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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 29, 2012 3:45pm-5:00pm EDT

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sucking up mortgages and spitting them out and making a lot of money in between. so all of this, they had turned into this just as housing prices which had been going up astronomically every year began to crash, really began to crash. so suddenly, wamu is left with all these, holding all these risky mortgages, and all the homeowners that could have just refinanced out of those mortgage cans couldn't anymore because the housing prices weren't there to support it. so suddenly wamu which had been profitable for how many years at that point, kerry killinger had always delivered amazing returns, they literally were eating away at tear capital cushion, and they needed more money. >> watch the entire interview on the collapse of washington mutual bank tonight at 8 eastern here on c-span2. >> up next, professor michael long presents a collection of over 150 letters from civil
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rights leader bayard rustin, organizer of the 1963 march on washington and adviser to dr. martin luther king jr. and an openly gay man. mr. rustin's letters cover over 40 years of his life, and the correspondents include eleanor holmes nor month and martin luther king jr. this is an hour, ten minutes. >> i, as a lifetime human rights activist, i'm especially excited to be talking to you about bayard rustin because, as you can see in his collective letters and as i'd like to ask michael to talk about, he was, um, really the, the in some ways sole voice in the civil rights movement who really saw a complete set of linkages between all forms of injustice. and, um, you know, a very sad story of the split between civil rights and human rights in the united states that, actually,
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the schomburg center is going to be looking at in an upcoming event on march 30th, and which is certainly the subject of a whole other discussion, but it's one of the things that's very inspiring in his stories, that he saw so clearly that indignity and justice against african-americans was connected to the discrimination and the struggles, discrimination against so many, so many voices. and so i was wondering if you could start off by talking a little bit about, um, what brought you to tell his story, and tell us more about him and what makes him so compelling and exciting as a figure. >> sure. first, let me say it's great to be with all of you, and it's especially great to be near the schomburg archives. i have used the archives so many times. so many thanks to schomburg archives for assisting me in my research along the way. [applause] indeed, i agree. i tried to let my projects arise
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organically one from another. and so earlier on when i was studying martin luther king jr., there was buy yard rustin -- bayard rustin. and then later when i was studying jackie robinson, there was bayard rustin. and then when i was studying thurgood marshall, there was bayard rustin. and it was pretty easy for me to target him because he was all over the place, and he was such a fascinating character. to me, he's especially fascinating because he brings together so many of my interests. he brings together civil rights, human rights, progressive religion, gay rights, nonviolence and pacifism, and the list goes on. so there we have in one person so many of these rights coming together. and mila's right to know that bayard really saw the linkages
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between discrimination and prejudice in ways that i think a lot of over civil rights leaders missed. and he did partly because of who he was. he was somebody who was african-american and openly gay and a pacifist and a socialist with roots in the young communist leg. and, again, the list goes on from there. so he understood the linkages of prejudice and discrimination probably because of his own cultural and sociopolitical identity. >> uh-huh. when, when i was looking at after reading this fantastic collection of letters that you have, as i wuss looking -- was looking at other information about bayard, i made the mistake of starting with academic sources. and as you know, he isn't well studied compared to so many of the other figures. everyone you just mentioned, the much more household names from the civil rights movement. but then, of course, i went to
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the right place which was the children's library in the new york public library who i was chatting with and who mentioned that there's a young adult, a children's story, a biography of bayard rustin which is pretty recent. and is a really, is really good story. we were just looking at it before. um, but in it i found that he has a poem that he wrote in high school where he says: i ask of you no shining gold, no monument of stone for me for man need never speak my name. and i thought that was fitting because in a way that's his story, is about not having chosen the spotlight in the movement. having been behind the scenes in so many, in so many ways and having been a great leader, but not taking the public role that someone like martin luther king took. can you talk a little bit about his role in the movement and maybe how that, how he made those choices about what he
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wanted his role to be? >> sure. first, let me say it's great to see bayard in a book for children and youth, especially because he felt deeply about children. there's some great pictures of bayard with children, especially refugee children. and there are also some great images of bayard singing with them. so i'm really pleased to see this. and i wasn't aware of the resource as exactly as i could have been before, but i'm going to check it out after i leave here. now, yes, indeed, buy yard was -- bayard was not studied for a long time. there's no doubt about that. and can a couple reasons, i think, come into play. he did not have a that muchal base or constituency. so unlike adam clayton powell jr. here of harlem, he didn't have a base of voters to draw from. he didn't have a civil rights
