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tv   Ernie Suggs The Many Lives of Andrew Young  CSPAN  May 8, 2022 6:10am-7:29am EDT

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i want to welcome you to what i think is a very special program tonight. we're honored tonight to be able to spend the evening with ambassador andrew young marking his 90th birthday this past
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saturday. we're part of that celebration and we're going to hear a lot about his remarkable life in the next hour from reporter and author, ernie suggs and graphic designer, don bermudez. ernie as you all probably know covers race and culture for the atlanta journal constitution. he's a graduate of north carolina central university and we thank the alumni support association for their support. he was selected as a niemann fellow at harvard university and now serves on the fellowship board. don bermudas is a multi-talented graphic artist and designer. he got his formal training at columbus college of art and design in columbus, ohio, and those of you who are already gotten a copy of the book the many lives of andrew young. we'll see don's amazing work in
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the the pictures and layout in there. i had the pleasure of working with don when he created an exhibit at the king's king center. it was an exhibit about president carter and martin luther king both. of atlanta's nobel peace prize award winners and then most importantly ambassador, andrew young. there has been a lot said about ambassador young over the past week and you will hear a lot more tonight. i just want to relay one personal story that i think typifies andrew young to me. we hosted reporter catherine johnson a few years ago to talk about her relationship with coretta scott king, and she was in conversation with andrew young. and during that program i found out that former first lady barbara bush had passed away
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while the program was underway. and so we got to the end of the program and i thanked catherine and i thanked ambassador young and then i mentioned that barbara bush had passed away. and ambassador young without pausing or leaving the stage offered a beautiful prayer of remembrance for mrs. bush. because that's the type of person he is. so please join me in welcoming ernie suggs dong bermudez and ambassador, andrew young. and i think at this point it might be fitting since his birthday was on saturday if you will join me in happy birthday to you.
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happy birthday to you. happy birthday, ambassador young. happy birthday to you. ernie thank you. thank you very much. thank you, tony. and this is this is crazy because i've been out in the audience many times. for these events. i've sat on this stage many times as a moderator, but i'd never in my wildest dreams. thought i'd be here. talking about a book that i've written. so i appreciate you all coming out here. and when tony told me that when tony called me and said he wanted to do this i was excited and you know, then he called me and said it was sold out. and i was more excited.
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did he call him and said that? that book tv is going to be broadcasting it. so book tv the cameras are there they're going to be broadcasting. this video told me that he opened up more seats and that's sold out. so i was like wow, this is crazy because you know, i've never been this popular before in my life, and i was just and i was telling tony this and i was like, you know, i finally made it. i finally hit big time and you know, i'm gonna become a big you know, new york times bestseller and tony, you know for those of you who all know tony. he wasn't saying anything and i'm just talking and talking and going on for five minutes. and i look over at him and finally he says, you know, the name of young is going to be here too, right? so so i know that you all are here to talk to and to see the great ambassador andrew young, so i want to introduce my brother and you guys give him a round of applause for brother andrew young. and let me introduce my homeboy
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from new orleans who who went through? piles and piles of memorabilia and who knew that my mother? required me to write every week. when i went away to college. and thing was if i don't get a letter, i'll assume that. everything's all right. you don't need any money. so i have a letter almost every week. i was away in college and he dug through that. the amistad exhibit that tulane university in new orleans, well, my mother took all of her papers. and then the auburn avenue library here on auburn avenue in cortland where there's something like 5,000 books 5 spots 540
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boxes we only went through 40 okay, but he did. the grunt work of pulling together the pieces of my life and since i didn't have anything to do but to live it. i am really grateful because --, i'm somebody. i want to start off. i want to read something. this is you're not right for the atlanta journal constitution and on sunday. hope you all subscribe to the ajc on sunday. i wrote an essay about the relationship that i have with ambassador young dating back 26 years when i was a young reporter in durham and i say in the name of the book, you know is the mini lies of andrew young? and i write over the years. i've carefully watched how people address andrew young the ajc standard practice is to refer to him on first reference
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as ambassador james orange who many of you know called him my leader while ct vivian called him doctor, but they called everybody that andy is preferred by those who know him casually, but sometimes he gets congressman or mayor or reverend and even in some african kingdoms they call him king. there are a group of folks around the ages of his daughter who call them uncle andy because he is almost like a father figure i choose to call him brother my brother andrew young, so i want to ask you the first question in many lies of andrew young when you get up in the morning and you look at yourself in the mirror. who are you? you know, that's what i try to figure out every day. it's and and basically well when i left college i felt like i had wasted. all of my life up to that time. though i had a diploma.
