notice now is the vice president. the members themselves in working with this administration, how do you see the significance of this moment? what are some of the things we might look forward to? >> a lot of people may not see it this way.
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but barack obama was a member of the congressional black caucus. he and i used to sit next to each other at meetings. the senate sees themselves a little bit different from the house. most of us in the house we don't get to every meeting. [inaudible] go on. >> they participated sincerely believe they learn a lot in those meetings. if you are from illinois sitting down in that meeting listing from mississippi. listening to those members, you will get a much better
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feel for what it is you are up against. i know, has told me more than once how much is learned from being from california. being in the congressional black caucus is good preparation. it has played a much than people think. you go from 13 to 57, what does that mean? that means we have people in the caucus now hundred miles out from that manual in kansas city at the truman foundation comes from a congressional district that's not even close to being an african-american
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district. we've got several members of the congressional black caucus that represent districts that are less than 5% of african-american. that means not just a black you get a diversity of philosophy and diversity. you get diversity far beyond beyond what they think. it's what demographics really mean. it is a lot of people put it on race and gender. but it is a much bigger issue now. you got 57 members. it means that you have to broaden and be much more encompassing what your agenda is all about. that is why you see such hard
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work being done who talks about the power the investor is. and to emphasize power. >> i don't know most people would really know that. i think there is the assumption by most onlookers to believe the caucus members represent predominately black areas. whether they be rural or suburban. your point in that regard very, very significant i believe. i am so pleased you mentioned former president barack obama. i am sure as you noted he picked up insights and information that was helpful to him after becoming president putting forth division for an affordable care act. it is great to salute the
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supreme court last week allowing us to keep in place this very, very important lifeline for so many. especially coming through this coveted. i know you are champion of the affordable care act. you work closely with the speaker and the president in that regard. anything else you like to share in that regard? >> absolutely. i'm glad you mentioned the affordable care act. it is the best thing happened of getting various points of view. barack obama has run on doing something that has not been done in over 100 years. it was theater reservoir chet roosevelt not franklin,
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theodore roosevelt who introduced the access to healthcare over 100 years before barack obama he ran on that. he sent out to put it into law and was advised by a lot of people, don't go there. let's save that for later. but nancy pelosi because of the input she was getting from caucus members she advised him yes you've got to go there. she knew she was on solid ground because members of the congressional black caucus were sitting there every day. healthcare as i said on the floor of the house has eight
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civil rights act of the 21st century. we were outlawing discrimination based on that. people were discriminated against once they got sick. and we saw that as being something we needed to tackle. we think we lost. i would agree. we lost the house because of passing the affordable care act. however we ran on it eight years later. whatever the time was and one. >> exactly. because people finally decide what barack obama envisioned, he saw what they had. they did not know and we did not do a good job of telling
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exactly what they had. went through four or five parts of the affordable care act people did not know they had, when i talk about we had an affordable care act that insurance companies have to return 80% of the premiums in the form of benefits. if they did not do that when the artist came they would refund the excess money to them. a lot of people got charge of the insurance companies thought it was the benevolence of the insurance company. you get your money back if you have not the don't reward you with benefits. i've got to get there other aspects of it. people finally found out. they found out and they put us back in charge. >> yes i would say i noticed
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you said obamacare. i am sure you saw experiences where people would be interviewed and the interviewer would say what you think about obamacare? i don't like that. what about the affordable care act? oh, i love that. i did not say arkansas. [laughter] >> but i am saying arkansas did that. kentucky they just put another name on it. nay would love it. that is a good point. >> will look let me ask this. there is another label that has been given to congressional black caucus as the conscious of the congress. tell me a little bit about how you think about that
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phraseology, that label if you will. and maybe some of the particular values that come to mind when you are really being the conscience of the congress and promoting matters pertaining to civil rights, housing, healthcare or whatever. just that title i think is very, very important. >> if you think about the word conscious and what reflects that, i think one of the things at least what i think about the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands one nation under god, indivisible with liberty, and justice for all. that is a conscious statement. it's what the countries all about.