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organization rearg on, so he wasn't like roy wilkins of the naacp or thurgood marshall of the naacp. and he didn't emerge and form an organization early on like martin luther king jr. and the sclc, so he didn't have those organizational bases to tap into. another reason comes into play, and that is that rustin was openly gay for his era. and for that reason he decided, well, let me add another point. he was also arrested on charges of lewd vagrancy at different points. so those who were civil rights leaders, as well as bayard himself, chose at different times for him to step into the shadows. and he did that sometimes willingly and sometimes not willingly. bayard also, i want to emphasize, was a great speaker. early on he was known for his ability to be a great speaker. and that ability faded into the background as these arrests
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happened and as people became concerned about his sexuality tainting the movement, about his arrests tainting the movement and, also, about his roots in communism tainting the movement as well. and so his speaking abilities went to the background, and as that happened his tactical abilities came to the fore ground. and as a tactician, he was behind the scenes in a sense directing the players on the stage. and can players were -- and the players were martin luther king jr. and roy wilkins and others. so he was directing them, but he was the man behind the scenes. it's like our technical folks here tonight. >> can you talk us through some of those examples of his brilliance as a tactician? he was clearly a, um, deeply appreciated by the civil rights movement in that way, and then he was sorely missed when he stepped back in part because of concerns about being publicly
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identified as gay and possibly doing damage to the movement. martin luther king, for a while, distanced himself from him. but he had -- but throughout the book we can see in several different ways and movements, we can see his brilliance as a strategist starting from the beginning when he's in prison for conscientious objection until world war ii and he's organizing the prisonersing in prison on to what was a precursor of the freedom rides. can you tack us through how that's reflected in the letters and how you've, you know, kind of told that story of his -- >> sure. >> -- tactics? >> sure. his tactics, his tactical ability is really present in his prison letters where he's directing his fellow inmates to stand against segregation in federal prison both at ashland
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and then later at lewisburg. and he maps out careful strategies, and not only does he do it for his inmates, he does it for the warden there as well which is excellent. he tells the warden exactly what he's going to do, and then he gets the inmates to do it. and the letters are really striking because they go through such detail. his tactical abilities are really evident, you're right. in 1947 when he's directing the journey of reconciliation, and these were really the first freedom riders -- these were the folks and all of them were male at that point, who decided to test the morgan v. virginia decision that criminalized interests, that segregation laws for interstate travelers. and so they tested this supreme court decision by taking a bus trip through the south. and bayard and george houser were really the main strategists there. and the memos they put together
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are absolutely breathtaking for their detail and for their concrete, for the concrete ways they directed people at different points. they had everything mapped out carefully. so it's absolutely stunning to me. now, i also wanted to add that bayard had thought about b marchs on washington long before that 1963 march on washington. indeed, the book includes a long memo, i think it's 14 pages long, where bayard was sketching out a march on washington in 1956. that's seven years before the march on washington. now, leading up to that march on washington, bayard also organized three separate and successful marchs on washington. he organized the prayer pilgrimage of 1957 which gave king his first national platform. he also organized, he used marchs for integrated schools, and that's where jackie
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robinson's life had a merger with bayard. maybe we should get jackie to lead the march. and jackie stepped up to to case. but in all these memos you can see bayard's tactical brilliance at work. >> when, um, as we, as we turn to looking at some of the letters in particular, can you, can you talk a little bit about your process in finding the letters, deciding between them, um, choosing which ones to spotlight? i mean, the breadth and depth of his correspondence over the 45 years, maybe, that you have documented in the book is extraordinary. tell us about how you did it. >> well, it's tough to pick letters, i'll say that. and at first i wasn't sure whether there would be enough letters for the book.
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later it became pretty clear to me that i had enough let ors for at least several books. early on after i started getting interested in bayard's life, i decided that i'd better call walter, the executor of the estate of bayard rustin. he's also the one who was bayard's longtime companion the last ten years of his life. and i knew that i needed to talk to walter to see whether i could have permission to reprint and publish these letters in the volume. and walter was so generous and so kind, and he ghei permission after a short while. now, picking the letters is not easy. what i wanted to do is sort of show the chronology of his life, but i also wanted to show bayard's personality, and i want to show sensitive moments and bayard in his angry moments. so i wanted to show that side of his personality.