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and i ran to the top of kings mountain because that was 1951. everything was segregated. the only place we could stop was. at a missionary school and kings mountain and my mother and father were there. at a conference and i went out running up the mountain. and when you run toward a mountain and you're running downhill. and you don't realize it but you go and faster than you're supposed to and then i decided to run to the top of the mountain. and i was already exhausted. and i i just sort of passed out. i think i don't know what happened. but when i woke up or opened my eyes and came to the world just
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looked different. and it hit me that everything i saw had a purpose. the trees the cows the cornfields, you know. sky and there was no awakening that. everything i see here has a purpose. and whoever made heaven and earth. couldn't have made everything without with a purpose except me. and so i came down from that mountain figuring. i got to have a purpose and i don't care what it is. i don't need to know. it one day at a time. and i do the best i can today and tomorrow will take care of itself. so tell it this long way because the truth of it is.
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i don't have a clue who i am. you know when i wake up in the morning, it's whatever. you know, it's just like nobody knew we'd be in the middle of a war right now this we thought this was over with after vietnam. you know and here we are. on the edge of total destruction except a couple of crazy people and probably the most unity. we've seen in the rest of the world. since the close of world war two so this who was it somebody used to say that? it's one of his favorites sayings that of martin luther king that the world's imbalance
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and which way it turns depends on. what decision you make that day? and i don't think of it that dramatic but i really do figure that every day has to make a difference some kind of way. to somebody the and it makes for a really interesting life. so when you went up that mountain you almost describing a biblical or spiritual journey. you went up that mountain having graduated from howard university having defied your father who wanted you to be a dentist so to speak and you came down that mountain a different person. i think so. and but again i wanted to be an athlete too. and so i was on the swoon team all winter and the track team all spring. and so physically and mentally
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and i didn't. i could have flunked out of school, but i didn't. i mean it was too easy not to. but i really only i mean i really didn't care. what i was learning i cared about not embarrassing my parents. but from that point on it was me and whoever made me your your fingerprints are all over not only atlanta, but all over the world and we're sitting here at the at the carter center and the jimmy carter presidential library, and this facility came about when you you know when you were mayor, you know, the the is coming about tell us a little bit about your relationship, you know, since we're here in president carter wrote the forward for the book about your relationship with president carter.
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well i think he is one of the truly great men. that i've known. he is clearly the most disciplined man. i have ever met. as long as i've known him. whenever i call up and get an appointment. i know. that i got 15 minutes. and i see that as an improvement because when he was in government, you only got five minutes because he thinks of his time is sacred. okay, and as governor five minutes he could take a picture. you can hear what? you wanted to say and he could
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either answer it or sign it to somebody. and you were out of there in 15 in five minutes. even in the white house i could see him anytime. but there's something about him that. when he gets to your point. he's got other things to do. yeah. yeah time to go and i mean he really does. value time more than anybody i know okay and time is important. dr. may's poem i don't remember it but tiny little minute just 60 seconds in it. i can't. abuse it. i must use it. yes. i can't afford to lose it or
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something like that. oh the morehouse guys always quoting that so you think you wrote your autobiography and easy burden? i can't recall how many years it's been since 1996, but now you're 90 years old and this book comes out. how you feel about it? i mean, how do you you've looked at it? of course, what are your thoughts? about the book well you all did them. i mean you owed it wonderful job. and it really it really looks like something that it took five or six years to put together. and i think you did it in two months. yeah. and so is the kind of summary of life? and particularly my life. and my times that well i've only
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shouldn't confess that but all of our presidents who write i've read almost every book president carter wrote except the one about his presidency, you know and and this is different from that. this is this is the human life. that i have been privileged to be a part of. and it covers everything. but is the kind of thing that would give people a very good feeling about me and make them think i was really important but i wish i'd had you all working with me on some of my other
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stuff and we'd taken time. because where the book is weak? i think is on my time in atlanta? i mean is mayoral is mayor that that there's a lot on the civil rights movement this very important and that may be the most important part of my life. the united nations was extremely important. and i was talking to the former prime minister of jamaica. and i told him just this afternoon. he called me to. the pj patterson he called me to wish me a happy birthday. and i said you remember. when you helped us put together the panama canal treaty. and he said yeah i said i said,
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you know, nobody knows anything about that. well the hang-up on the panama canal treaty was did al castro okay if you don't castro had supported the canal treaty the senate would have voted against it. but if he had attacked the canal treaty, the people of panama would have voted against it. so the whole success of the panama canal treaty. was to keep castro quiet and president carter came to me. he said andy. you've known a lot of these fellows. a good while haven't you? i said yeah. he said you think you can find two or three? that can get castro. just to stay out of this. and i said, you know, i really do i think we can. and i came back to him after a
