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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  January 11, 2019 8:00am-8:42am PST

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worlrld war of u.s.s. imperialim and its s allies goverernments. they've try to tuturn this peaceful ceremony into a world war against ouour country. amy: the u.s. and its allies have refused to recocognize maduduro's presidency, calling last year's election illegitimate. other latin american leaders -- including evo morales of bolivia, daniel ortega of nicaragua, and miguel diaz canal of cuba -- welcomed maduro's reelection and joined thursday's inauguration in caracas. the trump administration has continued to ratchet up sanctions against venezuela, even as its economy faces hyperinflation with severe shortages of food and medicine. about venezuelans have left thee 3 million country in recentt years, with many settling in colombia and brazil. in brazil, newly inaugurated far-right president jair bolsonaro said wedednesday he'll pull out of a united nations agreement protecting the rights of migrants. brazil joins just a handful of countries, led by the united states, that refuseded to ratify
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the e global compact for safe, or delete, and regular migration -- o orderly and regulular migrn last month. more than 160 other nations have signed on. back on capitol hill, vermont independent senator bernie sanders was joined thursday by democratic house members as they introduced legislation to dramatically roll back prices that americans pay for prescription drugs. the bill would allow the health and human services secretary to negotiate for lower prices while pegging the price of prescription drugs to the median price in five industrialized countries. it would also allow americans to import lower-cost drugs from canada and other countries. this is ilhan omar, freshman congressperson from minnesota. >> i believe that health care is a basic human right. americans pay the highest prices to access the drugs in the world, including three times the in great britain alone. instead of taking donations from pharmaceutical industry, we need
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to hold them accountable for taking advantage of the american people. medications are too expensive, and we must act boldly to lowerr prices. amamy: senator bernie sanders apolologized thursday to women o have come forward to say they wewere sexualllly harassed or discriminated against by male staffers while working on his 2016 campaign. the accusations surfaced after more than two dozen staffers penned a letter to sanders requesting a meeting to discuss sexual violence and harassment on the 2016 campaign in the run-up to the 2020 election. several of sanders' top aides have been implicated. this is senator sanders speaking thursday. >> it appears as part of our campaign, there were some women who were harassed o or miststre. and i thank them from the bottom of my heart for speaking out. what they experienced was absolutely unacceptable, and certainly not what a progresesse
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s shouldor any campaign be about. amy: in other news on sanders possible run foror presidentnt,s 2016 campaign mananager jeff weaverer has said he will not return to the same position if sandnders decides toto run for president again. weaver is expected to stay on as a senioror advisor. president trump's former personalal attorney and fixer michael cohen said thursday he'll testify to a house committee next month about his work for donald trump. cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion, bank fraud, campaign finance violations, and lying to congress after admitting he broke federal campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women during the 2016 presidential campaign in coordination with and at the direction of president trump. this comes as "the washington post" reports the white house has added 17 new lawyers to its legal team in recent weeks, as president trump and his inner circle brace for robert mueller
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to complete his investigation. a key republican lawmaker and close ally of president trump defended white supremacy while assailing the diversity of the incoming lawmakers i ian interview published thurursday. iowa congressmember steve king told "the new york times" -- "white nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization -- how did that language become offensive? why did i sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?" congressmember king went on to criticize the freshman class of democratic lawmakers, with its record number of women and people of color, saying -- "you could look over there and think the democratic party is no country for white men." and in montgomery, alabamama, an african-american transgender womaman was mumurdered over the weekend in what the human rights campaign reports was the first known act of deadly violence against a trans person in the u.s. in 2019.