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i also wanted to show how his politics sort of evolved through the years. i wanted to show his relationship with his family and his relationship with his political friends and his political enemies. so i had these different cry tier that -- criteria in mind. there's some beautiful letters that didn't make it in, unfortunately, but that's the process of trying to whittle down a manuscript. >> can you talk about the range of people he corresponded with? >> yeah. bayard wrote to all the major progressives of his era, j.j. musky for whom he worked, he rot to the major politicians of his day. he wrote to kennedy, he wrote to johnson, he wrote to local politicians at times. he wrote to international politicians as well. he had correspondence with people, with african leaders, he
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had correspondents with civil rights and peace activism across the road. you can be sure that they received a letter from bayard at some point in their lives. .. that tried to woo sponsors of what you because of your civil rights early on. she volunteered of letters and she did on sunday morning
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because they had so many letters as well off and read them for her and she would tell you they disappointed a lot of letters in fact as his life went on and as he got this year. but there are some wonderful manuscript in which he is writing in his loopy style it shows how fluid he was in his personality. i still get excited when i hold a letter that is written. >> what are some of your favorite letters in the book. >> i have some favorite letters. one if you don't mind maybe i could read one and i have some notes jotted down here. this is my favorite letter who about the context of this is
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1969 written about anti-semitism and complained at the end of her letter about how tired she was in terms of how we're going to deal with anti-semitism. one. i am now sympathetic to your cry of being tired. mrs. greenstone i am simply 9-years-old. i lived with and fought my entire life. i've been in prison 23 times serving 28 months in a federal penitentiary and 30 days when the north carolina chain. i've seen periods of progress followed by a reaction. i have seen the hope and aspiration drive during world war ii only to be smashed and
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seen the victims and the johnson administration's destroyed by richard nixon i've seen people become more bitter. i've seen dope addiction rise across the country. i've been in at church. my best friends, my closest associates and call these have been beaten and assassinated. yet, to remain human and to fulfill my commitment to a just society, must continue to fight for the liberation of all. there will be times when each of us will have doubt, but i trust that neither of us will exert our great cause, sincerely.
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that for the is one of the most moving letters in the assassination of martin luther king jr. assassinated, he was friends with sutherland and asked at the time he was to discombobulated to write the letter. that letter to sutherland followed bill's letter to which bill wrote if you'd step in, that's one reason i would come back to america. if people thought very highly bayard because he had a steadfast hope bouncing back after people stamped on him after they had put him in jail.
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he keeps rising again and this letter gets the heart. >> and one of the things i was struck by in the book and the story is how he drew strength from and rhetorical power from religion to the quaker state's and christianity in the way that he writes about and in other parts he uses that self-conscious lead. >> part is such a political figure that it's easy to miss his spirituality but from those early letters on he constantly
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appears to the spiritual value and he does this for a variety of reasons. one of the reasons is that he was in west chester pennsylvania, and julia and jennifer are his grandparents. they've taken to the local church in westchester, and julia was schooled at a quaker school in westchester and the insistence on schooling quaker homes and schools and she takes those values of nonviolence and the unity of the human family and human inequality and passes those on to buyers so clearly. she also take takes the black church values with the emphasis on the great stories from the
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hebrew scripture which is a story of the exodus, joining together to free the slaves. he passes that story on as well along with conviction they move to free the slaves right here and right now. you don't need to wait until you get to having to experience human liberation. you don't have to wait until to experienced justice. in fact you need to do it right now. so she passes on to bayard and also passes on to him a key lesson about his identity, and one of her favorite sections of the bible comes from psalms, and one of her favorite is 1996 in which it says i reside in the shadow of the almighty what is just and right into good and she takes that lesson and passes
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that on to bayard saying it doesn't matter what people will do to you. it doesn't matter whether they were cast in the shadow as long as you do what is right and just and good, you will dwell in the shadow of the almighty, so he has a confidence in himself he also has this% of mission, and that is to make the world a better place for peace and justice, and he takes those convictions from questions west chester pennsylvania to the rest of his life. i hope my answer isn't too long. >> i just encourage everyone to read the book, and it really is an extraordinarily rich and deep story as the extent of his fight