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little while after touching base with. michael mann lived jamaica a lopez portillo of mexico i think order bayer of costa rica carlos andrus paris of venezuela and all of them had been young communists in high school with castro and they'd all become democrats and will allies of the united states. and so when i tracked a few of them down. they all said we can get this done you don't worry about this. let us handle this. see and sure enough. it went smoothly. and nobody in the state
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department ever had a clue. and the night after the treaty was signed. will stay in the same hotel. and president carter called me and said how many of those guys that helped you with castro? or in this hotel i said most of them. he said can you gather them in your room around 11 o'clock tonight? and i said sure. and he said i'd like to thank them personally. so i rounded up a half a dozen presidents and they were sitting around and it was really like. one it was very religious. because they realized that they
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done something together. that was so to unthinkable without jimmy carter. and they might have saved western hemisphere. but that's sort of the way. things worked with him. well, i want to i want to get with what donald about you growing up in new orleans, but you mentioned atlanta. let's talk about atlanta first. we didn't jump to donald. i talked. i don't know if andrea is here your daughter. but she told me about how when you and heard right around the city how proud you are of what you see and you know, the buildings and all the construction and what's happening at the airport you have, you know, obviously made a very major impact on this. well right here right here. yeah. yeah, i mean i figured between the presidential parkway and 400
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i got cussed out close to 100. by my friends, you know and and they were people who supported me in. and i didn't lie. i said i wasn't for more roads. until i realized there was the possibility of another hundred and fifty thousand square feet of office space and housing that was going to descend on this place. because the airport was already built. and that we would not have been able to function as a city without this presidential parkway. and even john lewis, you know. voted against it i mean all of my friends voted against it and
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i got even with john put his name but it's it's when i i was driving in from sandy springs the way out there somewhere and the sun was just oh, i've been an early morning something. of rotary club or something that meets in the morning and it was i mean the sun was just coming up. over the city of atlanta and i get emotional about stuff like that. okay, because i can remember. the groundbreaking say of the ritz-carlton they gave it another name now, but but and when lenox square was a little
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row of shops and when the tallest building in downtown was the hyatt. and the meeting i had with bill marriott. and john portman about building the marriott marquis. you know and bill murray had ended up building 72 hotels in atlanta. oh, wow while i was mad. i mean that that was a kind of growth that nobody could believe say and so i was operating on things that i knew to be happening and but even i would not have believed when kasim reed was mayor. we average five billion dollars. a year in new investment i mean building permits.
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five billion dollars a year is the sum total of all of the investment? that goes into south africa the whole country. the indian nation in europe that has grown like we have grown. and well, i don't take credit for it. but i show him proud of it. well, well you talk a lot about the atlanta. i'm going to get to you don when you talk a lot about the atlanta way and you know you you know in our many interviews you talked about in 1946 you came here for conference at the butler street ymca and the clan walked down march down auburn avenue. yeah, 1951 you were here with your i think with your parents and you're driving down ponce de leon and a rat crosses the street and you slow down. he said he slowed down because he felt the rats had more rights than black people in atlanta. you moved to atlanta in 1961 and
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work with dr. king and 20 years later the mayor of the city. so is that and now where we are now looking what we are now having hosted the olympics having the busiest airport in the world. is that what the atlanta way is that you can your first impression in? 1946 and what you see here now? yeah, well it wasn't in 46. it didn't the atlanta way didn't happen to. it was about 60 or 59 60 and it was well, it was ivan allen's. well maybe go back a little further. i don't know what year that was, but one hartsfield lost to his election. and he lost the election because he gave delta. of free pass to come to atlanta and offered them all the land they wanted for.
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a dollar a year for 50 years he he paid $90,000 for all of the basic land that is now the atlanta airport. and the unforgivable sin was he put up red lights on peachtree street. and they voted him out office. he and there was a group of people who did not want to change. and there was a group of people that saw change as inevitable and most of those were related to coca-cola because the decision that probably started it all was. milk, mr. woodruff saying that the soldiers who defending the united states? ought to be able to drink a coca-cola. anywhere in the world they were sent. well that was in addition to
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being very patriotic. it was probably the best business decision and a company of a million and we immediately on on that decision. became a world-class city. we didn't know it yet. but then jay paul austin comes back from south africa and he'd been there when they voted in apartheid. and he's from i think lagrange, georgia. and he and mr. woodruff. and ivan allen. did not i've been allen was president of the chamber then. they did not want atlanta. to be a backward city and they started talking about something. that they call that ended up being named. the plan of improvement in almost didn't come out.