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31-year-old dana martin was found in her car in a roadside ditch with a fatal gunshot. no arrests have been made. an aclu of alabama spokesperson said -- "dana martin's death is representative of the continuing danger that transgender individuals face simply for being themselves." and those are some of ththe headlinenes. this is s democracy now!,, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the birminghgham civil rights institute is c continuing to coe under fire a after rescinding a human rights a award for the scholar, civivil rights activiv, and author angela davis. in september, the institute announced that it would award davis the fred l. shuttlesworth award named after the civil rights icon. but last friday, the institute voted to withdraw the award and canceled this year's gala event. davis is a birmingham, alabama native who grew up in a , neighborhood known as dynamite
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hill because it was bombed so frequently by the ku klux klan. the institute rescinded the award days after the birmingham holocaust education center sent a letter urging the board to reconsider honoring davis. according to, the january 2 letter cited davis's "recent outspoken support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against israel, which is very troubling as it targets the jewish people excessively." it went on to state -- "we do not suggest that israel should be immune from criticism but bds ignores gross human rights transgressions by other countries around the world and focuses solely on israel, the world's only jewish state." others in the birmingham area criticized davis for her support for the black panthers and communist party. the institute's decision to rescind the award has sparked outrage in birmingham and around the country. birmingham mayor randall woodfin said he was dismayed by the
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institute's decision, which he said came after "protests from our local jewish community and some of its allies." the birmingham city council voted unanimously to express support for dr. davis, as did the birmingham school board. in addition, more than 350 academics have signed on to a letter supporting davis that was organized by jewish voice for peace. the letter states in part -- "the decision seems to stem from a misinformed view that to advocate for palestinian human rights is somehow offensive to the jewish community." meanwhile, three members of the birmingham civil rights institute have resigned, including the chair and first vice chair, following calls for their ousting over the controversy. angela davis is now scheduled to attend an alternative event in birmingham next month on the same that she would of come for
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the shuttlesworth event, which is beieing organized by a coalition of grassroots groups. on thursday, i spoke with angela davis in her first television interview since the controversy began. she joined us from oakland, california. i began by asking her to respond to the birmingham civil rights institute deciding to rescind the reward honoring her in fred the reward honoring her in fred shuttlesworth's name. >> when they informed me that i have been chosen to be the 2018 recipient of the fred shuttleworth's human rights award, i was quite honored and was looking forward to returning borne place where i was way, i did-- either know fred shuttlesworth and i went to school with his daughter patricia. so it was quite an exciting development.
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saturday, i surmisedd shortly before they released the statement, the birmingham civil rights institute contacted me and simply read the statement to me. requests to them to offer me more substantive reasons for the rescission of withward, i was met responses -- very abstract responses s such as, it is a matter of public record. and so during the very brief phone call, i really did not know what it was that had caused them to take deposition. informedly after i was that an article had appeared in the magazine "southern jewish life does go that basically detailed some of my activism
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around palestinian human rights for bds against some of the policies and practices of the state of israel. i don't think they were aware that the response would be so immediate and so overwhelmingly in favor of my receiving the award. i have heard from literally hundreds of individuals and letters are being jewishted not only by fees, but by historians -- i think it is american historical society. i may be wrong. one of the professional organizations that includes scholars who do work on civil rights. i have been contacted by many
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contacted by many people in birmingham. some of my oldest frfriends are involved in organizing the event , the alternative event, which is scheduled to take place on the same day that the birmingham wasl rights institute event originally to take place. exciting toly quite palestiniane of justice, justice for p palestine of popopulara a topic discourse. we have attempted for so long to encourage a conversation like this. i don't know whether i enjoy being at the center of the controversy -- i think i've had my share of controversy in my life. but i am happy to assist in the
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process of encouraging more discussion on racism, on justice form, on palestine. amy: i want to turn to birmingham mayor randall woodfin who said in a statement, "as i consider the controversy over the birmingham civil rights institute's decision to honor dr. angela davis with the fred l shuttlesworth human rights award and a subsequent decision to rescind that honor after protests from our local jewish community and some of its allies, my overriding feeling is one of dismay. why am i dismayed? i am dismayed because this controversy might have been avoided entirely had it been handled differently. i am dismayed because as has been the case throughout birmingham's history, people of goodwill behaved reflexively rather than engaging and meaningful discourse over their differences and seeking common ground. i am dismayed because this
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controversy is playing out in a way that harks backward rather than forward, that are traces as the same birmingham that we always have been rather than the one we want to be. i'm dismayed because i believe we should be able to expect better from ourselves and from one another." again, those are the words of the mayor of birmingham, mayor randall woodfin, the youngest mayor in more than 120 years, who even has offered to facilitate a conversation -- interestingly, he is on the board of the birmingham civil rights museum, as it is known, the birmingham civil rights institute,, but was not included in that emergency phone call or the executive phone call that was held last friday in the vote that took place that a number of people are demanding notes be revealed about that led to the announcement on saturday, angela
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davis. your thoughts on the mayor's response? >> first of all, i find it very exciting that birmingham now has a mayor who is bold and outspoken and willing to take risk, and who has certainly role inn important role in generating the protest against the decision of the board of the birmingham civil rights institute. i am aware of the fact that he is an ex officio member of the board, as is the person who has been come over the years, the drivining force for the creatatn and the continuation of this institute. by the way, she was my sunday school teacher. i think she is about 10 years older than i am. she is an xo officicial memembef ththe board and the chair merito
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emierita. it is interesting they are unwilling to reveal precisely what their process was and that we are left to speculate about ree influences that we responsible for this decision. but let me say, i think it is important not to generalize about the jewish community in birmingham. just as i i would suggest we not generalize about the black community there. people representing very inferent political positions both communities. i am aware that there are progressive members of the jewish community there. i know jewish voice for peace
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has contacts in birmingham. i think it is important as we engage in discussion around this controversy to be aware of the anti-semitismh a force here. i would just guard against characterizing the jewish in birmingham in such sweeping terms. amy: a aela davis,s, the birmingham civil rights institute recently rescinded d a human rightsts award apparently due to her activism for palestinian rights. we will return to angela davis in a minute. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is dememocracy now!,, the war and peace report.