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and maintaining his hope for all these challenges that he would drive on the strength and carried throughout the book. i was wondering if you could talk a little bit about how that plays out in his last, if his last phase after the intensity of his involvement in the movement after the king's death. he has a period where it moves and activism and the national issues about the refugees coming from the war in cambodia and vietnam. he's concerned about israel, anti-apartheid as i would see the connection with human rights, labor rights, and dependencies for but he's traveling all over the world and
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has a voice on gay-rights. can you talk about the last period of the book? >> a little bit about africa mabey end segue. bayard was against apartheid in as early as 1952. 1952 the national congress developed programs and protests against those apartheid laws to emerge more clearly in south africa, and "freedom's forge" rustin is pleased to see the congress do that and for post reconciliation and other places as well start to work on african liberation from and george hauser begins to form a committee on africa, and that's really dedicated to fighting
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colonialism in africa. this is also one of bayard's real loves at this point. he is very concerned about colonialism in africa and early on, 1959 he goes to africa and participate in this project, and the point of the sahara project is to draw of the world's attention to the decision to detonate its nuclear bomb african soil. it's crazy. absolutely crazy. he joined his fellow peace activists in developing this plan to cross the border into the algerian sahara to sort of invaded the french territory. they never do. it wasn't a plan to get to this
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place. it turns back constantly to draw the world's attention to this spectacle of a colonial power planning to detonate its weapons on columnist soil they don't stop france from doing that prior to the fellow activists they did all they could. he is also involved in helping african independent movements stayed focused on nonviolence, so he works for an example in zambia to try to keep his movement focused on non-violence. so, when africa became decolonized in the liberation movement arose, lots of methods were used and he has the idea that they should establish the non-violence center in africa to
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assist liberation leaders in terms of becoming familiar. he does work well and it doesn't last fremont for there were concerned about refugees as they go on on the sites to the co life and he's one of the curve first to call for the opening of the borders of the vietnamese refugees. the international rescue committee i think i got the name right and they are making the best plans to assist refugees in their own countries and also travel to countries they can live better lives if they want to do that as well. it's a very large movement. we have to remember that bayard has been scorched for his sexuality countless times in his life and i will give you one example and maybe you can talk
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about that. 1960 bayard is planning a demonstration on the democratic and republican national convention for that summer. powell jr. of parliament get to this plan and for a variety of reasons he decides that he wants to stop the margin on the democrats, so he does it this way or he tries to do it this way. he has an intermediary chain would the discipline and south america with a threat and the threat is this if you don't call off the march on the democrats i will go to the media and tell them that you and bayard are having a day affair -- gay affair. i'm still baffled even when i hear myself say that. his longtime companion whether there was any truth to the
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possibility. they said please come he is not his tight. you know that dr. king we can also say that larry wasn't dr. king's type. >> but the work very seriously, even there's nothing to it. he takes it seriously because the negative exposure. remember this is a very homophobic society that we live in in 1960, even today especially 1960, he's very concerned about the negative exposure of that point, so he eventually after several different spots he decides to cut him out of the inner circle, and bayard is absolutely crushed
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in 1959 king had actually considered giving bayard of the top positions in the sc alcee for -- sclc and they advised him not to do so because of the positive exposure that might arise because of bayard's kasich schiraldi and because of his past arrests related to delude vagrancies. after 1960, bayard eventually gets back into king's tener circle. by 1963, he's strategizing about birmingham and then he becomes a leader on the march on washington because the defacto on washington to the senate floor she calls bayard a satchel
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-- sections robert dtv, sexual pervert. so they called a civil rights leaders for comment at this point the stand by bayard's cited high and he says at this point you need to judge me on my whole character, my whole life. he also doesn't talk openly about his kasich schiraldi in the media -- jset schiraldi in the media. it says at this point when sexuality is a private matters and he writes the letter in 1985 to a man that is putting together an anthology of writings by african-american gay is considered sexual orientation to be a private matter. that wasn't exactly true because by the mid-1980s, bayard stands up for gay rights and speaks on behalf of them here in new york city but he does so in part because his longtime companion
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had been encouraging him to do so. he hadn't done so up until that point, but his nudging became on behalf of gay rights and since then the movement has really seen bayard as one of their early heroes. to move into those inner circles of civil rights leaders especially conservative ministers come and people who knew bayard knew that he was a gay man. i hope that answers your question. >> we are going to open up to questions from everyone. if you have a question that you can think of coming use the microphone and address your microphone to the questions. think about that and also ask a last question which is theirs