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into sam marcel was bare and god bless themselves. he's a passed on just a day or so ago sunday and at 94. but he was in the the state legislature. i mean in the city board of alderman they called it then for thirty-some years and was mayor us vice mayor and then mayor and but all of this had been evolving. and they were dreams. manage action comes along and well first i got elected to congress and i wasn't supposed to get elected. the district was still just i think 38% black. and i got more black turnout
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than anybody had ever had before i think we had a 74% black turnout. and we got more white folks voting for me. and i beat a very good republican. and we became we were always very good friends. and rodney cook. and but things were just changing so fast. and i don't know how i started this history, but we're talking about the atlanta way the atlanta way, i i could. i attribute to a woman by the name of helen bullers. and i don't know who she worked for but she she told a little business community what to do. and a city too busy to hate was her tomato also oh so she came
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up. yeah. she all of this was and it was i mean she worked for my hartsfield. she worked five and allen he as chamber of president president of the chamber of commerce. she worked for. coca-cola a goodwin and but she had a way and and she sort of that was one of the reasons why i'm so grateful to say i myself. because when i lost my first race of congress he was very worried about. racial division and i think he and jesse hill got together. and as and he appointed me chairman. coach him and of the community relations commission with archbishop dunnellon of the roman catholic church but helen bullard was on that commission
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randy taylor of the presbyterian church. mckinley young the ame church and i mean it was it was a small group, but it was a powerful representative group. that we must have had six strikes. that that summer that first summer, but they were all the conflagration of race. and class and respect and that's all i've been doing in the civil rights movement. i mean, that's all racism is a lack of respect based our race a class and so when it happened mead packing company it was i mean there were about six. of these doing the summer. but we got to the point where we understood the dynamics.
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so well, we could settle up in a matter of days. because it i think mead was the one that a black woman didn't take her insulin. forgot to take an insulin got to work and started feeling dizzy. and asked to go home and get her insulin and her supervisor said well if you leave you miss a day's work. she couldn't miss a day's work. so she passed out everybody thought said she died because he wouldn't let her go home and get our medicine. so everybody will you know thousand workers walk out and you got hell on your hands if it's not shut down quickly. well, i i had been doing that. for a living from martin luther king and so we were handling a strike every other week. without any without any trouble,
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okay. because we had the respect from the white community. we had the respect from the black community and we had respect to poor people because i had been to jail with the garbage workers when i first came back here. and so it and that's why i'm grateful to say myself because he took me out of the movement and made me respectable. that's not let's go to donald for second. and for those of you who have a copy of the book you you see how beautiful it is, and that's all you know, the beautiful words of mine, but the beautiful design is donald bermudez and donald, you know, yeah. so, i don't know. i don't know if donald's wife is here, but donald donald loves to talk. so i like to watch television and don would call me, you know right in the middle of like the day new mob my favorite tv show they want to talk for two hours. so i would always have to put it on pause, but donald thank you
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for the work you did for the book and talk a little bit about because you went to newer you're from new orleans where ambassador young is from you traveled there several times to go through their archives and you found a lot of stuff that he hadn't seen that ambassy young hadn't seen her hadn't seen in a while. let's talk about that process and the process of designing the book. well a man and approached approached me about the project we were excited to do it. they have been attempts in previous years to try to put something together. and you know, i just never sometimes we have ideas. and but anyway this in this case. it was an accelerated timeline. but more importantly we had an institutional knot. we had a knowledge of your life your story. been working ambassador young since 2007 so we kind of knew. okay, this is this happened happened in the chronological order. and then we just have to find the assets. i had to find the visuals now over the summer. we probably scanned maybe 3,000 images from your home and that was just digitizing it wasn't
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specific to the book. but because we had that catalog we were able to see some things. and ambassador young's mother was a very good. organized she kept every scrap of paper that had to do with him and his brother. i mean they had everything in this in this archiving. she only had four boxes, but they were they had a letter from president carter that was in this box. i said i don't know what else is in there, but i'm going down. i'm driving. i'm going and i went down and met with the archivists and they had some images of ambassador young digging. trenches in austria in 1953. i think it was. and and there's pictures and he's writing to his mother on the back of the pitcher notation. he's telling his mother and look penmanship ambassad young is very good. i mean, this is very artistic. i'm like, well i was in love with my fourth grade teacher. that's right.