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and the congressional black caucus has committed itself to the fulfillment of that conscious statement. so will refer ourselves as a conscious country you're saying we are trying to keep the country in close touch with this vision statement. liberty and justice for all. in fact i picked that up and use as my mantra for everything i do in this country's greatness accessible and affordable for all. that is a conscious statement of mine. so that is what it means to me and that congress we are looking at the vision. a lot of people pledge really did not become official until the 1940s. i remember it was in 1950s
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when you put the words in. i remember it when it happened. i had to repeat the pledge many times you had to remember to put in god. that is a conscious statement for all of us. so we in the caucus, we work every day to try to get up and deliver, especially the last phrase, liberty and justice for all. >> for all. congressman, i think i would be remiss if i did not acknowledge again how you use your knowledge of the history and a history professor to really champion all of the
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things that make us the nation we are. and the nation we aspire to be. even your words earlier it the more perfect union. this is a quest, it is a journey we are on. the ability to amend. you have mentioned tocqueville many, many times and how he talked about that. by the way, make these comments and use the phrases i don't just hear you uttering the words. i see you personifying i think the spirit that the words represent. to me that is very, very powerful. it goes to the issue of the conscience, reminding us every day that we need to be better. we need to be guided by the
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better nature of our will. twelve cite that for you because that is what i see when i hear you when and when i 12. >> let tocqueville you mentioned, take it back to the 1830s, once again 1830s. he came hear from france to study our system. and while he was here he said he saw certain magic about this country. he set out to try to find out what that was all about. he went all around. churches and synagogues, temples and mosques trying to figure out this country was all about. now there are two things that often get credited in one is this. i cannot find submitted this.
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a lot of people including bill clinton a lot of people did. the tocqueville said that america is great because it's people are good. and the people of america ever cease to be good, america will cease to be great. that is a true statement. i really believe that. i do not know because historians really argue if tocqueville ever said that. i don't know if he did or not. i'll play what i know he did say in it is written in the two-volume work called democracy in america. he wrote this, america is not great, it is a more enlightened than any other nation. but rather because it's always been able to repair its faults. that was written in 1830s. and guess what, we did not get rid of slavery until 1863.
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in 1865 in texas we just learned. [laughter] almost 18 -- 20 years later. that was the repair fault. the supreme court in 1954 was brown versus board of education. and so congress in 1964, and 1965 with the voting rights act and the civil rights act of 1968 the fair housing law covid 1972 putting all these things into the public sector. these were done to repair folks living out their greatness the tocqueville saw and us. i try to say to people all the time and that is what the commercial black caucus is about. it's trying to make sure we live out the true meaning and all of those things. one of the things i've been
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trying to do all of us have the responsibility to mold us into one nation under god, indivisible. and one of those things is for us to have one national anthem. that is why i have been proposing of late that we make lift every voice and sing our national him for two reasons. the song is not an anthem, it is a him. it should not be called the negro national anthem, it is a him, let's make it the national him. that is what i propose legislation to do that. that would be our contribution one of our contributions and making it one nation under
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god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. >> yes, thank you sir. we mention juneteenth. i think it would be appropriate to acknowledge the action of the congress just last week and approving and then president biden signing along with the vice president who signed a copy as well. but signing the measure into law from your vantage point the significance of juneteenth and maybe how that applies to another very important holiday we are about to celebrate, the fourth of july. your thinking about the two of them and how they connect who were again move us toward the more perfect union. >> a lot of thing about juneteenth, as i have said i
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talked about 1865, was born 1863 the emancipation proclamation comes through the word does not get to texas for whatever reason. and it's two years later the failure to communicate every time i talk about juneteenth i talked about the failure to communicate. i had a written text of what i was going to read on the floor. but i got there three or four minutes earlier and i listen to some of the debate coming from the other side. there is debate with the words independence ought to be in it. they didn't like that they said they were all for the bill they did not want us using that word. i said to them why not communicate with us that is the problem you have the
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videos been floating around out here, it has been out there for years. john gorman along with ed nobody ever communicated we had a problem with the word independence. but it goes back to what is going on today, communication is how we learn to live with each other. when you communicate to me what your feelings are that i can respond to those freedoms. that's how i stayed married to the same woman for 58 years, communicate let them know your feelings are let me share with my feelings are. let's sit down and talk through this. that is what we have got to learn to do. that is what led to juneteenth. the failure to communicate. now when i was speaker i reference the fact we were all in a building that was built