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about starting in the 60's that is a kind of strands of the discussion about bayard's relationship in the democratic party and politics. he is accused on various sides of being too close to the democrats and not supporting them enough and you feel out of the nuances and the complexities that left politics and his voice is very consistent on that. given all of that what do you think he would say now? >> in the mid-1960s he had a move from protest to politics and he called for his fellow activists to recognize that
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sometimes you need to move off the streets and into the quarters in order to achieve your big goals. now for bayard rustin buckles for big and he was thinking about a massive redistribution of wealth and power, and in order to in fluctuate that, he believed that civil rights activists should start to work with liberal democrats, not the dixiecrats' they should start to work with liberal democrats to take over the democratic party and to drive out the dixiecrats and get some things done. he knows the people that get things done in terms of moving money are basically on the appropriations committee. he knows a lot of power can be held in executive positions and executive orders. and so, bayard begins to make this move towards politics, calling for his activists to
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take out the political leadership. >> what about president obama? can we say that president obama in the white house is symptomatic of the move from protest to politics would bayard be pleased with president obama's policies? i dare not say, but i do know that in 1966, bayard rustin pushed for what he called a freedom budget for all america, and this was the budg which i believe was about $186 billion designed to take everybody out of poverty will to take
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universal health care come to give people full employment, to make the society the distribution of wealth is radical, the distribution of power is radical. we see that now? of course not. but we are taking a shot here. to extend up and criticize our failure to get to full employment and universal health care in an affordable way, jobs for everybody, including education for everybody you can be very are unhappy with the return to segregated education, for example. so there's a lot he would be criticizing today.
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thanking. [applause] >> it will turn companionate and the possible links to city lights books in san francisco which is a really progressive publisher i love publishing with them because the inspired bayard to check them out at and thanks for leading the discussion. [applause] >> the question is whether he is here, and he is, to my right about halfway back maybe we can hear him at some point but i think we have a question over here. if i can get to the microphone. >> yes. thanking.
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>> has jackie robinson been held as a great civil rights leader? >> that's a good question. free me braking that in baseball is something as big as dr. king ever did. why hasn't he been heralded as a great civil rights leader, and why is not his birthday and national holiday in this country for that reason? >> here is my theory. one of the things we do is freeze them at particular points in their history. so jackie robinson we freeze him
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in 1947 at the beginning of his baseball career when he's been nonviolent and studying at and just sold during non-we forget that he was a fierce critic of racism and discrimination in the united states beyond the baseball diamond. in fact he devoted his life after he left baseball to working with the naacp, to working with martin luther king jr., to working with him he knew that he was a civil rights leader. we forgot this part of robinson because back in 1947. he had a nightmare after he gave his i have a dream speech. in 1963 we forget that shortly after that for little girls were murdered in birmingham with
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three of the freeze in 1963. he's calling for radical redistribution of wealth and power in the united states but we deal with them is freeze them in the time that is leased for us. the civil rights leaders. look at the time on the baseball diamond when he's a great civil rights leader on the baseball diamond, no doubt about it, but after he leaves the baseball diamond, you should hear him rip people to shreds. and i'm talking about for their discrimination. >> mine small criticism of
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mr. robinson is that he criticized willie mays for not being as active as he was, not taking into consideration he is not college-educated and an officer in the military that didn't have jackie's educational background. are you aware of that? >> i am aware. he took the conservative civil rights but also recognize that the same time when he did speak out on behalf of civil rights and robinson was grateful for those moments, but it goes to show that civil rights leaders are not monolithic. there were huge differences between jackie robinson and many other civil rights leaders and african-american athletes. there are differences between
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bayard rustin and martin luther king jr. and malcolm x. he appears to be without the mix in 1964 he is refusing to debate now the max. the mainstream civil-rights leaders when he started to call for the formation of the rifle clubs in 1964 he put his hands up and says i can't deal with the demagoguery any more. i need to focus on something constructive. these leaders are not of one mind. the of different strategies and different timing in mind. they have a different sense of purpose as well, so don't lump them all together. thanking for the question.