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that's right. and really got him. she's the only teacher that ever really she put her hands on my shoulder and said, oh you sure form your letters. well you write just like the penmanship book. it was perfect and i've been right for that lady ever since and i've even married two fourth grade teachers. i didn't know that so, you know, we went through the old images. yeah fourth grade and i'm promoting. we got all the images the letter from president carter digitized it. so they had they had some really rich items in the archive in new orleans. as a matter of fact, i was driving around new orleans and i called ambassador young i said, what was the street name of your church that you grew up in and he says bienville and tonti, so i'm driving in the city we start stop take pictures of the actual
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street and all of this all these different things. and so we got back to atlanta and we did all the archival search in the auburn library research center, which they had a lot. it was a lot because you're pulling you probably i don't know. i didn't do a photo count on how many they having that book, but you're going from a let's say 4500 images to let's say, you know, maybe a hundred two hundred fifty. and then someone asked well, how do you decide? part of the goal is they picked the ones where i was really good looking that was that was natural. because and i didn't have anything to do with it web you got to tell about so the reason he has so many great images because he had a relative in new orleans who had a photo studio. and and you could tell the first. the first black owned photography store in new orleans was owned by my aunt. and she wasn't actually my aunt
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my grandmother. had six children, but she raised 11. and i don't know how all of that happened, but that's that was creole new orleans and one of my aunts started a photography store right on the corner of rampart and canal street. and it's where i had my first job. i mean i was i had to get there every morning and at seven o'clock. and scrub the floors and dust down everything and they taught me how to develop pictures but i mean i i had a background in photography and i appreciation of photography and there was well, somebody gave me one of these. big speed graphics. in fact it was the director the
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ymca. when i was about 13 14 years old and so my hobby and in high school was photography so if you are going to just go back to when ernie set out called him and talked him for two two hours. we were working. i was missing my tv shows up. that's one of the great photos in this if you have a copy of the book is on page 17. of this is you probably. a year old the less than a year old. yeah. yeah, so i think we're going to i have some more questions, but it we're going to ask also have q and a so if you have a question, please start lining up if you have any questions, but let me ask you this you have you know, the name of the book is the many lies of andrew young and it seems to me that you know, you are a top-flight athlete growing up you were i i have a feeling that if you
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wanted to do better at howard you could have you would have but you did very well at seminary you became a noted civil rights figure. you left that you became a us congressman. then you became a united states un ambassador the mayor of atlanta now, you're a philanthropist. you with your with the end of young foundation. so does everything come easy to you? it must i mean because i have never known like i don't have a clue as to what tomorrow will do for me. i mean, i really don't i i didn't know. i didn't know i was going to end up supporting jimmy carter. until the night i supported i started okay i was very cautious and then the one of these new
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york newspapers did an attack on him. village voice village voice did an attack on him calling him a racist. and i was making a speech somewhere in pennsylvania. and joni powell called me up and said we need you to. kind of do an answer. to this and i said well i don't know how he got it to me, but he read it to me and i said that's enough. and he said can we write something for you to send out i said no. i want to write it and i stayed up the rest of the night. they put the whole page. of the village voice was the letter that i wrote. and it was really answering. the editor of the village voice in julian bond and julian's
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problem with jimmy carter. julian really was a black aristocrat. i mean his daddy had a phd he'd gone to you know, exclusive prep schools. all over and and and he was very uncomfortable with just the southern twang of jimmy carter and so when i got through writing and headed back to jody. they put it on the front page of the village voice and that was the week before. the new york primary? okay, and but until that night i will support more, you know only because i was in congress with him and all of the congressmen got together and decided that they wanted someone from the
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house of representatives as a candidate and i signed on not really knowing him or thinking about it, but once that you know hit the front pages. it went statewide. and jimmy carter carried. new york so he had no trouble carrying in, florida i see a bill crane, but i want to ask one follow-up question bill you i wrote sunday that you were never afraid to talk. you're never afraid to voice your opinion even when it's not popular. so you talk about when you did not support you you weren't sure about supporting jimmy carter 30 years later. we had the barack obama run for president. you famously said i don't know if it's famous to you. but you said that you want him to be president in eight years not in 2008. so you've never been afraid to say what's on your mind even though it's not there again.
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my mother's godchild. was later, she married. well, grant hills. she's grant hill's mother basketball player say but shopping hill calvin hill, but she and hillary clinton were roommates said at wellesley is it? well, so yeah. yeah, and so i had been hearing about hillary clinton since she was a in college. and she she really see they graduated right after martin's death 68. and ed brooke was the convention commencement speaker and he gave a speech.