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i'm amy goodman. we return to my y conversation with scholar, professor, and civil rights leader angela davis. the birmingham civil rights institute recently rescinded human rights award for her, apparently due to her activism for palestinian rights. this issue of your support for palestine and palestinians and the boycott, divest and sanctions movement, cacan you tk about that? woululd you describe yourselelfa supporter of bds, and what does that mean? angela: oh, absolutely. i've never concealed my support for the boycott, sanctions movement. as a matter of fact, when bds believe,,d in 2005, i as a r response to efforts by palestinian civil society to are in thees that
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spirit of ththe civil rights ,,movement -- as a m matter of t it h has been characacterized aa nononviolent effort by palestinn thel society to challenge repression that is so pervasive in occupied palestine. i have been a supporter of justice for palestine almost as long as i can rememember. at least since my years in college. more recently, i have been attempting to guarantee, along with many others, that the issue of justice for palestine be placed on social justice agendas more broadly. i think the fact
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that those of us who have been doing this work over the last, i would say, seven or eight years, nine years, the last decade or so, have been relatively successful. there is support for justice for palestine on college campuses across the country, particularly black student formationons have embraced this cause. we know that inn 2014 when the ferguson uprising took place, when the ferguson protests erected, it was palestinian activists who were the first to express solidarity. and as such, helped to develop a global solidarity movement for black lives matter. so i think that the as acterization of the bds
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way of acknowledging the south african -- the boycott against south african apartheid, and using those strategies within the current situation, is absolutely accurate. yes, i have been involved in the effort to encourage professional organizations. i rememember the amemerican stus association, asa, was one of the first professional organizations to develop the resolution supporting the boycott. the national women's studies association. i have been involved actually in many different contexts to help incorporate a call for justice socialestine in our
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justice agendas more broadly. amy: of course, you wrote the 2015 book "freedom is a constant struggle: ferguson, palestine, and the foundations of a movement." i want to read more from the letter from the birmingham holocaust education center to the birmingham civil rights institute. they said -- joined "we doesn't just israel should be immune from criticism, but bds ignores gross human rights transgressions by other countries around the world and focuses solely on israel, the world's only jewish state. the reverend martin is urgingng junior s said when peoplee criticizize sinus, they mean jes ." can you respond to this, angela davis? bdsla: first of all, emerged from palestinian civil society and d its purpose i is precisely to focus on israel, just as the boycott against
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south african apartheid was focused on the south african apartheid state so the first criticism the proposed i don't think is valid at all. king may have made that statement indicating when people criticize zionists there particular jews at a moment in history, but i am certain that if he were alive that, he would point out .ustice is indivisible as a matter of fact, he argrgued for the indivisibility of , heice, justice anywhere wrote, is an assault to justice everywhere.