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>> kawlija 1947 - a freshman, and talked about nonviolence. we stayed up all night afterwards thinking, and i think many of us were altered in our perspective for the rest of our lives. the most respected spokesman i've ever heard on the subject of nonviolence i wonder if it is in the correspondence or otherwise with the exchange was between martin luther king and buyer -- bayard rustin and i would be interested to know where his letters or archives are. they are primarily at the library of congress but they are also scattered in archives across the country. if you go to a public library to
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the schomburg center, the archive in the database and login bayard rustin and you will see his name popped up in archives across the country. he was smart enough to deposit the papers in the library of congress. better yet i should say that the united states government has conducted surveillance on the bayard rustin and finally came around to recognize him as a patriot whose papers deserve to be deposited in a library of congress that was king and bayard and nonviolence. he got to montgomery alabama near the beginning of the montgomery bus boycott in 1956. he was there in february. when he gets there in montgomery, he discovers that there are guns lying around his house and he discovers that he has his bodyguards and he realizes that he is equally
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schooled in the gandhian non-violence and techniques and so, bayard really begins to school the intense schooling of dr. king and other civil rights leaders and the gandhian non-violence techniques. and he draft papers on it. he helps king and he's deeply interested and he takes up the nonviolence not only as a tactic, but also as a way of life. they work early on. now, they always remain non-violent together. they separated on the issues related to nonviolence especially in the turn of the vietnam war. early on in 1965, bayard counseled martin luther king jr. to speak out against the vietnam war, and indeed he did so in 1965. by the way, bayard rustin in 1965 gave a major speech at
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madison square garden and inspired people they got about of their seats and they marched over to the u.n. shortly after the speech. but later on he counseled kinfolk before 1967 by the riverside church here in new york king opposed that for a variety of reasons and he felt that that would undermine the ability of civil rights leaders to extract victory from the johnson administration for economic justice for african-americans and indeed for all their cans. remember he is pushing the freedom budget at this point as well, and he believes that it will undermine the freedom much as well as call for economic
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justice. that is part of the story, so they separated the tactically at this point on the issue of nonviolence. >> thanking. [applause] >> good evening. steve reed you for being here. andrew doud. i would like to know if he would speak about, mr. rustin as a spiritual being. you mentioned his incarceration, colleague's betraying him and being assassinated. is there any point in the letter that he mentions his dying it? what did he do for about his life to maintain non-violence? >> thanks for that question. shortly after he went to jail if he wrote a letter to his grandmother and asked her to
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read it 1:00 in the afternoon on his birthday. so he also said that he would do the same thing. so together this could be -- they could be to get there in spirit on his birthday. so at 1:00 on march 17th, 1944 he sits in his home at westchester and together they read a psalm that reads something like this: deal lord, be with me, my enemies trampled me i know that god is with me. what can a mortal due to me? through of his imprisonment, he reads the bible was closely come and he writes about his reading scripture, christian scripture and his letters, and he prays
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while he is in prison as well. after one particular difficult event in the administrative segregation because he's brought up on charges of engaging in sex with other inmates he turns to the story and the story of the prodigal son is basically a story about a young man who squanders his father's inheritance and wealth and he hangs out and becomes poor and he decides that he is going to rise again and go back and talk to his father and seek forgiveness and start a new life. many of you know him as the sun. he's also for bayard rustin the good son who came home again. she takes a deep spiritual information from that terrible
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and returns several times in his life so he has a spiritual practices and inspiration and early on. it seems leader in his life he becomes i don't what is a publicly spiritual, he doesn't wear his spiritual and on his sleeve but i chatted by e-mail about this coming and he let me know that bayard meditated regularly and certainly continued to practice the spiritual values that he learned from julieanna and jennifer early on. so i do want to emphasize that as well. thanks for your question. a deep research will be in. he was a political being at the same time. one other thing about to let you know is he made sure that martin luther king kept his eyes on the prize of spiritual values.
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there's one speech he has in his hand drafted in part by stanley levenson. they wrote a letter saying there isn't enough content in this. we need to do something about it. so people's king and other civil-rights leaders back to the spiritual values. he wants them to focus on the topics no doubt, but he wants them to remember that the year after a spiritual role and that goal preexists in their means, so he seized spirituality and ends as moving back-and-forth for the preexisting means informing of the end, so spiritually is really huge for byron but it is a movement for him. [applause] >> first i want to thank you for
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doing the book for the more material that means it gets known by more and more people. i wanted to know in terms of the letters it's extraordinary and fascinating setting year. none of it is captured in the way of being in that moment. i would pressure on him and always his wife comes together and having a perspective knowing that much is overwhelming and the question is how to stay steady knowing what you know and not just losing at and start some of the parts of being in prison and there's no difference on this base and then he had to heal from that. in the letters it talks about the letters did not, a lot of letters got lost so i wanted to know did you draw on a new
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material that didn't exist then, were there more letters found or is this just some of the same material that provided that and being able to read the words of the responses and all of that? >> yes. the referenced is titled lost profit and i would encourage you to read that. earlier on i consolidated his work as of god to track down those letters in existence but also went beyond his work and try to include letters that he didn't draw from attwell. there is overlap in the sense that we both draw from the importance of letters but they are also topical letters that i draw from the he didn't use.