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supporting the war in vietnam you know. two months after martin luther king's been killed. and hillary got up. and through her paper away and she dressed down. the only black senator in in the congress and she told him to bits. say and their picture was on the cover. i think of look magazine. so i'd been following her since she was 17. and and i had never met obama. and i made the mistake of reading the wrong book first. so if you read his book on his childhood. and you get who he really is dreams of my father said dreams of my foot, but i didn't know that one. the first time i heard of him
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paid attention to him. i happened to be in hawaii and his book that he wrote just came out. and so i read it on the way back from hawaii and it wasn't anything that anybody else had was saying i mean, that was not a good book. say i mean it wasn't a good book. i mean it didn't like. jimmy carter's book why not the best was so arrogant see what i mean? see? i mean it really was who in the hell is this georgia cracker saying why not the best? but you read it and you really said, you know. he is pretty good. yeah, well, it was nothing shocking like that about obama's book and so i didn't pay much attention to it. whereas i had 20 years of
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experience i mean gene my first wife and hillary will co-chairs of the children's defense fund. hillary had been down in mississippi registering voters say walk in the streets of mississippi roads of mississippi, hillary and her friend hitchhiked to alaska and had worked in a salmon factory. so i mean that's one hell of a woman for me and i didn't want to make the decision on race. the other thing is the country was so screwed up. that's what always happens. they wait till something is really screwed up and then they turn over to somebody black. with with you know her husband
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with pretty good experience and and and he would she would have been a great president because she wouldn't have listened to him. yeah. say and so everything that i valued appointed to hillary first and and then barack, okay. and the country might have been better off if he'd gone that way but that wasn't right bill bill. crane. furniture shows up if i didn't get caught online been fine ambassador. i've had the pleasure of seeing you speak in a number of roles in your life. but i will never forget your remarks in centennial olympic park. just days after the bombing and you have many skills and talents and everybody here knows that but you are always able to calm waters. when they are tempest teapot boiling you are always able to give us that bigger picture and like you said on the top of king mountain. just kind of seeing everything a
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little differently and we all needed the reset button push that morning, but i watched as you came up to the podium you pulled out as you often do. remarks repaired prepared for you because it was a very important moment. there were a lot of seats already sold and weren't sure if the volunteers were going to show up then you put them back in your pocket. and as you always do you just extemporaneously went on for 30 to 40 minutes you never oh, you never or you never stammer. what inspired you that morning? because i can remember pieces of that speech now from that morning in 1996. well, i can't but what inspired me was my first church. was in thomasville and beachton, georgia. now beached and is halfway between thomasville and tallahassee. it's a little crossroads town. and the members of that church. war had come to georgia from alabama when the slave master would let them learn how to read
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him wouldn't let their pastor teach them how to read. the pastor came over to georgia. there was a congregational church school there. and he moved the whole church out of alabama in the middle of the night and came to georgia see and because of the school, but when i got down there as their pastor, they would georgia church and they said now preacher. we know you didn't been up north the school and all. but down here. we don't believe in paper in appropriate and said if you guys something for us. you said we wanted to come from your heart? and said if it's on paper. we just want you to know. about a third sunday. they won't be anybody in church. say so i think i was 21 then. and so i started realizing that
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i had to preach the way these folk wanted me to preach. and and that's the way it. seems to work. now well the it's the church. feeding you. and not all the spirit. i don't know which are both. because as soon as you get up and say good morning church. amen brother the major plane. i mean it's a give and take. preaching in a country church in georgia is a conversation? is not a lecture. and i guess. i've done that so much that.
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i wasn't thinking about what i wanted to say. i was thinking about what? the people needed to hear and it works out most of the time. you know. it's noted that these are my notes. and we were in the green room and i pulled them out. i was writing some notes and he told me to put it away and just talk she said oh, right it down don't write it. yeah, so, yes, you have a question. hi first i am honored to be in your presence from one new orleans to a fellow new orleans. i am 45 and you are 90 and you have done some amazing things into out the world. would be one word of inspirational or encouragement to my generation that is coming up behind you today. well i don't think that. well, let me encourage you. and you take care of your
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generation. when i when i came down from the mountain. in 1951 i ended up in theological seminary. that september and somewhere along the line. somebody gave me a book. it was a little devotional book. and the title of it was testament of devotion by thomas kelly it's a little quaker book. and there's a it's really in the first couple of pages. this is something like deep within us all. there's an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul. a quiet place yet a speaking voice.