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by slaves. also reference the fact we all set under the statue of the lady of liberty. the fact lady liberty that statute was out there on the grounds they could not get on top of the building. the guy a slave brought up to washington from charleston south carolina. from a statute or top of the building. she is denied the ability to read or write. show them how to get that statue up there. now tell me what is wrong with teaching young girls and boys those stories? yes the capitals built by
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slaves but there are 57 americans on the house sides and i mean 57 congressional black caucus members. there are three members of congress that are not members of the caucus. two in the house and one in the senate. that is 68 people of color, descendents of slave. now serving in the house and senate. when that building was built they did it was slave labor. we ought to teach people is something wrong with knowing that. there's a lot to be learned from them. she celebrate how far america has come. let me ask, mr. whip we are running a little tight on time. there are a few things i really want to get in. there's a number of great
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americans who have chaired the black caucus. we have talked about several unthinking about congressman john lewis, shirley chisholm, charlie wrangle, congressman john and others. and clearly they were in the arena fighting the battle. you mentioned teddy roosevelt a few minutes ago. he always talked about being in the arena. sweat with blood and sweat him engage in how they belong to the person in the arena. there are battles being today in the voting rights act as we think about the roles of the congressional black caucus and
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taking on the battles what can you say to the citizens of our responsibility to do more as citizens then to vote. that is important. that requires so much more. what are your thoughts in that regard to how the citizens of america could be helpful to the caucuses and doing its work. >> i'm so glad years later his support staff, members of congress we lost the house. we lost it.
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i think 56 votes i believe we lost. the next thing he knew he could not get his program through. so we have to do more than votes. we have to get engaged in the process. we have to keep people informed about what it is taking place in these communities all around the country. members of congress come home, i do every weekend. we get elected every two years after the house every six years if you're in the senate. but everybody has got to be involved in the process. bringing your expertise to the attention of those of us who serve. everybody has got a role to play. i was talking earlier to bob
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moses and a few people. talk about the time i end up staying in jail for three days and three nights because the person who was supposed to be out there raising the bail monty got locked up with us. [laughter] oh my. >> went rose got confused we stayed in jail too long. i come to you and share with you what it is but i know and why we think we can get things done we had that kind of communication we can solve our problems.
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seems to be in the country soundbites ruling the world. to sit down and think on things. that makes the headline tomorrow morning we make some headway by tomorrow evening. >> thank you mr. webb. when you make the comment about the person getting locked up with you i am reminded ambassador young eight former member of the congressional black caucus before going on to become the head of the un ambassador during the carter administration he used to say during the years he was working with doctor king part of his job was to stay out of jail so he could help raise the money for those who were in jail. so it is a point well taken.
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let's ask about this message of the caucus that is being promoted now. our power our message. i think you're getting to some of that. there's members of the caucus any number of full committees, subcommittees, our message seems to be a way of trying to hone all of those responsibilities to be most effective. your thoughts on that particular question? >> think about it. for the first time in the history of the country we have davis scott down in georgia that is a huge deal. for the first time in the history of the country. an african-american up there in new york with the foreign affairs committee. that is huger.
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not to mention barbara scott, not to mention chair of financial services, my classmate chair in space and technology. bennett thompson, head of homeland security. that is six, right? >> right. >> will get to the subcommittees were going to get her around 30 subcommittees. that is where the power is. but the message has to be coordinated. that is where she coined this new motto of ours, our power our business. we have to message the power. there's no need to sit there
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just to be there. people have to know you were there and people have to know they can come to you and be successful. we cannot be successful alone. i am not sure but i am committed i get on the phone with them, is on the phone david scott today. and the secretary of agriculture, looking at we can do to coordinate what's going on with the black farmers and how we can navigate through these lawsuits with people who are trying to deny any of the divided administration, we get to the discrimination. so we don't care about that discrimination. we are not doing anything about it. but that is not the way you deal with a more perfect union.