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the man named davis platt who was his lover early on and looked at columbia university and they wrote some wonderful letters and they are among the most precious in the book and they are also the ones that retial his character more than others and i encourage you to check those out. but some of the letters that david platt for missing and it breaks your heart when you want to read a letter that is referred to in another letter and you can't find at. i will also say that he is somebody that works closely early on and it seems he had connections to the communist party, and a lot of the material that he wrote, which i believe probably include a lot of letters because they worked so closely together when the civil
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rights issues get destroyed it seems he destroyed a lot of if not all of his letters that he had in his office before he died and that is such a shame because it must be incredible. there are also letters he wrote there still out there that i haven't touched and i wish i could. i am still interested in looking at letters that he had or others wrote. if you know of them feel free to send them to me. there were more than willing to receive those letters so i hope that answers part of your question. >> a little bit after that. in terms of when martin luther king was fascinated in the move
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in terms of the economic justhe move in terms of the economic justice, which i know you said a thing about we get stuck in places but i think that there's a whole corporate media that wants us to be stuck in a place that the highlight what we pay attention to, so it's important to take it you could pay attention. so the kind of follow-up on what someone asked earlier in terms of your reading. was there any indication in terms of an economic direction in the conversation between bayard and martin luther king? >> great question. early on, very early on bayard encouraging dr. king to see the linkages between economic justice and racism. he's doing this in the 1950's. he is also encouraging king very early on before anybody else
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does so to form alliances with labor. nobody is encouraging him to focus on economic justice, economic injustice more so than bayard rustin. nobody is encouraging king to form alliances with lieber more so than buyer bayard rustin. he does it in the 1950's and 1960's the whole way up. he's the one that introduces dr. king to a full of randolph who had an office here and was the founder heard a great labor leader, since he's the one that makes connections for dr. king between labor and the civil-rights movement. he said of dr. king going to the workers and after he was assassinated, he's the one that
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runs down and helps the organization to continue on. he led a memorial march with the borders as well. so yes, there are letters in which bayard is encouraging can't strengthen the linkages with the labor movement, and that is one of the most consistent points of his letters so thanks for raising that issue [applause] >> two points. it seems to me a book on the grandmother is highly desirable and her relationship with bayard and there should be one for young people possibly also one for adults. at that i don't know. and number two, i would like to ask if there are any movements towards public monuments
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anywhere. >> thank you for the first point. i would love to see a book on and juliet and jennifer. i know that i've emphasized her tonight. but jennifer sacrificed and believably as well and there is a beautiful letter in the book that he wrote shortly after she died, and i would encourage you to read it. it's a moving letter about how she sacrificed and he and julia had what bayard called the perfect union and held jenifer always took bayard and felt very effective in the letter i could just feel that years through those words, so i would like to see a book on their influence and just on their lives. in terms of the second point, i
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don't know. can you yell out anything that you know? you are talking about a physical monument? do you know of anything? >> named a high school after a fight they came around. thank you, westchester. >> highlighting bayard's contributions near the u.s.. i'm sorry, ralf park. >> thanking. [applause] i wanted to ask a question and bring the evening to a close.