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eternity is at our hearts. pressing against our time to our lives. calling us to minute. astounding destiny. and calling us home to our himself. and you listen to the still small voice within you. and go where it said, you know, you'll be all right. sassy, i see tony creeping up. so i want to ask you one one last question if that's okay. we can do all night if you want, but what's the what's the most important thing you've ever done in these 90 years. well, you know, i've been figuring that out since you open the book together. and i decided. the in 1964 martin luther king
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sent me to saint augustine, florida and the congress was in session. and it was in the middle of the filibuster. of the 64 civil rights act and the clan was so wild. and so violent. i mean up until that time there had been more people hurt. it's the only movement we were in that i've been a part of. where the hospital bills were bigger than the bail bond bills. i mean it was really ruthless and dr. king sent me down there to stop the movement. he said what one he didn't want any more people hurt
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unnecessarily. he really believed that the civil rights bill would pass within the next two weeks or so. and he didn't want people hurt for nothing, but he also knew. that if for some reason or other the situation got out of hand. and it became violent. instead of nonviolent that that would kill the civil rights bill. so i go down to stop this to stop the march. and i mean my brother. hosea williams was also my nemesis. because he didn't believe jose jose was in a foxhole in germany well first place he he volunteered for the military when he was 16 or 17. because it was the only place he
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could go to legally kill white people. and and that was his background, so he was in a foxhole. and they had been a direct hit. and when they came to get the bodies out. he was the only one alive on the bottom of the bodies. and he came back. a disabled veteran after 11 months in the hospital on crutches with a purple heart and in uniform and drank from i mean it didn't even drink from a water fountain. he he bought. a cup to get water from a fountain that said white only. and some you know young thugs roughed him up as a you know. a veteran will a purple heart and just coming out of a hospital and second world war.
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and he decided that god wanted him to be killed. here for his people. he was always trying to get himself killed. yeah. i mean literally he he was so fearless it was. well martin luther king confessed that we all had to be clinically insane. because nobody in that right mind would think that a ragtag bunch like us? change the nation. and he concluded himself. he said, you know. i should know better. and but but anyway, he sent me down there. and when i came by the park and saw the clan through saturday night they were drunk and breaking bottles and chains rattling and hooping and
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hollerin and going on and so is the last place you'd want? to march and i walk in the church in jose says there's dr. king has sent andrew young down here to lead you all down in the march and i said no jose. he said andy you got to take these people a little bit. but so i said, well i can get them out of the church away from him and then maybe i can be reasonable with them and get them to reason so we got out we got to the corner. we saw in a clan. we saw the crowd we heard all the noise and i got everybody in a circle to pray. praying that they'd go back to the church. and then some says the hollows be not dismayes things. whatever be tied. god will take care of you. and i said, oh -- these folk
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want to march. and my job then became how to let them march without getting anybody killed. and so i kept them on one side of the street and we walked down to where the clan was and then i said you all stay here and i went over by myself and i was i mean i was i thought i was making sense and i was having reaching some of the leaders. to somebody came up behind me. and he hit me with something or other. and but i don't know how long i was i was kicked and beaten for a good little while but when i came willie bolden pulled me up. and i said we can't go back now. we have to go down to the next corner and going down to the next corner and confronting another. plan group this time when they
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swung at me i was i was ready to duck and dodge and i didn't get hit. until there was a great big. i mean, i think he's actually six seven. i've met him since oh wow. he came in policemen and see the clan was deputized by the sheriff. to beat us up. but the police in saint augustine really didn't want any clan violence so they didn't want his marching, but this guy stepped in the crowd and said you all get out of the way you fool around and kill one of these people some of these people and none of us want that to happen. and so they let us march on through well. that saturday they wanted to
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march in the clan wanted to march in the black community. and we didn't know what would happen because it was mostly the women and children that were leading the marches to teenagers the men did march. they said they couldn't be nonviolent and i went back home and cussed them out for being college, but when the clan came down through, lincolnville it was daytime. but they were initiates and sheets and we had guns under the sheets. and people started singing i love everybody i love everybody in my heart. you can't make me doubt him. because i know too much about him. i got the love of jesus in my heart.
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that of the contrast of the violence of the week two three weeks before and the response of people singing a hymn to the clan. i think had an impact. on the senate and that tuesday they passed the civil rights act. shot and i think we i think i have time for one more question. i'm gonna ask you i'm a reporter, you know hank my yes. oh, that's okay. so let me ask you this question before we talk about these images. we're gonna talk we're gonna end on the book because i want to sell the book because my name is on. we have a new mayor in atlanta
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in november. we have a national election where the house is in can be flipped and we're on the brink of world war 3. so as a former mayor as a former congressman and a former un ambassador, where do where is atlanta the country and the world going? the hell and no, seriously. i mean believe it or not. i was i was wishing that jimmy carter was president. oh now now, okay, and the reason was that. he and i shared a certain. religious insanity that we believed in the power. of the holy spirit and believed in miracles so just like he believed that he could pass. the panama canal treaty he
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believed he could get israel in egypt together. everybody everybody said this man is insane. necessarily put them together and they've been together not a single. israeli has killed an egyptian. was that 50 some years now? nor has any egyptian killed in israeli. but jimmy carter was willing. to think outside the proverbial box i was in i went to congress. same time jimmy. joe biden did if i was as close to joe biden. as i was to jimmy carter. i think joe biden has that same kind of humble. spirit the jimmy carter had only
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difference is he's roman catholic and the spirit moves a little slower. give me all my catholic friends, but but i think i mean just the people that have called me. i was talking to the president of former president of nigeria. and i said, you know. you ought to be president now because when south africa had the upper hand and was threatening to destroy africa. jimmy carter and obasanjo went to church together. and jimmy carter got up and read the old testament scripture and said i first heard a nigeria. when i was doing a car wash down in planes. to send books to a missionary
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school in nigeria when the president of nigeria gets up to read the new testament scripture, he says i want to thank you mr. president. i was a barefoot boy that had to walk three four miles every day to get to that school, but that's where i learned how to read and write. but that's also where he became. he ended up somehow. being the number one student. in the entire british empire commonwealth engineering school so he was he's brilliant, but he's tough and he's mean and i mean he's anytime there's anything wrong in africa. folks just call him up and send to him. and i mean i was with him in a situation like this.