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for every weak link that exists in the chain. if you know where the weak links are using by the authority given by the voters that is the voters in our congressional district as well as the voters and are cause. they made them chairs of these committees. and let's communicate with one another we can understand one another as well as understand the constituents that we are all about serving. >> thank you. congressman clyburn let me add one last question.
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it is a question that is personal to you. i thought about it for minutes ago when you mentioned how long you had been married and you referenced emily. i know in one of the most significant moments during the last election when many were doubting what the outcome might be the current president was not looking too strong. if we are telling it like it is. he was not like he wasn't on message. a message she was able to sustain throughout the election which is really quite significant. but he just needed a voice. he needed a special kind of
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help. you were in a position to offer it. would you say a little bit about how you thought about your role in that regard? how you came to express your support in the way you came to express it? >> i'm glad you mentioned in the way i express it. a lot of people ask me about that. i always knew i was going to vote for joe biden, no question about that. by the way the 24th of june will be 60 years for us. that is my anniversary date. she said to me the night of my fish fry which was june of
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2019, the fish fry it was such a huge success. we had over 7000 people there. joe biden and 19 other people running for president, they were all there. and that night after the fish fry, emily did not come she was with diabetes, so i said to her when i got home, this is the biggest fish fright we've ever had. we've got the biggest number of presidential candidates that we have ever had to choose from. in some of them were very good friends of ours. and she said to me, i don't care how many people are running, i don't care how many are close friends of ours. if we want to win so we better find a way to nominate joe biden. she said that to me. in that state on my mind.
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fast-forward to the weekend before down in charleston event. that would have been the weekend before the south carolina presidential primary. iran into another lady who i did not know. who beckoned me over to her at a funeral service. there i was attending the funeral for mike longtime accountant. this lady beckoning me over. so i went over. she asked me too lean and down i to ask you a question. if you don't want to answer just whispered in my ear. she asked me, who are you voting for in this primary?
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and i kneel down and whispered to her, i'm going to vote for joe biden. she snapped her head back and had this look on her face and said to me, i needed to hear that in this community needs to hear from you. that is when i made up my mind how i was going to do it. by this time emily was no longer with us. she had passed away the previous september. and i talked about her as i made that endorsement. as you recall i said at the time my good friend and my wife's great friends, she loved you. >> i do remember that. and congressman, we just want to thank you for all that you have done over the years.
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you know i would be remiss if i did not express the thanks of president clinton spent our first lady event, hillary clinton. we were very close to our administration as well. mike sp i want to mention him he was a member of the caucus into the cabinet. he was a great member. but you have been a person who has always looked beyond party labels for even though you are a strong democrat. you have always looked to find the best in everyone with had the privilege to serve. we believe that just represents the character of the caucus as well. we just thank you for this time you have spent with us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the caucus to talk about those early members.
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and to talk about those who yet serve. we very much appreciate your service. we are looking forward to hearing more from chairwoman beatty and we just wish you godspeed as you continue to serve with the vision and vigilance. >> thank you for your friendship. thanks for all that you do. not just for us and the congressional black caucus but what you mean to this country as a whole. a lot of people may not know your tremendous influence in this area of infrastructure we are getting ready to dive into. you are among the best. >> thank you sir. and now would like to turn things over too patrick madden. he is the executive director. patrick please close this out. >> thank you at secretary
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slater. what an amazing conversation. cl
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program >> founded in 19203 the museum of the city of new york's collection contains nearly seven or 50000 objects. we visited. to learn about the exhibit gilded new yorker. >> my name is jeanine i am one of the co- curators of guilder new york, fashion, society and culture that is being shown here at the museum of the city of new york the show opened in november of 2013 and closes in october of 2014. in this a


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