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i am quite certain that he would not remain silent on the question of the occupation, the continued occupation of palestine, of the segregation that recalls the segregation in southh africa and the segregatin in the southern states during the pre-civil rights era. and i'm certain that he would identify with houston in with palestinian activists that have taken up strategies developed by the e u. civil righghts movement full stp for example, the palestinian freedom wr -- freedom weres that wer attending to protest the segregation of highways, of their affairs that lead from one settlement to another
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settlement, and from which palestinians are barred. the trip that i made to palestine in 2011 with a delegation of women of color and wasgenous feminists revelatory in a way i had never expected. i thought that i was aware of the conditions that occupied palestine. but when i visited and actually that barred palestinian automobiles and palestinian pedestrians from certain streets, my response was, segregation in alabama did thebar black people from thoroughfares. so in many ways, it seemed to me to be even worse than ththe
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segregation of myy childhohood. i think the world needs to speak out against these conditions. amy: as you pointed out, the jewish community is not monolithic. jewish voice for peace condemned the decision by the birmingham civil rights institute over 350 academics across the country signed on to the letter in support of angela davis. the letter reads -- "the canceling of this award by the birmingham civil rights institute is unjust, insulting, and ill-conceived, specially because it is likely promised a professor davis' long-standing support for palestinian human rights. the decision seems to stem from a misinformed view that to advocate for palestinian human rights is somehow offensive to y." jewish community full t it goes on to state -- "we share because her davis' visionary commitment to the indivisibility of justice and
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believe we are all responsible for pursuing social justice for all human beings without exception, which includes pursuing social justice for palestinians." professor davis, you're talkikig about not only what happened awardhe canceling of the to you, but then the organizing that has t taken place aroroundh the issue and in support of you. angela: that is quite exciting. ofi said, the issue palestinian human rights -- and it's relation to thehe struggle for the civil rights fofor peope of african descent in this country -- is finally being discussed in an open way. and i'm quite excited that , localots activists organizations, established
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figures in the birmingham peoplety, professionals, who were involved in the civil rights movement over a half-century ago, have all come thether to try to make point that the board of the birmingham civil rights institute does not represent the sentiment of people in birmingham, alababama. to i am lookingng forward returning to birmingham on february 16 and participipatingn a range of events being organized by activists on the ground there. amy: let me go to a controversy that happened a few months before you. about cnn contributor, well, former cnn contributor and temple university professor marc lamont hill who was recently fired by cnn for giving a speech
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at the united nations supporting palestinian rights in november. cnn dropped him as a commentator after conservatives and pro-israel groups such as the anti-defamation league condemned his comments, calling them anti-semitic. last month, one gonzalez and i spoke to marc lamont hill about his firing. >> i was specifically calling or speaking to my belief that a one state solution is the most fair, just come and workable possibility right now. i did call for a free palestine. one state solutionon for me is e way to do that. many weree frustrated or said i was somehow secretly. whistling for violence. i found that a bit hard to believe. there is absolutely a long tradition of black support f for papalestinians and support foror like internationalism.m. if we are one to be honest, there is b been a long and deepp support of african-americans and blacks throughout the diaspora
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for the state of israel. we cannot ignore that history, either. but it is a long and complicated story. i think in the last 51 years, i would say since e the six day w, we have seen the black left for sure engage in a kind of internationalism that looks for solidarity, not just in palestine, but with movements in africa and latin america, and attempt to really shore up a base and a community of freedom fighters that understand that inequality and injustice is not local, but a transnational experience. in order to redress any problems we have, w we have to look internationally. that is what malcolm x was attempting to do, the black panthers were doing. when we lolook at current events like black lives matter, one of the first things i found oppresessive about the movement was the fact there were looking internationally. amy: that a stable university professor marc lamont hill, who remains a professor at temple
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that was fired by cnn. he tweeted on monday -- "this is shameful. i stem with my dear sister and friend angela davis." responding to the rescinding of the award for you, professor davis. your thoughts on this kind of pressure being brought on, well, people like marc lamont hill? angela: well, it was shameful for cnn to capitulate to pressure and fire marc lamont hill. he was speaking at an event that takes place every year at the united nations on palestine solidarity day. so are they suggesting that they will attack everyryone who speas at the u.n. on palestine solilidarity day under the guiue anti-semitic? i i think it i is time for conversation on what constitutes
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anti-semitism. the relationship between anti-semitism and racism and the difference between critiques of the state of israel, critiques of the occupation of palestine, and anti-semitism. of course, all of his reserve theright to criticize united states of america, the government, especially during this period. no one would argue that by criticizing the government wewe are criticizizing all of the people of the u.s. asas a matter of fact, , i thint is very important to point out that there is s a significant resistance among jewish citizens of israel inside israel. when i visited palestine and 2011, i had the
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opportunity to speak with a jewish activist who were opposed to the occupationn of palestine. attacks ont with andle like marc lamont hill the organizers of the women's march -- so it seems as if there may be an effort to prevent black solidarity with palestine. to conspiracyibe theories, but it seems as if we are witnessing a consistent attack a particularly radical black activists who are enencouraging international struggles with many in other places,s, but especialy with the palestinians.