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it seems to me that one of the most significant developments over the past century has been the institutional as asian of what -- institutional politics of the right that gain tremendous support by way of the civil-rights movement successful in the 1950's and 1960's. so did the significant shift in the movement in this country and the 20th century with the exception of the 1920's and maybe a slice of woodrow wilson's presidency there are increasingly moving to the left but ended by the progress of politics and culminating lyndon baines johnson administration. so the question that i have is here is the man who is small
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only black is painted with red not as a socialist thinking in this gay, representing a kind of politics personal empowerment in social justice in that costs people their lives particularly in the south, something that we haven't talked about in the discussion was certainly the letters that you put together and make reference to the cold war, so this kind of politics of action that bayard rustin was committed to. i wonder what might you learn about his life that takes us from the 1940's to the 1980's in
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terms of that tremendous shift of the politics in the right and that tremendous increase of the kind of politics of resentment in this country, and i want to at least offer one come textual blue from the audience the trade union movement has a high water mark in the 1950's, roughly 35% of the nation's labor force is unionized, and this is the source of as you just recently said a lot of bayard rustin's hopefulness for the economic interest of black workers and white workers, a kind of collection in the late 19th century in the populist movement of that moment. but looking back at the success
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of the conservatism with a neoconservatism in the 1970's is the trade union movement 5% today. so even the possibility for that kind of coalition doesn't exist in the way that he imagined. so, the question is what did he get right in that transition? what was he able to do in that transition from say 1964 to 1968 into the 70's and 80's that we could recover in a kind of politics of full economic distribution. i'm going to close the question which does a big a question of what lessons we might learn about his way of engaging the world and engaging this nation that may not have fully anticipated the right that he was there to take it on in the early manifestations. the letter i want to read what you is written in 1978, the
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summer of 1978 to the economist and what is interesting the contextual clues don't speak directly -- i didn't read every letter in the book is affirmative action sitting on the docket of the supreme court if it hadn't been handed down. so we already see that is one major policy choice on the retreat of the possibility of equity rather than equality. so here he is taking on thomas seóul and he is not only discrediting the black leadership, but saying that the naacp and the black caucus to the company in the civil rights in the bad voice with the
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coalition politics and the success on the right is the way that he defines the civil rights movement and labor movement. the labor and civil rights movement in the letter to thomas had a basic commitment to social justice which includes a guarantee of your wages. to sacrifice the fundamental guarantee with the unsubstantiated hope creating millions of low-paid and undignified jobs strikes me as unrealistic. that is the solution that the laissez-faire economics is the ultimate arbiter of opportunity in america. he says if we follow the argument to its logical conclusion, we might best achieve full employment by lowering everyone's wage rates. it seems to me today which is as much about accepting the work of immigrants with no guarantee of basic social benefits in this
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nation. as a, i've given a lot of context will but i want to have you help us navigate the way of dealing with this transition to the politics and the right that really is estimated at the very core of what he was attempting to achieve from 1940 until his death. >> i wish i had a great answer. the was a great question. the conservatives who have come into leadership of the republican party when or never pure in physics power, and i believe that the radical was on the left. we are almost two pure in their
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approach and so didn't try to gain power in the republican party and the democratic party rather than seeking to take it over. in the sense they dismissed bayard's strategy of moving from protest to politics. they shouldn't have been as leftist as the republican party has been. in part because the failure to see i believe what bayard saw as the value of having power in order to reflect the radical change in society, so the
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transition is being referred to here on the far left to make a grab for power and any sustained way. that is one of the tragedy's i believe what of modern society. i wish somebody had listened to bayard and those radicals would be as vocal and as powerful owls those conservatives among the right. we have a major in balance even to the extent that people in the democratic party run away from
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the label of being a liberal when it much less radical for the failure to heed bayard's voice moving into politics. sad they're very informed and the human rights and transitions have been happening for the 20th century and if you want to add anything there. >> well, let's see. actually, the other thing that i see in the message that he sends us today is the one of coalition politics regardless of the strength of that any of the members of the collection and even taking your point about the decline of the labor movement in terms of the number of the organized labour in the united states. so what i see now as i completely agree with you about
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bolack of the move to increase power but also the intensity of the fragmentation on the left is also a complete departure from his direction and the strength of his push for coalition politics and the way that he involves himself that comes through so clearly in his voice in the way that he thought of so many fronts and that was connected and how it would be heartbreaking to see the way that now they are entering into so many different battle selwa to see a larger fight. estimate absolutely. i agree with that. it's been a key expressed frustration with what we call the politics of frustration and that is what he felt on the far left, politics and frustration people are going their separate ways. they're calling for separate
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politics where they were not moving towards integration. ehud refer to the politics of resentment eventually the power of frustration going on and its splinter away and it's very disheartening i believe what. >> i think you did just fine. wouldn't you agree? [applause] am i michael wollman, and maya, thank you for being here. thank you all for coming to the schomburg center putative thank buhle. [applause]
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