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well, he invited me to come. and i didn't know it was a trap, but it was because we had oil. was rising and south africa was trying to blow up gulf oil and angola. and we had to save gulf oil. without getting the us involved and so i was there in nigeria and he sent for me and he said i need you to sit in our meeting. we're meeting with the president of angola. and i said, what are we going to do? and i said really the state department wouldn't want me to accept sit with him. that'd be breaking protocol. he said the hell would protocol you and my guests and i want you to sit with me. well, what we did was we talked him out of what we talked to him into allowing. it was a gulf oil then. to increase their gas oil
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production we would not pay for it. we would put the money in an escrow account. so that after the war between portugal and angola was over. the money would go to whoever won that settlement. and so he got the the president of angola to agree to increase oil production and that's one of the reasons prices came down. not toward the end of the car administration and was that and i was thinking to myself. we could do that right now with venezuela. and we had a young man. who ran for president of venezuela who happened to have a harvard undergraduate degree and really a i a really wonderful guy. he came close. and they put him in jail for
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eight years. but he's still in his forties. oh, he's the guy who was here. he was here this week for oh and and i was talking with him about ways that we could increase the oil production of venezuela and let that flow into the market. in exchange of letting the dictators heaven for two more years and then get away with their lives and all they can steal. as coal but it's not bloody. yeah. and i think that those of the kinds of things that i think even it with the worst people. jimmy carter could find grace
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and mercy and i think that that's that's what the world really needs now. there can be no winners. so every day in fact, we were almost a little late because we had a call from somebody from montgomery, alabama that got stranded. in ukraine and he and his wife and baby. and they had adopted a three-year-old. ukrainian kid and everybody had a passport, but him. and they trying to figure out how they could get him. back to montgomery, alabama without citizenship. so we were trying to make the rigors of democracy work and we got a we got a response from the state department. in about 10 minutes.
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wow, i was amazing see. so i think this is a time when we need a miracle. okay, we need prayer. and but the song that i like i don't feel no ways tired. we've come too far. from where we started from and nobody told us that the way would be easy. but i don't believe he brought us this far. to leave us nothing, that's a great way to close us out. i want to say. thank you, sir. i just want to say one more thing about the book, but those of you who have not bought it have not purchased it now. it's available now at the acapella bookstore still right and it's going to be on sale officially on march 29th, so you can order it on amazon or new
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south books, which is a publisher of the book and all your favorite book stores. so please go out and get it if you live here in atlanta. the millennium gate hotel the millennium gate museum has an exhibit the mini lies of andrew young which is based on the book exhibit was put together by donald bermudas. so please go by and check that out pick up the book and if you know one of the things we wrote about this weekend, is that andy young has about seven or eight different monuments in the city of atlanta named after him. so if you're in town stop by those, it'll be a nice little scavenger hunt to find all the places name after andrew young and i don't know where they are including cheese. yes two statues. so that's pretty impressive. so you want to close down you want to find a words. yeah. that this i'm glad you wrote this book because my grandchildren now, well, really the 10 and 12 year old. can read this and it's not i
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mean they can read it and understand it say and and it's not too heavy. it's not too complicated. but the pictures show an impossibly blessed life. i don't know why the lord looked down on me and blessed me. so. but my grandma said to them to whom much has been given of them will much be required. so i guess that's the reason why i'm still hanging around here. because there's something else left. for me to do well, you're blessed and i'm blessed to have done this book and you know that
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the nice thing ernie mentioned the the books that we have in the lobby. the nice thing is they are signed as well. wonderful keepsake of this evening. it has been a fabulous evening and and you know, i think back to the the civil rights leaders that we have lost during the the last couple of years whether it's john lewis ct vivian joe lowry hanger, and it just goes on and on it has been wonderful to spend the evening with the remarkable life of andrew young, please. join me in thanking ernie, john and ambassador young.
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