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amy:y: scholar and human rights activist angelela davis, daughtr of birmingham. conontinue with my conversation with her in a minute. ♪ [music break] amy: this is democracy now!,, ththe war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we return to my conversation
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davis, for more than decade she h has been one of the most influential activist and intellectuals in the united states, an icon of the black liberation movement. angela davis was set to receive the prestigious fred l. shuttlesworth award from the birmingham civil rights institute, but on f friday they announced they were rescinding the award. angela: i think this ideological effort to equate much-neededm with critiques of the policies and practices of the state of israel and the expressions of solidarity with the palestinian revealed for be what it is.
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and i am hoping that we will jewish people speaking out. i know jewish voice for peace has done an amazing job over the last period, and i have done work with jvp. but i think this is a period where as jews were the first white people to step up to the civil rights era, to speak out -- we need to engage in the kind of conversation that will reveal the true meaning of anti-semitism. and help us to extricate mccarthyiteom this effort to equate boycott
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strategies and solidarity strategies with anti-semitism. i know that that previous recipients of the fred shuttlesworth humaman rigights d are very angry about what is happening. i received a call from m danny glover. i received a call from harry belafonte. both of whom indicated they will be contacting the birmingham civil rights institute in protest. inn protest. i think these protests have e to involve serious conversations about the meanining of ananti-semitism and how to this articulate charges of a testament to -- it has images
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of -- disis a articulate chargs anti-semitism to protect the people of palestine. amy: let me ask you about the proposed combating bds act, which was included in the first senate bill of this new session. the legislation aimed to prevent opposition to the israeli government by allowing state and local governments to sanction any u.s. compmpanies which are engaged in a boyoycott againinst israel. the bill failed to pass earlier this week amidst the government shutdown. newly sworn in palestinian-americanan congressmember rashida tlaib of michigan criticized the bill on democracy now! this week. >> i agree w with senanator sans andd aclu and others that does not see this as an anti-first amendment bill. the fact that we have our senators that right now could be voting on opening up our government -- they have the bills in their hands -- or
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voting on this, that is distracting us from what is our focus, which is the american people. i can tell you, looking at this push among the even just the states saying, you know, you will not employ someone that doesn't sign some sort of allegiance, to say that they will not boycott another country, it is literally at the core right there is literally an attack on our constitution, on one of our most critical rights that we have in our country, freedom of speech. i cannot imagine our country not having the right to economic boycott. think about alabama, montgomery -- montgomery, alabama, and all around the country, the civil rights movement. amy: that is rashida tlaib, the first palestinian-american woman in congress, one of two muslim women along with ilhan omar, part of the most diverse congress that has been voted in in the history of the united
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states, more than 100 women serving in the new 116th congress of the united states. your response, professor davis? angela: i'm excited to see the new congress. of course, very happy that the senate bill, senate bill 1 did not pass. however, i think it should be pointed out that this is not going to be the last we hear bds. this act to combat it reminds me of the mccarthy era. the efforort to require people o in effect sign loyalty oaths that they will not engage in the boycott of the state of israel. i'm trying to imagine how that might have played out during the era of the struggle against
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apartheid south africa is people in as many states have passed these acacts would have e been required to agree not to advocate or engage or participate in the boycott of south africa. this is absolutely unconstitutional. harks back to a period of our history, which many of us that we had surpassed. howit also indicates thertant it is to engage in kindnds of conversations and struggles that will enlighten ofple as to thehe impmplicatios such measures. amy: the award you were set to receive is named after the civil rights icon reverend fred shuttlesworth who led the
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shoretel in birmingham, alabama, to end segregation. when he died in 2011, the civil rights leader in georgia congressmember john lewis said "when others did not have the courage to stand up, speak up, and speak out, fred shuttlesworth but all he had on the line to end segregation in birmingham in the state of


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